I always leave orchestra feeling a vague sense of defeat and dissatisfaction, because one of two things happen: either I have not practiced enough and feel lazy, or I spent hours on the music only to sit at the back of the orchestra unable to play it.
Oftentimes, I find passages that are possible for me to play if I work meticulously on them, so I spend much of my practice time on them. However, as a result I neglect the simpler sections that are well within my reach. Rehearsal time comes and I can't play what I had practiced or the simpler sections, making me feel embarrassed and like a bit of a failure; so I really don't enjoy orchestra.
The music is overwhelming, and I think to myself "What is the point of practicing if I won't be able to play it anyway?" Then, next time I go to orchestra, I feel lazy because I did not practice enough and get my butt kicked. So, I resolve to work on it, and the first scenario happens again, creating a vicious cycle. I dread rehearsals a bit because of this, a realization that hit me a few weeks ago when I had weekend rehearsals both for theatre and orchestra that overlapped. I realized that I would rather be at a twelve hour play rehearsal than go to a two-and-a-half hour orchestra rehearsal.
However, that orchestra rehearsal ended up going really well. Occasionally I have days where I actually feel--dare I say it--competent; no, I can't play everything, but I see how much I have improved. Those days are few and far between, but they are what keep me in orchestra, hoping that some day I will stop feeling like a terrible musician.
I knew I wasn't off to a good start when at 5:30 I realized that the concert was at 6:00 rather than 8:00 (which was the time of the Wednesday performance). I rushed to the church and made it there on time, but I missed the rehearsal beforehand. I was so embarrassed, but I was trying not to beat myself up about it. I told myself "There's nothing you can do about it," however, I still felt like a complete idiot.
We started playing, and I was missing notes I don't usually miss, partially because I had not warmed up, and partially because of my scattered state of mind. At some point someone gave the director flowers and a framed picture of the orchestra that we had taken at the Wednesday concert. When the picture was being taken, I felt like an impostor because I felt that I really didn't contribute anything worthwhile to the orchestra, and when he received the picture I caught myself thinking "I don't deserve to be in that picture." I immediately stopped that train of thought by saying "Wow, Rachel. Did you really just say that to yourself? What you don't deserve is to talk to yourself that way." I tried to let go of the feelings and concentrate on more positive things.
At the end of the concert, we all stood up during the ovation. I have always felt embarrassed during this time because I feel that I did not earn the applause. I looked out at the audience and words Kurt Cobain's character says in the theatre production I'm currently in rang through my head. "Every compliment takes a piece of my soul," and "The fact is, I can't fool any of you."
So I ate that pretzel and I enjoyed every. single. bite. without guilt. I deserved it.
P.S. We are performing the play in Bochum July 4-5 at 8 pm at the Theolozzi. For more information, check out this link.