I started playing the cello when I was already in my forties. And every time before an exam or concert I am just shaking with nerves. This is ludicrous I tell myself then. I am only doing this because I have always loved music and wanted to try and play another musical instrument to widen my own musical horizons and challenge myself, push myself that I don’t become lazy and scared of challenges. There is no competition with anyone else playing the cello. Rather the opposite because I am more than double the age of most of the other students who study at the Music School. They are mostly in school still.
So then my pep talk starts again….I am seriously doing this for fun as well. But to push myself to practise and to get better, because ultimately it is about playing better and getting a better sound from the cello, I do these exams and performances where possible. And I am not talking about Carnegie Hall-performances (well if they came up I might consider), I am talking about playing at different Church Christmas Services (so with many other people playing at the same time, not talking about everyone singing!), school concerts and at these pre-exam-get-togethers just to play in front of the other students….those kind of thing!
The exams are stressful, that is true. But I suppose your steel has to come out some way, you can’t only do things which you are not scared of where there is no fear, which is within your own boundaries…you have to push yourself I always tell myself…. because otherwise you’ll die being a wimp, die wondering why did I never try. And that is one thing I never want to be – somebody who never tried. At least on my grave stone they can write – she tried her hand on the cello, she wasn’t the best, but hey she had fun and could pull a few party songs out of the bag!
But to practise for this dreaded exam I am almost a cello-zombie. I drink, eat and sleep cello. And in my mind that is ridiculous! Seriously. It feels if all my grey matter has been transferred to the cello, I cannot think about doing any other creative thing. And to be creative is something I need to survive. It relaxes and focuses me, so I need urgent creative therapy….
But tomorrow is D-day, so maybe after the exam my other creative sides can come alive again.