I was five years old and dressed in a flouncy dress covered with rose prints. People around me clapped, my mom nudged me toward the stage, and I marched directly to the shiny black piano. Then I flopped down and spewed out Hot Cross Buns. It was over before I knew it.
I don’t remember much more about that piano recital, but I do remember that I wasn’t shy or self-conscious. Maybe one could say I was puzzled, rather. All in all, that little performance led to many, many more, and I have to say that despite all the fuss, stress, and jitters I felt before each one of them (lacking the unabashed qualities of a five-year-old), they have rewarded me with more inner strength, resolve, and motivation to push myself to learn challenging pieces and to improve upon my mistakes. It really takes a lot out of someone to want to partake in such a self-revealing event on stage that also requires a lot of focus and preparation. But more importantly, this entire process sticks with you, showing you what it takes to fulfill a pretty big achievement.
I’ve had all kinds of performances: good, bad, nerve-numbing, nerve-wracking…you name it, I’ve done it. But all of these varying experiences come with the territory, whatever that may be for anyone. What matters is constantly moving forward, being inspired by what is not yet within your grasp, and sharing what you already have with those trodding along the same path. This is why I teach, even though I’m still moving along a path connected to that piano recital when I was five years old.
Share some of your “first recital” experiences, whether they be a performance on stage or Little League game. We’ve all had that first shot at something in front of other people, whatever that first experience was.