(These ideas are explicated in this sloppy manifesto)

Thursday, July 01, 2004
Cameron rising

The picture above is from the warm-up room for students who were waiting, earlier this year, to audition for the Phoenix Symphony Guild's Youth Orchestras. My son Cameron was one of the nervous young auiditees, and that room was a real eye-opener for him. He had grown used to being the best violinist in his age cohort, and it was a silence-inducing surprise to him to discover that there are child-fiddlers very much better-trained than he is. The dishwater blonde in the foreground, for instance, played a rich and spirited Paganini violin concerto--from memory.

Even so, Cameron bowled 'em over. He has the ability to take his game to a completely different level when the pressure is on, and his audition was sufficient to win him a place among all these young prodigies. You can see the evaluations of his auditors here and here.

He's making a lateral move from big-fish/small-pond to swimming with a much faster school. We are too much in love with this outcome, since it puts him among precisely the kinds of children we want him working with, playing with, competing against.

And this is my wife Cathy's triumph as much as it is Cameron's. I care about the boy's honor and integrity, about his ability to read, to write and to reason. But it was Cathy who pushed this violin thing to the point where it is amounting to something. Cameron has great skills--good hands, a good ear and a talent for sight-reading anything. But if Cathy hadn't pushed him and pushed him and pushed him, his raw talent would have gone undeveloped. Three cheers for Cameron, but three cheers for Cathy, too.

We live in a time when too many children do nothing but gorge themselves on empty desserts. Tonight Cameron gets to savor the feast of true accomplishment. To him: Bravo!