Monday, July 1, 2013

Persisting in Performing

I remember the first time I performed a flute solo at church.  It was a disaster.  Looking back, it was at least a somewhat funny disaster.  I was SO nervous.  Our congregation was small; maybe 50 people, but they were all staring at me!  As I played I started shaking so hard that my flute was bouncing off of the place below my lips where it is supposed to go.  The sound could not have been good.  I could hear a child in the back of the room say, "Mom, why is her flute bouncing up and down?" and the Mom quietly trying to explain that it was because I was nervous.

Another time I decided to do a duet with a friend for a stake talent show.  It was the same song as I did for the solo, but with a duet part.  We had the piano playing too, just to help us not be so nervous.  My friend lost her spot in the music after a couple of measures, and so while I played two pages myself she asked over and over in a frightened voice, "Sherie.  Where are we?"  It is impossible to keep playing the flute and use your hand to point, and I figured somebody had to keep going!  So, that didn't turn out too well either, but it also provides me with a few chuckles.

After these disasters in performing, people might wonder why I ever did it again.  The truth is, I have learned that if I agree to perform, I am way more likely to practice.  This can help me improve my talent, or at least keep up what I have.  I have also learned that the more I perform, the easier it gets -- though I never find it really easy.  I eventually learned that if I found something to smile about while I was playing, my flute wouldn't bounce around, even though I can still feel my whole body quaking!  People are generally kind, and I notice my mistakes more than anyone else.  Since I mostly play at church, I like to pray that the music I play will help people to feel the Holy Ghost, and doing this generally gives me the help I need to do well enough. 

I have other "war" stories of performing, like the time I got done playing, sat down in front of the congregation, and cried the entire rest of the meeting.  Or the time I agreed to play a piano solo and it turned out that the week before, Derek was made Bishop, I found out we were not going to have a baby, I had a D and C, attended a family reunion, and played the solo in front of lots of extra family, and with Derek being the Bishop for the first time.  I have never had my legs shake so badly in my life and I found it to be a miracle that I was able to play the song at all.  I even kept going when I got lost and didn't miss the last note like I am prone to do. 

There have been good experiences and I learned something every time.  I love music, and I have found it to be a blessing that I have been able to persist in performing, even though it is hard.

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