Monday, April 6, 2009

The Cuteness Factor

Have you heard of the cuteness factor? That's when the cuteness of the performer is measured against the actual skill demonstrated in the performance. Small children generally have a high cuteness factor. Execution may score low, but cuteness will score high. That's the cuteness factor.

Case in point, the four-ish-year-old boy who played the teeny tiny violin at Kate's recital yesterday. The recital was for all the students of Kate's private viola teacher (who also teaches some violin students). This little guy played two songs, the first called "From D to E." The title was not some cryptic message about making forward progress in life or anything like that. The song consisted of two notes, and I'm fairly certain the notes were "D" and "E". He played pizzicato, meaning he plucked the strings. At the completion of the song, he paused, kept the violin under his chin and extended his right hand. His teacher placed his bow in his hand, and the mini-maestro set bow to string and played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

When he finished, he placed his violin at his side, stuck his chin in the air to gain momentum, and bowed at the waist to abundant applause. Huge cuteness factor with this performance.

Kate was hoping for a few points from the cuteness factor. She wore a new dress and did, indeed, look very cute. She said, "Well, if I mess up, I might as well look good doing it." She didn't mess up. She played "Prelude to Suite #1 in G Major." You'd recognize it if you heard it. It was written for cello but she played it on her viola. Not perfectly, but beautifully. I was proud.

Perfection wasn't the goal. Everyone there made mistakes. But Kate stood alone in front of a room full of people (including her parents, sister, and brother--and her teacher) and played very well. That takes courage. She worked hard, and did her best.

The cuteness factor counts when you're four. When you get older, you need to score high on other things--preparation, hard work, and courage.

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