I don’t remember when I knew I wanted to grow to be a musician. It was some time in high school, and I think I got more caught up in the music schools I thought were cool more than anything. I remember an arts tour of New York that the orchestra took. One night we went to a concert in one of the recital halls at Carnegie Hall, and I thought it was so cool. It wasn’t even the main concert hall, but I wanted to go back so badly as a performer. Not as a soloist, but I wanted to be a member of the Atlanta Symphony and go on their almost annual trip to the hall. I had a dream.
I’m not a member of the Atlanta Symphony, but I do play with several local symphonies. I have been honored to play with the newly formed Savannah Philharmonic since their first season three years ago. It’s not every concert, but usually several of the season’s concerts take me to Savannah. Back in July I got the e-mail asking me to join them for their September concert. I didn’t even mind that it fell the day after my birthday. I love playing with this orchestra! So, I practiced, and practiced, and started getting my back re-aligned weeks before the concert. I was nervous. I had changed my technique, and my back still got tired regularly. Would I be able to make it through an intense weekend of orchestra playing? I went to do the best that I could.
The two days I spent in Savannah were eye-opening. Coach Jeff would call it a break though workout in running. I took my seat, 4th chair second violin, right behind the principle of the section, and I held my own. Out of 10 pieces I had one spot that gave me trouble. I didn’t get tired, my arms didn’t tight, my back wasn’t sore, and I felt amazing. I put everything I had into that concert, and a couple of times I had to remind myself not to get so caught up in what I was doing so that I wouldn’t cry. I kept my head together, and focused on the technique that I had been working so hard on. I remembered things that my teacher had taught me for auditions, and one by one things started to click. The thing that made me smile the most was when people started asking if I was playing the next concert. Sadly I wasn’t under contract for the October concert, but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, and gratitude. They wanted me to be there. For the first time in my professional career I felt like a successful orchestra musician. Not just someone who was called on just to fill a seat, and could kind of get by playing most of the music, but someone who could play the music with confidence, and help create beautiful phrases. I felt like I had finally arrived.
I drove home to Atlanta after the concert in the best mood I have ever been in after a concert. I wasn’t rehashing everything I had missed, but instead reliving how good everything felt, both physically and emotionally. I got to my lesson the next day, and excitedly told my teacher about everything. He smiled, and said it was because we were getting somewhere. In the week prior to the concert the mood in my lessons had changed. It changed from you need to do this to even attempt an audition to, if you keep doing this you will win the audition. The thought that my teacher even thinks I could win an audition is huge. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him talk that way before. Sometimes over the past couple of weeks I’ve wondered if he does cartwheels after I leave. You can see the excitement in his eyes. I feel like I’m going to make it to my dream.
It was an equally eye-opening weekend with running as well. The tempo run on the race course started opening my eyes to what I might actually be able to accomplish not just in the Savannah Marathon, but after as well. With a few adjustments my runs the week after have been pretty awesome. I remember when I called Jeff to talk about having him coach me back in April. He asked what my goal was, and I told him my dream goal. I was slightly embarrassed because I am no where close to it, and last year the qualifying standards for the goal changed. But this week I’m starting to feel different. Maybe, just maybe I could reach the goal. I feel like there is a lot more that I can achieve then I thought I could. With running, and playing the violin I’m starting to dream again instead of getting bogged by voices that say I should just stop, and switch to a job that actually makes money. Now I want to find out what I can really do, and dream.
On the way home from Savannah I was scrolling through my playlist. Usually I listen to broadway tunes I can belt out to stay awake, but since this was an earlier concert I listened to a song I hadn’t listened to in a while. It’s by Priscilla Anh, and the lyrics hit home:
I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green.
I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest swing.
I had a dream.
Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I’m supposed to be.
The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep.
I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest tree.
I had a dream.
Now I’m old and feeling grey. I don’t know what’s left to say about this life I’m willing to leave.
I lived it full and I lived it well, there’s many tales I’ve lived to tell. I’m ready now, I’m ready now, I’m ready now to fly from the highest wing.
I had a dream