Thursday, November 10, 2011

"I Don't Know. Awesome?"

Articulate Joe can read now (hell, even Jerome Jerome the Metronome can read now), but that doesn't mean Joe wants to. He has progressed from fleeing the scene whenever I suggest we read together, to fleeing whenever he suspects I'll suggest we read together. And it's not a matter of the material: we read books that he claims to greatly enjoy. He just always has something he'd rather be doing than reading.

The result: when I finally corner him with a book, it takes a while for him to get back up to speed. Last night we sat down to read Mighty Monty by Johanna Hurwitz and it was the same routine; the first page was all guesswork, and then he actually read for a while, but two pages later, we got to a scene break and he tried to run out of the room.

I tried to explain to him that we were going to keep going, because he needed to read more often and for longer periods of time to limit his regression between attempts. We had this conversation.

A RANDOM STRANGER: Did you notice a difference between the first page you read and the other two? How did you do on the first page?

ARTICULATE JOE: I don't know. Awesome?

ARS: No, you did terribly. But then you remembered to read instead of guess, and you did really well. It's because you have to practice to stay good at something. That's why practice was invented. Even professionals practice; that's how they stay so good. You haven't practiced piano since July, so how well do you think you're going to play the piano when you finally decide to try again?

AJ: I've been practicing in my head every day.

ARS: This is why adults can't take children seriously, because kids say things that fly in the face of all received human understanding. Since the beginning of time people have known that it takes actual practice to get good at something, and then a kid says, 'I can get good at it by practicing in my head.'

AJ: I have!

ARS: There's a quote by a famous musician--I think he was a cellist--where he says--

AJ: What's a cellist?

ARS: A person who plays a cello.

AJ: What's a cello?

ARS: It's a giant violin that stands on the ground because it's too large to hold under your chin. And he says if he doesn't practice for one day, he notices a difference. And if he doesn't practice for two days, his wife can notice a difference. And if he doesn't practice for three days, the audience can notice a difference.* And he's one of the best cellists there is.

AJ: Did a piano player ever say that?

* = Internet sources are now telling me that it is violinist Jascha Heifetz, and his second day person isn't his wife, but critics. I think I communicated the truth of the quote in my paraphrase, though.


Stephen said...

I'm going to use Jerome's answer next time my boss asks me how I think my performance has been.

Angela said...

Thanks for reminding me, I really need to practice.