benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: June, 2016

OPERA

I was called in to play for two corporate events at the Detroit Opera House this week.

 

And of course, what the prima donna in me reveled in the most was having my own dressing room and parking spot. Also, having bottles of mineral water served to me on silver trays, already opened, didn’t hurt.

 

I like being fussed over.

 

So I thought I would be really let down when I returned to my regular bench, at my regular gigs, where I get my own water, park my own car and fight for table space to eat my dinner on set breaks in already overcrowded back-of-house offices.

 

But I didn’t miss all the special attention.

 

Instead, I missed the feeling of the pianos that I am used to playing on.

 

Like old familiar friends, each one was comforting and reassuring to the touch.

 

Not all the things I am tasked to do come with the applause and show-stopping arias.

 

It’s nice when it happens. Even thought the most important work usually happens behind the scenes, without even so much as an overture.

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PATIENCE

My coach made the decision this week to delay my physique competition debut by another three months.

 

Everyone around me braced themselves for the biggest bitch-fit, ever.

 

I’m not exactly known to be the most patient person, so it’s surprising that I am completely calm and extremely accepting of this additional waiting.

 

Maybe it’s because I trust my coach and understand his logic. Since my body analysis shows I’ve gained a pound of muscle in a month as well as lost a pound of fat, a slower, but longer cutting period would be better for me. The body does what it does, at it’s own pace and in it’s own way.

 

Or maybe it’s because what’s actually growing is my knowledge that best things come to those who wait. And that no matter how much I want something, it may not be completely up to me when, or if I get to have it.

 

ARABESQUE

I stressed out over this wedding for weeks.

 

The only request the bride adamantly made was that her processional entrance music be Debussy’s Arabesque No 1.

 

Knowing that I didn’t have the technical ability or even the time to master it completely, I bought the sheet music, and painstakingly transcribed into C, several short phrases that sounded to me like the main motifs of the piece.

 

Or at least, what would make my version of it be recognizable as the piece.

 

Then I added by ear, what I thought were the right sounding accompanying chords.

 

Armed with the well-practiced version of this abridged arrangement, I performed at the wedding ceremony, fearful that I would be told afterwards that I ruined a dear childhood memory, or grandmother’s favorite piece of music.

 

Such is the dance I constantly make with the fear of failure.

 

That my best is never going to be good enough. Or that I am less equipped than everyone else around me.

 

When the dance I should be making is one of joy.

 

The bride loved the music. Not just the Debussy. All of it. She told me so after her first dance, with tears in her eyes, how amazingly special I had made her day.

 

And this pride weekend, I also intend to dance, fully aware of what the arabesque pattern of a rhythmically curving line really means.

 

It signifies an accordance with nature and mirrors the celebrations of those natural forms.

 

I am made to be exactly, right.

 

ALL OF ME

I recently had the pleasure of playing this jazz standard for the composer’s granddaughter, who came in for dinner one night.

 

She tentatively asked me if I knew the song by Gerald Marks, and when I jokingly replied that most people think John Legend wrote it, she revealed its personal significance to her.

 

We both laughed, but it is moments like these keep reminding me.

 

Even when I feel that all of me isn’t enough or equipped to handle my life and livelihood, very often times, it is.