As of last night, the 2011-2012 piano season has concluded. Gummi played in her last recital of the year. She performed marvelously. A twist to the evening was that her and I played a duet together - "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." As I awaited our turn to perform, I was recounting how I found myself in this position.
A few months ago, Gummi brought home a duet book from her lesson. She asked if I would play her teacher's part, in order to help her practice. That one day turned into a daily routine for us. Apparently Gummi told her teacher that I had been helping her out at home, in which I received a note inviting me to play with Gummi at her upcoming recital. My immediate reaction was "no." But after some sweet talk from Gummi and few "please, please" pleases, I couldn't find it in me to reject the offer. So as graciously as I could, I agreed to play with my daughter.
Going into the evening, I was feeling pretty confident. It is a beginner's song and we had faithfully practiced it daily for many weeks. However, as our names drew closer in the program, my hands began to sweat and my knees trembled a bit. All the nerves and agony of my own childhood recitals came flooding back. I tried to make light of it as I looked about the room and saw these young kids. I mean come on - I am almost forty in a room where the average age of the performers is probably 8. Why should I be second guessing my ability? Well, because that's who I am and I realized that I have never outgrown the recital nerves. I leaned forward and asked Gummi, "are you ready?" She smiled and nodded her head. As we approached the piano I became very self conscience of people looking at me. Silently, I briefly asked St. Cecilia to pray for us. We sat down, counted out the start and began playing. I was able to picture us in our living room, playing our own piano. I was calmed by Gummi's confidence as she played. She never faltered as she moved across the keys. At the conclusion of our song, she flashed me a smile and then stood up to take her bow. At that moment, all eyes were on her and I was filled with pride.
Did I overreact? Probably. My anxiety, however, was real. Afterwards I asked Gummi if she was nervous. She responded very matter-of-factly, "no." I marveled at that. Who's kid is this anyway? I am now hoping that I have done my time and won't be asked again to perform. I much prefer sitting in the audience, cheering on my daughter and the other young musicians as they showcase all of their hard work, effort, and talent.