• http://www.femmegypsy.com/ femmegypsy

    This gave me goosebumps! You are an excellent mother and I love how you encourage Leta.

  • kmpinkel

    Congratulations to Leta! Well done, mom! And Marlo, I feel the exact same way when I take a nap! Shout from the roof tops ladies!

  • Iain

    Go, Leta, go!!

  • Chris

    I wish I could hear her! Love what you said about it being your job to help her develop this talent of hers. So exciting for you both (minus all the practicing, teeth pulling, and hard work)

  • Lauren3

    Love this, so hard. Why do I feel a swell of pride in my chest for a child I have never met? Please tell that dear girl that Random Interest Person is so happy that she kicked major ass in her performance (because duh, of course she would), and that I admire her for her talent and dedication. xoxoxo

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan


    Also, this piece makes me want to sit down at my piano again, something I haven’t done in far too long. I was never as talented as it sounds like Leta might be, but I faced some of the same attitudinal problems, and was rewarded with some of the same valuable lessons. Thank you very much for the reminder of what it’s like to love something so challenging.

  • kacy

    Awesome, way to go Leta. I can feel how proud you are of her through your writing….gave me chills and tears!!

  • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison Toback

    I love this so much! I started taking piano lessons when I was about 6 (my Mom-Mom had taught me to read music and plunk out some tunes around age 4) and I took lessons all the way through college. It got me some serious money for college (even though I majored in biology!) and music has always been such a joy in my life. I now teach piano to a brother and sister pair (5 and 9) and they make me smile every week. It’s so wonderful that you’re cultivating Leta’s talent and that she is doing so well. The gift of music is truly special and I think she is beginning to understand that as she sees her own talent grow. Feel free to tell her that Leta has a random internet cheerleader in NJ and that those 16th notes will eventually come easier to her. Keep up the awesome work, Leta! (And keep being an awesome mom and human, Heather. We need you.)

  • Brigid

    Oh god, I remember those Federation performances. Panic-inducing. And so, so, so much time practicing.

    That’s a wonderful trick of going 20 minutes at a time so she doesn’t learn to hate the piano. This happened to friends of mine, the mere thought of the piano still triggers resistance to them. I think it was still a chore to me until I was in eighth grade? But then it became a wonderful source of stress/emotion relief. Hang in there. This can be a beautiful way for Leta to relax her psyche in a few years.

  • http://atincupchalice.com/ MissCaron

    Love love love this. Wonderfully written. Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sara

    When I was little my mom would make a chart of all the things I needed to practice on violin in a day. Each day I completed all the pieces (and number of times) on my practice sheet I earned a letter to spelling out a predetermined “prize for practicing.” Usually it was a book (with a horribly long title) but it was a “go-pill” enough to keep me going and practicing.

  • Heidi

    I love this. Way to go, Leta! I’m proud of her for you! Good job, Heather, on teaching your daughter what it takes to nail something so, obviously, important to her. I also love the pride and love I hear in your writing of your kids. That’s something pretty damn special.

  • Heidi

    I feel the same way. I’m so proud of Leta! I think of the accomplishment she must feel, and the lessons she is learning from all of this. Amazing.

  • Allyssa Wheaton-Rodriguez

    I seriously just cried reading this. Great life moment.

  • tmb

    as a music teacher, if playing the theme from “Frozen” keeps her motivated, LET HER DO IT. She will learn other things about music and life by choosing something *she wants to learn* —in fact, considering what you’ve told us about her personality, I’d say let her try and figure it out by ear—she will persevere at it because *she* picked it, and figuring it out by listening will keep her from obsessing about the little black dots on the page. :)

  • Amy J.

