I was very quiet and shy growing up, very. In grade 2, I started taking piano lessons and a couple of years later started taking voice lessons, both from the same teacher. Soon after starting voice lessons, I was registered to take part in the annual Queens County Music Festival, an adjudicated music competition for young people in Prince Edward Island. I participated until about high school, preparing solos in each of piano and voice, with some years performing in more than one category during the week-long, springtime event.
Somewhere between very uneasy and terrified would about sum up my feelings prior each performance and the preamble was always the same. The participants, usually the same age or within a year or two of each other, sat patiently in order of their program appearance, while the details of their ‘class’ were announced. Each took their turn, walking to the stage (without tripping), performing and returning to their seat. After everyone had their turn, we sat and waited to hear the comments that the adjudicator made for each of us and finally our marks.
So, how did this prepare me for what I do now? Not all of those performances went smoothly, but I was stubborn enough to keep at it and with each passing year I became more confident performing in front of an audience. Throughout high school, presentations made me a little nervous but not quite to the extent as some of my classmates. By the time I got to university, standing up in front of a group was considerably easier and now as a lecturer and presenter I actually prefer the ‘other’ side of the desk.
While I don’t perform musically anymore, I have been trying out my keyboard recently and look forward to getting back to playing soon.