Saturday, May 4, 2013

I Love Being On the Stage

One day of making my resolution about blogging for 21 days, I broke it. So one of the things I do as a result is: 1) Re-start the 21 days or 2) Do twice as much the next day. (No use in condemning and criticizing myself, the world does enough of that sometimes. I am only human.) So today, I will write two separate posts. Also, during the 21 days, I am breaking the rule a bit by adding other resolutions. The others are: 1) Practicing my recorder for 10 minutes each day check 2) Practicing the guitar for 15 minutes each day (I am mostly teaching myself and it's been a lifelong dream to learn. My hubby bought me a lovely Fender blonde acoustic guitar.) check 3) Either run or do yoga each day. started yesterday And the others, well, let's just put it this way. They're a bit more challenging including: 1) Getting to work 15 minutes earlier 2) Meditating twice daily And I know when life gets especially busy, the "extra" ones are tougher to commit to. Eric Thomas suggests focusing on one of these habits each month and then adding another. While Les Brown suggests completing a list of 7 daily habits which help one get closer to their goal. What's my overall goal here? Is there method to my madness? Well, part of my goal just dawned on me very clearly yesterday. I am in love with performing. I love to be onstage. I really do. I guess it's something that I've known all along but I think I have forgotten how important it is to have performance in my life. It's the kind of thing when it is not there, I feel it. But when it is there, it feels quite unimaginably amazing and I walk on a cloud for weeks. In some sense, I feel like i am not your typical performer. I have a "day job" as a teacher-- a career which involves a lot of performance in its own right. I am also an introvert and am not the "life of the party"-type. However, put me on a stage and you'll something totally opposite. I'm not quite a Michael Jackson (who was painfully shy but an amazing performer.) Yet, I think back and the most amazing thing about being in high school for me was the countless opportunities to perform in skits, choirs, vocal ensembles I formed with other students, presentations, and bands. Outside of school, I performed at piano and jazz recitals as well as competitions (which always had my tummy turning upside down). Take my most recent performance last Sunday, April 28th with the Heritage Singers which I absolutely loved. I got to perform and embody Jamaican folk music-- religious songs, spirituals, mento, hymns,... It is quite a soulful experience. (Here's an article about last year's show.) The amazing thing is the costumes, the songs, the movement... everything. At one of our recent shows, a women of Scottish heritage who used to perform Scottish Gaelic songs and dance shared with me, "There's something about performing a song that is three hundred years old." I agree. There is something about a song that is so old, also a tradition that is so old. I love being a part of it. I feel it. So what does this mean now for me as I turn 36? I am no spring chicken. I am not 12 years old or some 18 year old hungry for success who decides to move to Los Angeles or Atlanta (sorry Janelle Monae). No, I don't think I'm running off to any place. Instead, what this could mean is the necessity of putting a lot more performance opportunities back into my life. Everything from piano recitals to performing with Heritage Singers to storytelling outside of my classroom (my newest venture but I get to practice on my students) to giving workshops and presentations. Part of my resistance to doing these things in the first place is the fear of not being good enough but the truth is, I am right. I am never good enough meaning there will always be room for practice and improvement so since I have now released myself from that, I can go with it. I can surrender it. I am not perfect. I also share this love of performance with my students as I give them opportunities to perform by preparing songs and routines. My French and music students have already done several performances this past school year. The first few performances were a little rough but it keeps on getting better and better. I am developing other projects as well thanks to community partners-- a primary and a junior/intermediate choirs, as well as steel pan program. Performance has given many of my students an opportunity to shine. They love performing (to a fault). The level of focus and attentiveness I seen from many when performance is the goal supersedes the work they produce in class. I spoke with my husband about and he totally knows what I am talking about. He agrees. He lives it as a musician. So my dreams and goals include performance. In addition to writing books for children and young adults, as well as you my adult audience, I will continue to be a performer musically. In fact, I dream of being a children's entertainer/performer and put together shows, programs, that entertain, educate, and inspire. And how do I know I'm on to something? I think it's because it doesn't feel like work to me. No matter how exhausted, bone-aching tired I am in the real world, I can always muster enough energy to perform and write. Now let's get on with the show.

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