    I can totally relate. We have three more years on you with piano! We started Sarah before she was seven (which was stupid, lol). The fact that we were pig headed and started her so young because she goes to a gifted magnet and we thought “smart” translates into EVERYTHING, mean that it took alot longer for her to develop the basics…mostly because her hands and coordination weren’t even ready for piano yet (coughs the stupid mother who ignored that stark fact). Anyway, it was hard on her…playing was difficult. She hated it and didn’t want to do it. Practice was a battle!! MANY times none of us (her piano playing father especially) thought it was a colossal joke and waste of time to keep on. But her teacher said she was a “natural”. We would look at her like she was nuts and hand her another check. Year after year we continued. And the first time she had a recital I was so nervous for her because I honest to God admit I thought she would get up and just sit at the piano staring blankly like Tommy (…can you hear me). But, at a wee 8 years old she got up, sat down and played perfectly. Me and my family stood up and cheered and clapped like she was on a gameshow (in the small crowded living room of the teacher’s house, lol) She has done this every time…shocked us that indeed it’s working and no we haven’t wasted her/our time. We started our youngest (our very own Marlo for sure) two years ago. We are now on rinse/repeat with her. She had her first recital last year and shocked us again that she indeed (with her LONG perfect piano hands that match the rest of her body…and lack of coordination) is made for piano.

    So, BRAVO Leta!!! Make yourself and your family proud girlie! One day you’ll sit in your home, at the family piano, playing songs at Christmas for your kids and feel so thankful for your mother’s “torture”…or so my husband tells me : ).

  • Keri

    THIS!! THIS is why I come back here to read of your adventures with your family and friends; your butt; your asshole mutts; your kicking depression and anxiety’s teeth in; the gut-laughter your writing brings. Most of all I love that your words about 2 girls I don’t even know bring tears make me want to mother my own daughters better; cheering them on and loving them in through the ups and downs. THANK YOU for this! And Leta?!?! You go girl. Someday when you sit and read your momnma’s years of blog entries, you will smile knowing their are far-away weirdos who want love seeing you and Marlo’s amazingness.
    A Connecticut stalker, Keri
    Misery?? ….”I’m your number one, Fan, Heather.” Yup, that’s me. :) :)

  • Carol

    My children are now grown, but there were many moments when I wondered why my heart did not explode, because that is what it always felt like. Love this so much.

  • Jennifer Cafferty-Davis

    Congrats to Leta! And kudos to you for nurturing her talent. <3

  • Christy

    I just got proud for her. Oh my gosh, so exciting! Congrats!! What an amazing accomplishment!

  • housepea

    Way to go Leta!!

  • Jen Moore

    I just teared up reading this…I call my son Baby Bird and I’m his Momma Bird. So precious. BTW I love this new easy to post feature app that you installed. I’ve been reading your blog for years and never posted below. XO

  • junipergreen

    Well done – all three of you :)

    You’ve given me some food for thought in my ongoing battle with performance anxiety. I’m remembering the early days of those first piano competitions, the all-state auditions on clarinet, the school assembly solos… Recognizing that my nine year old self could do it (with not a little bit of trepidation) is giving my adult self lots to mull over. You’re giving Leta valuable tools for self-presentation later in life, not to mention a life-long appreciation for the arts and the gift of music. Um, brb, gotta go call my mom…

  • Kelli

    I have tears. I have no idea why I have tears, but I just loved this so, so much. It’s incredible to watch a child completely and totally rock something they’ve worked so hard for.

  • Aundrea

    I’m crying! What an incredibly proud and happy moment for your family. Way to go, Leta, you rocked it!

  • http://houpley.blogspot.com/ houpley

    Good grief! I was so nervous. I think I was holding my breath, too! Congrats, Leta. You earned this.

  • kr

    Just played those videos and wow. Leta can play those?!? That’s astounding. Way to go Leta! What a gift you have!

  • http://oddlovescompany.com/blog/ Katybeth

    She knew she nailed it. Best feeling ever for both mother and child.

  • Liz Masters

    I played that Arabesque once upon a time. ;)

    There was a time I begged my mother to let me stop my piano lessons, and she finally gave in, saying I’d regret it some day. I did–and a few years later I asked if I could start again. (I did give her the satisfaction of saying she’d been right.) Keep at it, Leta! You won’t be sorry. And mixing some favorite “pop” songs in with the classical is a great way to keep it fun and fresh. Technique is technique, no matter what era the song was written in.

