Performing: A Tale

Published February 7, 2014 by Jess Arwen

The anxiety, the sweat due to stress that collects under both arms– how can I go out there? Did I practice enough? No, I couldn’t have practiced enough, but the people are already here, so I must face them.

No, it’s not about the musicality; it’s about proving that I am a musician. What happened to the willingness to perform simply to tell a tale, to share how much I love music with others?

To be a performing musician of any kind means to confront anxiety over messing up and being good enough for the people in front of you. When I first started out, it might have actually been easier. God simply blessed me with a raw and naive love for music. It transformed my life.

When there were no friends there for me, there was always music.

Yet now it seems that music has changed somehow. It became an occupation. It grew heavy, and I didn’t want to carry such a burden any longer.

What could I do? Once your this close to completing a major, you can’t simply give it up. But what if music truly isn’t what I should do with my life? What if I don’t love it anymore? Could I stop loving music with all my heart?

Such questions almost destroyed me, but through the second part of a semester, in which I had to perform a lot, I learned that I love music. Performing forced me to get out of my head and focus on those around me. When music stopped being about just me, it became something beautiful. Music is a shared experience.

I perform because I want to share a love so amazing that it can’t help but simply spill out of me. How could I have forgotten this?

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