I have learned so much homeschooling my children! I had a friend recommend a phone app that reads literature. So I started one called Days with the Great Composers. I went straight to the Tchaikovsky’s section since we were listening to his music that week. Honestly, it was not particularly interesting thing for the children, but they did learn about his personality, I was able to highlight the facts, and we got some narration accomplished.
Just before I was about to switch it off, the narrator started reading the advice Tchaikovsky gave to young artists. It was inspiring to me, so I had the kids help me simplify. I wrote it on our board, and we simplified it more. Here is what we finished with:
- Develop yourself as a craftsman. Practice
- Never look back from the plow. Look ahead.
- Do not be controlled by your emotions. Work anyway.
- Do not be afraid of commissioned work. All work is good work.
The kids were so excited to be artists after this discussion that my son went to building legos, and my daughter to pencil drawing. It has been a few weeks already, and we refer to this when a child is discouraged or motivated. Both my older two expect perfection from themselves, so knowing that all work is practice and even assigned work can be inspired artistry, really has been liberating for them.
Even I was of the mindset that commissioned work, or for profit work was less inspired. I think I learned that after reading literature from authors who started producing like novel factories. But we can’t limit all artwork to non profit status to be considered inspired. And I love that Tchaikovsky says to do your art whether you feel like it or not. It is both liberating and shackling. I love to write, and I have to write. But sometimes, I get blocked, stuck, in a funk and just don’t feel like it. When I get there, I need to press on regardless, and even if I toss it all, I’ve made progress. I’ve recently heard writing as a process. For all forms of art, it is a process. When we hit the fog, putting our hand to that plow and getting work on ‘paper’ is the best to move through it.