Today I brought down the big suitcase that was stored in the guesthouse, the one I will take to Madrid in seventeen days. The dogs immediately became glued to my side…they know what it means. The days are flying by, and soon I will be making my solo trip to Spain. I can’t say that I’m not anxious, but I am doing my best to turn my thoughts into positive reflections of the adventure to come.
I am being careful to couch all of my words about the Madrid trip in a positive vein. When a fear-based comment slipped out, Dan said, “Honey, it’s MaDRID, not MaDREAD, you know. You need to be thinking positive thoughts! He was right…as my wise, sweet husband usually is. The more I have thought about it, the more I realize that this solo adventure is exactly what I need at this time in my life. A no-turning-back opportunity to stretch my boundaries and expand my comfort zone, which had begun to shrink without me even knowing it.
When my students tell me they are afraid of an upcoming performance, I have them say that they are excited, not afraid. Thinking of those butterflies in their stomachs as tingles of excitement changes the whole experience. Once again, it is time for the teacher to listen to her own lessons. So…I am feeling the tingle of excitement as I begin to pack for my trip- and the funny thing is, it truly has become excitement. The mind is such a funny and amazing thing, isn’t it?
I want my world to expand, not shrink, and what better way to do that than to experience the culture and history of another country. I will be busy while I’m in Madrid, as the Board meets for many hours a day, but there will also be time for me. Time to visit the Prado again, time to enjoy tapas and wonderful Spanish wines with dear friends who will be attending the conference, time to explore Madrid, a city rife with art and history. Also a time to get to know myself better…what will I learn? I am so excited to find out.
My clarinet maker, Canadian-based Backun Musical Services, has been posting about all of their artists who will be performing at ClarinetFest®, and I have to admit it was shocking to see my photo alongside all of the other clarinetists that are heroes to me. I feel deeply grateful to be included in the company of these people who inspire me and my students so much. When Backun did a special post about my performance on the Board recital, Italian clarinetist Corrado Giiffredi wrote, “I will be there!”….and my stomach erupted into…..excitement…yes, excitment. Corrado is one of the most talented clarinetists I have ever heard, and he makes it all seem effortless. He is also a sweet teddy bear of a man, and I am honored that he wants to hear me. I will do my best to play well.
Originally, I was going to play a duo piece with my best friend, Diane, but she will still be going through radiation to deal with her breast cancer. I found a way to still take her on stage with me, though- I am playing a wonderfully fun and flashy piece that she edited and published. She wrote a beautiful autograph on the front of it for me, and I love that I will feel her with me as I perform. Next to my mom and Dan, Diane has always been the most wonderful source of support and encouragement of my playing, believing in me when sometimes I don’t myself. That’s what truly great friends do….I am such a lucky woman.
I will also take some of home with me- the special button that I found in Mom’s apartment after we had scrubbed every nook and cranny, but was somehow right on the floor where she had fallen. I will have photos of Dan and the critters, and some of our view of the city- something that always calms me. Aside from the excitment of hearing great players and learning new music, I am excited to blog daily about the trip, sharing the beautiful city of Madrid with Dan and all of you. No dreading here…instead, excitement, anticipation, and gratitude. Here’s to living our lives- each and every moment.