Imagine you’re asked to play the processional tune for a friend’s wedding. You’re honored and excited to do it. You diligently spend an entire week playing only that tune over and over until every note is perfect. After all, this is the most important ceremony of their lives.
The wedding day arrives and you play a couple of tunes before the ceremony while guests are arriving. And then you see the bride and groom and that’s your cue to start playing that special tune that will join them together in holy matrimony. The crowd gets silent and everyone is waiting for the music to start so the bride and groom can begin their walk down the aisle.
All of a sudden…you can’t remember how the darn tune starts. Even worse you can’t remember how any tune starts. You find yourself standing there with this foreign instrument in your hands wondering what the hell you’re going do with it and why everyone is looking at you.
No, this was not a nightmare. This is exactly what happened to me at a wedding I played at yesterday and it was one of the scariest moments of my life.
It’s not the first time I have had to play in a stressful situation. I played at many weddings and funerals and I’ve been playing in bands for almost 10 years. But this is truly the first time my mind actually went completely blank before I had to play. It was scary and disappointing.
I did eventually pull it together and ended up playing a tune. Not THE tune but a tune nonetheless. I don’t know where it came from but something inside of me just took over and started playing the first tune that came to mind. It wasn’t ideal but it was the best I could do at the time. It was truly one of the most loving and beautiful ceremonies I’ve been to, so I’m hoping what people remember is the ceremony and not the music.
The good news is, I learned a good couple of lessons throughout this process. Most importantly, I was reminded that I’m human, I will make mistakes and I have to be able to forgive myself. So Katrina, I forgive you!
I also learned that sometimes things just happen, situations don’t always go as planned and you have to roll with whatever is presented to you. Despite my little freakout, I was still somehow able to pull it together fairly quickly. It wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t the end of the world either. So I proved to myself in some odd way that I am a good musician, that I can play under pressure and next time, I’ll do a little better.
In the end, with every situation, every gig, I grow a little more. I won’t let myself get discouraged by my mistakes, instead I’ll take what I’ve learned and bring it to the next situation. So although, I’m sad that I didn’t get to play that special tune for my friend, I’m happy that I got to share in their special day and I’m thankful for the lessons learned.
2 thoughts on “Lessons learned”
As this might happen again, can you bring a Post-It note with the first bar of the tune, or something like that? Not a musician, I can’t speak from experience.
That’s a great idea. Even just the first few notes would have helped. Thanks for your comment!