I was in college and although I wasn't a harp major, my teacher asked me to join in the other harp-major quintet to perform in the major recital of the year. Not only was I playing with the harp majors, but the piece we were playing was composed by one of the most well-known harpist in the harp world. AND he was going to be in attendance that night. If that weren't enough pressure, I had a small small solo in the very beginning. It wasn't difficult, and in fact I learned it right off and began to tackle the more difficult remainder of the piece.
The night came. Our five harps were set up in a semi-circle and we walked out on stage and took our seats. Could we say my heart was pounding and a whole ramble of butterflies in my stomach, trying to escape? We began our piece and my turn came for my itty bitty solo. What came from my harp was a discord, mumbled, jumbled mess. It was as though every single one of my fingers were on the wrong string. I wasn't sure what to do, so I just stopped playing. Luckily the next soloist jumped in with her part. I had just flopped in front of hundreds of people, my fellow harpists, my professor, and the very composer.
I learned something very valuable, however. Those few simple measures I was so confident about should have had my attention as much as the remainder of the complicated piece, and it certainly didn't keep me from playing again.
Recently I was asked to participate in a miniature version of Project Runway called Project Play and Run. Every time I thought about it I would get butterflies in my stomach and my heart would be a bit faster [just take a look at who I'm up against], which meant I was being challenged, which is what we all need sometimes. Those ruts get awfully comfortable, cozy and easy, you know? Each week we are given a new challenge [that is if I don't get voted off immediately] that we interpret and come up with a look for a child that falls within the theme of the week. I'm excited. And nervous. But I do love a good challenge, even if I fall flat....on my fingers.