It seems just a few months ago I wrote about my first piano recital: how I’d never done it before, how I’d overcome a life of nervousness, and how it felt like jumping off a cliff. And I wrote that I survived the event.
Actually that first recital was April 2015. I only invited a few people, close friends who already loved me, and would continue to love me no matter how I played.
The next year the event was enough bigger to do a small rehearsal for a select group before the main event.
Here’s what I’ve learned with these annual recitals:
- Friends enjoy hearing my music. They often say they had a fun afternoon at my house.
- I’ve learned to focus on the first few measures of each piece before I begin to play. That makes for a better start — and a single start.
- Listeners like to learn about the composer and the composition before they hear the music. Informed listening is engaged listening.
Each performance is unique and music is always a work in progress. A piece is never totally finished, even though Dr. B has blessed it. Music I played last year is way better now because it’s had time to settle, mature, and become more expressive. There’s always more practice to be done and more nuances to be incorporated. Always.
If I wait until my playing is perfect, no one will ever hear my music. My passion for Beethoven and Schumann and Debussy will never come to the light of day. Talking about my music is not the same as actually playing it for others.
Life, like musical performance, is the same way. If we hide ourselves until we’re perfect, no one gets to experience who we are, in all of our wonderfulness and quirkiness and fabulousness and uniqueness. If we’re always apologizing for our errors and mistakes and shortcomings our successes and accomplishments and milestones remain hidden with us.
My playing wasn’t perfect. In fact, I made mistakes in unexpected places. There was no silent self-beating for my imperfect performance. No one cares about my mistakes; in fact, they rarely notice. I didn’t apologize — because I played my best. “Beethoven may have just rolled over,” I shared after the sonata. “I know he’s never heard it played like that! In fact, I was a little surprised myself.” We laughed together.
I ventured out of my comfort zone — again — and actually looked forward to the afternoon performances. My friends enjoyed my music and visiting with each other over cookies and lemonade. “Thank you so much for inviting me!” was an oft heard comment.
What more could anyone want?
So, get out of your box. Rid yourself of the excuses you’ve hidden behind. Challenge yourself. Take a new step.
Stepping out is not easy. Growth is not easy, either, but it’s worth your effort.
Until next Tuesday . . .