I remember, as a nine-year-old child, begging my parents to let me buy a guitar with some money a grandparent gave me. I was already taking viola at school, and they were reluctant to let me take up an additional instrument. "You must practice until your fingers ache," my father said, and relented. Oh dad, how proud of me you would be now. My fingers ache, and my arms ache, and the muscles around my scapula ache, and my neck aches, and my collarbone aches, and my ears ache, and my head aches.
Tonight at the end of practice I pulled out an etude book I bought a while back. I don't use it now because my teacher says I'm not ready for it (he's right), but my former teacher let me play with whatever shiny thing I saw, so we suffered through some of these etudes at one point. Anyway, tonight I read one of the etudes just for reading practice, and I was (happily) able to play it with a reasonable sense of rhythm. It wasn't performance-ready, but you could tell what I was trying to do and what it was supposed to sound like. And it occurred to me that my former teacher must have the patience of a saint. I almost want to email her an apology for making her sit through my attempts at that etude two years ago, or whenever it was.