The whole note looks like an egg, or an empty bowling ball or even a big yawn. Most students, even beginners, easily recognize WHAT it is and even how many beats it gets (four, for those of you who may not be musicians). It looks like this.
When you play this note, it is held for the count of four, THEN released. Almost without fail, most students will treat is as a half note (2 beats) or a dotted quarter note (3 beats) and release it before they should. It happens when they are first learning about this note and often, even after they have become quite experienced. That period of being patient and just letting the sound continue (without any effort on their part) for just four beats makes them crazy and they want their fingers to start moving on to the next group of notes too quickly. The trouble is, when you "miss a beat", you really do ruin the entire song which can really be a crash and burn if you are playing with other musicians at the same time.
How like us in real life when we find ourselves in a circumstance and we want the next thing to happen --now. We "want to release the note" by rushing ahead and moving on to the next thing which we think we will enjoy more. Sometimes this involves not finishing a project we have started or leaving a position because we are uncomfortable or even as drastic as ending a marriage when conflicts arise. Sometimes the handling of our "notes" affect other people and ruin their songs as well.
The whole note is different from the whole rest in which there is complete silence and you are still.
There is a time for that as well, but with the whole note, the sound has already begun and you let it play out for its entire duration before moving on to the next note. Other notes may be playing at the same time while the one is held--so often as it is in life. Perhaps we need to be a little more patient and discerning, thinking carefully about commitment to what we have begun and considering others in our choices and actions. Don't allow yourself to be distracted from the goal. I am thankful there is One Who is not.
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us brun with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith...