Max is getting to the point in his guitar lessons where the songs he's learning are beginning to sound like songs. This is in contrast to the early weeks where he was just struggling to get the chords right. During those weeks, listening to him practice was an exercise in puzzling those stray chords into some kind of order, something that might resemble a song.
These days when he sits down to play a song, I could actually sing along, and I do sometimes, quietly, under my breath, from the kitchen. All the pieces of the song, what makes the song a song to begin with, are there shimmering in front of him when he practices.
He's more assertive during his lessons too. Picking out which songs he wants to work on next – currently, "Running Down a Dream " by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Next on his list, REM's" I Remember California". When his teacher suggested The Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour", Max politely declined saying, "That song's just not my cup of tea."
I'm proud of the progress he's made mainly because not a single bit of playing guitar has come easy for Max. He's had to struggle and practice and practice for every chord he's learned, every song he's strung together. A lot of things do come easy for Max and I was worried that the difficulty, the steep learning curve would frustrate him and he'd give up before he got to the good stuff.
I could not have been more wrong. Max has embraced the challenge, displaying a real depth of patience with himself as he learns and practices.
He reminds me that it is okay to not be great at something when you're beginning, that it's okay to try new things, even if they're a little scary and the people around you are not sure you can do it, that some things are worth sticking with through the hard part, the awkward part and that when you love something you keep on practicing every day until you can hear the song, until everyone else can hear the song too.