  • http://OKRoserock.blogspot.com/ Rose Marie B

    THOSE times, they take my breath away, even when I’m reading someone else’s experience. This is one of your best posts Heather, thank you so much for sharing. When my kids were that age, when we went to a performance for one kid, the other would sit next to me and side-stare at me until I started to cry (which was almost immediately) and then mock me for days. I never expected to be so fragile, watching them become humans…OH MY GOD, FLAP YOUR WINGS!! Please tell Leta that she has a huge fan in Oklahoma City. :)

  • Sara

    Did you tell Leta how proud your butt was?
    In all seriousness, way to go, little lady! The interwebs are so so proud of you.

  • Peggy

    Thanks for making me cry and I’m so proud of you, Leta!

  • Carin Sweerman

    Beautiful piece, Heather – the pride you feel for Leta is just pouring off my screen. So very jazzed for you both. And if she doesn’t yet, Leta will thank you one day for all the bungee cords/water dripping on forehead.

  • KC

    Wow both of those pieces are so beautiful and intricate. I am so glad that Leta was able to get past her nerves and perform so beautifully. I can only imagine how proud you must have been!

    Growing up, I had a childhood friend who played piano. Her mom was a real stickler about her practicing for hours at a time. Our other friend and I would go to her home to see if she could come out and play, only to be told she had to stay inside to practice. We thought that her mom was so cruel to do that to her. We even came up with a stupid nickname for the mom, Hagatha. What did we know. Anyway, many years later, my sisters boyfriend was set to go audition for a band he hoped to play guitar for. He needed a ride, so I drove him. The auditions were in a really cool warehouse space. I sat and listened as someone started to play a really beautiful piece on the piano, only to discover that it was my long lost childhood friend. Boy did all those afternoons spent practicing pay off. She was awesome! As I sat there and listened to that undeniable talent, I thought why didn’t my mom make me take piano!

  • Frank Purrkins

    So funny. Those were pretty much my thoughts, too. Thanks for making my heart feel like it’s going to burst.

  • Angela

    I have to agree with you here. I quit piano because of this very reason. I’m not saying she shouldn’t do the stuff required, but maybe a reward for finishing her 20 minute sessions could be the fun piece?
    Heather be sure to tell her that we are all cheering for her! I absolutely loved this story.

  • MAF

    Congratulations to Leta on spreading her wings and soaring! How wonderful that she is learning that lots of practice (and god knows practicing can be frustrating and even boring at times) results in excellence, and that nobody starts off being great at anything. It always takes hard work and lots of repetition. You must be really proud of her.

  • melissa820

    I am an adult who is pretty new to the piano, just started lessons last year, and I just learned the theme to Frozen in my piano lessons. It was fun to play something I picked and my kids love hearing me play it!

  • Beth Rich

    Damn, if I had you for a Mom I’d have won the Van Cliburn by now.

  • JL

    Whenever I think of music lessons (from my past or for others) I always think about the book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’. Everyone associated with music, esp piano (mother of musician, the musician, sibling of musician, music teacher, neighbour who has to listen) should read the book. Just as a outside glimpse into the strangely comforting and aggravating relationship that everyone has with music at some point in their life.
    Note that I do not agree with everything in the book, but the parallels are JUST THERE!

  • Teal

    I love the idea of breaking Leta’s practices into 20 minute increments. I do the same thing with my housework, and it works like a charm.

    I took piano lessons for a while, but had to stop when I had two major surgeries within 3 months of each other. It took so long for me to recover that I never was able to start lessons again.

  • Cecile

    This really reminds me of The Tiger Mom. It always stays with me that she says in her book ‘don’t American moms know the first hour is easy?!’) I think Leta pride in herself for achieving this speaks volumes, and she never would been able to do that if you allowed her to give up – well done to you!!! I think we can all do with a bit of tiger mom!

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    nice collection.

  • americanrecluse

    I loved this post a lot. FLAP YOUR WINGS OH MY GOD almost made me cry.

  • issascrazyworld

    Congratulations Leta! Love this so much. My one wish, if I could go back and change something in my life, is to not have quit piano at 13 years old. I’d played since five. One day I’ll go back to it. One day.

  • Amy Goddard

    Totally feel the same way…so proud of a child I’ve never met! This brought a tear to my eye. Good job Leta!

  • Samantha

    THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE POSTS! I’m so happy for you and Leta. What a wonderful (and hilarious) story!! love love love!

  • lynda

    Wonderful! Thank you so much for this post.