No sooner had the choir and I finished the concert of Jingle Bells and other wintry music, when Fresno’s temperatures dipped down way below freezing and have been there every night since. I always knew music had a certain magic to it. Now all the plants in our yard that didn’t die from the extreme heat in July are dying from the extreme cold in December. But we hardly know what plants are out there anyway, so we’ll just start fresh in the spring.
There’s one more musical hurdle coming this weekend–my recital for my students–and then we’re home free for a relaxing holiday. I’ve been looking forward to this recital. It’s like a celebration of the achievement of my dream to become a music teacher. I wanted to quit my special ed. job and become a music teacher. I did it. Against all odds. And I’m happy with the decision. And now my new students and I are giving a recital.
I asked my students, as we were talking through the recital, whether they get nervous when they’re performing. Oh, a little bit, they each said. And I didn’t push them. I didn’t ask, “So you don’t feel like your mind goes blank and you can’t even remember how to play the instrument or what those little black note things are on the paper? That doesn’t happen to you? And you don’t feel like there’s a rushing sensation in your head so that you can’t even think? Nothing like that?” Hm, I guess it’s just me. I’m a music teacher with performance anxiety. How interesting.
But I fight it. And I usually win. I like performances. I like the excitement of it, and the formal beauty of it. I love music. So I try all of the anxiety controlling strategies I can think of and I usually get through it okay. It’s the few times when I didn’t get through it that haunt me.
So perhaps I’m more nervous than my students about this recital. What if they mess up? What if I mess up (I’m playing a bit too)? What if we all mess up? What if all the parents decide to cancel afterwards because they think I must be a horrible teacher?
What if we have a lovely recital and everyone feels inspired and excited afterward?
It’s always a risk. Music is a risk. Life is a risk. Beauty is a risk. But, to paraphrase a famous saying, it’s better to have played the music and messed up than never to have played the music at all.