The Oldest had a piano recital on Saturday and he was quite nervous about it, seeing as how it was his first time playing IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. He is a great pianist, actually, very good for his age, 11.
On the way there he kept talking about how he felt strange in his stomach and maybe perhaps he would throw up and what was wrong, he was perplexed.
"You are nervous," Dear Sir called back, "It is called 'butterflies in your stomach.'"
"Oh," said the Oldest, "I don't feel so good."
"Pray about it."
I looked back at him and he was bowing his head, folding his hands and praying earnestly.
Once we got there I sat next to him in the front with the other participants, a number under 30. As we got closer to his performance, the Oldest got more comfortable and I got more nervous. I was so nervous I was feeling sick, a total pit in my stomach. Once he actually ran up on the stage and bowed at the piano instead of the audience, I clutched the pew (we were at a church) and clenched my teeth. Why the heck was I so nervous?
He played a ragtime song from his performance book, and then when he finished he put his hand on his chin in contemplation, scratched his head, and half got up and sat down again. Closed his performance book, knit his brow, and then began to play his original piece written in the program as The Great Song in E minor. I was so utterly nervous the whole time, he played so fast and furious, but it was fabulous. It sounded like a song straight from the eighties. It was rockin. And I noticed how he played at the piano. He played like a crazy lunatic, loose, shaking a bit, rocking to his own music, bouncing slightly on the pedals. He played like flipping Chris Martin. When he finished everyone burst into applause and my child's eyes went wide in surprise.
I later asked him why he paused so dramatically between songs. Dear Sir thought that he was about to bolt off the stage (which I think that was part of it), but made himself start his next piece. He said, "I thought for a second, 'I am not sure that The Great Song in E Minor is such a great song---what if no one likes it?'"
I laughed and said to him, "Well, it was good you played it because everyone said how 'great' it really was."
Now he can't wait to play his next recital. I am so proud that he played in front of people. I would be just as proud if he played terribly. The first step in performing what you love is actually doing it. And it always helps when your kid composes his own stuff. Coolness.