As someone in Ireland might say, I’m “not displeased” about how I played my solo last night. My adrenal glands did not have enough juice left to cause uncontrollable shaking. There were some phrases in my left-hand accompaniment that completely slipped away, but I “improvised” my way through the blank space without anyone seeming to know that I was making it up as I played, hoping to find my way back to something that was really in the tune. All the time I spent practicing “escape routes” to places in the tune where I could regroup kept me from having a complete brain/hand freeze-up.
My friend who listened to me play at my lesson and again last night said she could tell that I was remembering to breathe, and that as a result my playing sounded lovely. And my teacher thought I sounded good. So I’m running with their feedback and calling the evening a success, even with the “interesting” moments.
The sweetest part of the evening was feeling wrapped and protected by a warm cocoon of caring and positive energy. It’s a rare gift, this feeling so loved and cared for, this having so many people rooting for me. Dear friends sent emails assuring me of a positive performance. Both my partner and my best friend came to the concert to cheer me on, despite having already been subjected to numerous practice performances of my solo. And my fellow harp ensemble members, who’ve watched me progress from index finger playing of the simplest harp parts, and who’ve witnessed my confrontations with the performance anxiety demons, enfolded me in their caring and celebrated my success. They are the people who, having faced these same challenges, know and cherish the joy when, in the midst of worries and fears, the music happens.