Sunday, February 17, 2013

stepping out of my comfort zone

I have played the piano for years. Since I was five - so that is 52 years. I have always shied away from playing in front of people - my nerves get the best of me and I make mistakes, and then I feel bad for not being perfect. I have played recitals when I was taking piano lessons and it was always nerve-wracking. I believe my phobia stems from a piano festival I participated in when I was young - grade two. I arrived at the festival all excited and ready to play. My teacher asked me where my music was. I told her I didn`t need it because I had memorized my pieces. "What if you forget", she said. The thought had never crossed my mind. But ever since then it has. I have never forgot that moment - when doubt was introduced. It was profound and has dogged me ever since.

Recently a friend asked me to help her with a musical comedy her grade six class was performing. She wanted me to help the students learn the songs and then to accompany the performances. Helping the students was a no brainer. As I retired choir teacher that was well within my comfort zone. Playing for the performances? Not so much. My first answer was no. My second answer was no. But for this class, this teacher, I reconsidered. Because, well, at 57 it was time to step out of my comfort zone.

So a week of practising at home, and two and a half weeks of working with the class. Three performances are behind me now. And, it was, fine. I did it, and I enjoyed it. It was challenging, but also, fun, to follow the performers and to provide the background music to the play. I am especially proud of the music that accompanied the two chase scenes. It was those scenes I was most nervous about, and in the end the proudest of.

So, another new skill. Another new trick for an old dog. Another chance to push outside the boundaries and to not limit myself by past experiences.

I am continually surprised in this life. By myself, by others. And I am learning that surprises are, in fact, a good thing. Even if I don`t know it at the time. Surprises make me think, and step outside my comfort zone, and wake me up. And I don`t want to sleep walk through the rest of my life.

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