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Aaron Smith

The Unexpected Gift

December 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM

It wasn't really the sort of gift I was expecting.

I began this Christmas season full of excitement to once again play the old standards at church and for retirement audiences. I was pleased that the performances had some proximity to the tone and nuances I was able to craft in practice. A bit of a nervous player, I find myself obsessing over the details of lighting, sweaty palms, amount of rosin on the bow--the list is endless. The capstone of the season for me was to be a solo for the candlelight service at church. For the first two verses all went well, then came the shift to 3rd position on the E string. I missed the plant of my anchor finger leaving the last 16 notes of the song horribly out of tune.

I would have been devasted by that showing just a few months ago. However, having had a few good events under my belt, I am confident that it was an anomaly. Sure, I wish I had those 16 notes back. But listening to the recording objectively, it highlights the areas I need to work on and ways I can avoid the same from occurring again. I heard no audible "gasps" or cries from the audience to rush me with stones for my error.

I will go on from this. I will practice. I will improve. I will play for the sake of the music again this week--even if it is for God's ears alone. It is a gift to be able to play. It is a gift to play on despite the effort and focus required. The wood will sing this new year with its sweatest song yet. It isn't the gift I was expecting year, but am thankful for it.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on December 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM
What you do for the holiday season is a significant "gift" to folks out there who might not otherwise have the joy of the music you provide. This is true even if you make mistakes. It won't be the last time, but you will feel more comfortable as you go along. So, continue to give the gift, and do not worry about your errors. The attitude you are achieving is the correct one. Happy New Year!

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