As I am undergoing year four, part two, of my college career, the end is coming and it is causing me to reflect. It’s not coming THAT FAST, as I am student teaching next fall, but still. I performed my senior percussion recital a couple weeks ago. It was a big factor of causing me to look back. I have accomplished so much despite the Multiple Sclerosis I have, I am in awe. Upon entering college, I was not very good, and symptoms only added to my ability of getting the improved playing down very quickly. But through the MS and its restraints, I have found a determination I didn’t know I possessed. I even had a prof tell me last semester that I am the most determined student he’s seen since he’d been teaching at this school. My recital was a Saturday, and my dress rehearsal was the Wednesday before. I had been preparing for this recital for almost a year, though I had only had some of the pieces in my hands for a couple months. I had been practicing and practicing, more and more, increasingly up to the point of my recital. My recital was the Saturday after everyone was back from spring break, so I spent more than half of my break on campus, PRACTICING. I enjoyed it, and playing soon transitioned from the practicing so that I wouldn’t make a mistake to practicing so I couldn’t make a mistake. At the end of my dress rehearsal, my prof told me that he was proud of me and all I’d accomplished. And I realized—I WAS, TOO! It was an incredible feeling, and I still carry it. I performed a recital all by myself. I played with two ensembles, one of which played a piece I wrote, the other in which I soloed. Seven pieces, three memorized, and all well-prepared. Eight instruments. People asked me many times what my favorite was. I have no idea still—I played pieces on the vibraphone, timpani, marimba, xylophone, a multiple-drum set-up, a triangle/woodblock combo (not a solo, an orchestral part for the piece I wrote), and flower pots. Yes, flower pots. I think, in the end, I decided that I liked playing the flower pot piece the most, because it was unique and it took more work than just playing it—I went and sat in a Menard’s listening to flower pot pitches; I went to find a theater prof to get help speaking it well; I went and found a classics prof to get the background of the text, I experimented a ton with how I should play them, what I should put them on to get a decent height, whether I should stand or sit. When I uploaded my solos onto YouTube yesterday, I realized that I was kind of putting myself out there, and I didn’t know what I thought of that. But I also put them there so that friends and family who couldn’t see it would, and so that people learning the pieces could hear different interpretations (as I always do when learning a piece).
As I was preparing for my recital, I continually prayed that God get all the glory. I don’t know if putting some of those pieces on YouTube will do all that, but I desire it still. I totally couldn’t have done the recital or anything without the Lord’s help, I am being totally honest here (not just saying that). When I have no energy left but still needed to practice, I would somehow find it once more (usually after a plea in prayer). I would not be able to be that determined on my own, either. I am super THANKFUL. God has blessed me in so many ways. And all that family and friend support? Another AMAZING blessing, and I am so thankful for them, too! Praise and glory be to God, forever and ever! Amen.
Oh, and here is my flower pot piece that I talked about a lot here, just because I know you’re curious. (It’s long but worth it.) And, if you really want to, you can follow it to my channel to see the others. (Thinking of you, Anita!)