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Put Yourself Out There! - with a link to a performance video :)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

I think a lot while I run. Today, I was thinking about a piano competition I went to a few weeks ago. Long story short, I was cut just before the final round, which was a shock to just about everyone in the audience. I took it in stride, as I've competed enough in my life to know that it doesn't just depend on your performance; it depends on your competitors as well, and the judges' tastes.

All you can do is put yourself out there and share whatever talent you have with the people around you. It's a risk because not everyone is going to love what you do. You might get "cut" and feel you didn't get to share everything you wanted. That's hard. I confess I cried a little back in my dorm room that night when I called my teacher and told her I didn't make the finals. Part of me felt like giving up; wondering why I spend all this time, energy, and money on my classical piano competition hobby. I'll never be famous and I won't make money at it.

However, I've met hundreds of pianist friends now from all over the world. I love seeing them at these events. It means a lot when non-pianists hear me play and tell me how it moved them. My high school piano teacher published a little book once called "If... You Would Add Beauty to the World" (hey, I just googled it and it's available on Amazon!). I guess that's what I try to do with piano. I take the risk of criticism and rejection, but in the end, I hope I've added some beauty to the world.

In case you are interested, here's my latest upload to YouTube. It's called Notturno (Nocturne) in G minor and it's by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. My husband discovered this piece by accident while surfing around on YouTube one day. He sent me a link and said it sounded like something I would play well. I loved it, instantly. It really speaks to my heart. Then I started learning about Fanny. She was the sister of the famous composer Felix Mendelssohn. She had every bit as much musical talent, but being of a noble family, she was not permitted to have a career. Her husband, the painter Wilhelm Hensel, actually encouraged her to compose (a man ahead of his time!) but she couldn't publish. Some of her works were actually published under her brother's name. If you decide to give it a listen (it's only 4:30 long), I hope it encourages you to look up some of her other works.

I can't help thinking when I play this piece how much Fanny would have loved to put herself out there, but wasn't allowed. We should all be grateful for the opportunity we have and get ourselves OUT THERE and share!

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