Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Facing Fears

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. 


  1. What a lovely story, that will be a cherished memory forever! I too, have many memories about piano recital fears. What a gift she wasn't nervous!

  2. I too had a similar situation with Father Daughter dances. I performed 5 years in a row. It does get easier. The crazy thing is, I still have those pictures on my wall at work almost 5 years. Now I have pictures of the softball teams I helped coach. As I get older, I don't who benefits more from those situations. Excellent story.