My love for an audience began with unexpected heartbreak at nine years old.
I sat on a piano bench in auditorium filled with people who watched with anticipation. Although nerves were palpable, I played the beginning of the piece with confidence. The practiced rhythm in my fingers was instinctual.
Until it wasn’t.
In a moment of confusion, I did the unthinkable. I thought about the next phrase of music. Rather than trust my fingers to remember the notes, my mind raced ahead.
My sigh was audible to everyone sitting in the audience. Hundreds of eyes stared and after what seemed like an eternity, I proceeded the only way I knew how. I played the next section I remembered, bowed, and hurried off the stage.
At the time, I wasn’t sure how I survived, but I was sure of this: it the worst day of my life.
Isn’t it funny how even when our experiences on stage leave scars, we often desire more? Whether it’s in front of hundreds of people or in a small group, we have this innate desire to be seen. We want to know our work is valued, and when we don’t receive affirmation we often become discouraged.
That night on the stage so many decades ago, I was recognized….