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.