When I was little, I wanted to earn a music badge for Girl Scouts. I colored a picture of Bach and displayed it on a bulletin board along with facts about his music and enormous family. It’s possible that not everyone in my troupe found Bach as fascinating as I did.
I drew this for my fourth grade music teacher. Years later, after I opened my first music lesson studio, she showed up at my door and gave it back to me. I couldn’t believe she kept it all those years! Now it has a prominent place in my studio reminding me of the love that little girl had for music.
I started accompanying in high school. At the first concert I ever played, my friend turned pages for me. We’ll say it was the wind, but despite his assistance, the music went flying off the piano. Now I do all my own page turns with music that is secured in a three-ring binder. Take that, you mysterious wind that only appears during a concert on the fast passages!
When I was in music school at Ithaca College I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Additionally, I had two emergency abdominal surgeries six months apart. All of my physical issues made playing piano that much harder. It was the beginning of two decades of study on how wellness affects musical performance. It’s why I later went on to become a certified personal trainer, a certified health and wellness coach, and a licensed physical therapist.
I love this sculpture by Paige Bradley entitled, “Expansion” because it represents how I felt after a 30-year battle with performance anxiety. Nothing undermines a musician’s hard work like nerves, and I suffered from it severely. Thankfully, I learned a way to manage my anxiety so that it affects me much less now. The first time I played a concert without anxiety I burst with joy like this sculpture. It was so freeing and fun!
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