I was a sophomore in high school, anticipating my first-ever “session.” A session is a term used to describe 20-30 minutes spent playing a musical instrument, by yourself, in front of your music director to be assessed for a chair in the school’s band. (Oh, and former band-geeks – I am looking at you, because you know exactly what I am talking about. Don’t hide).
This harrowing collection of minutes was made even more terrifying by the fact that your “chair” represented how skilled you were at your instrument. First chair = the most skilled. Last chair = the least skilled. In Manchester, NH at the ripe age of 15, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
I’d spent hours practicing my scales as well as all the prepared pieces (to this day, I find the best cure for anxiety is preparation), and I was thinking I had a terrific shot at first chair. On the day of my session, my parents wished me good luck and I skipped off to the bus, hopped on and made it all the way to school. …without my clarinet.
The moral of the story is this: it doesn’t matter how well you execute the hard things if you can’t get the easy things right.