Here is an essay I wrote for my application to Peabody Conservatory. I dont really know about the last sentence; I cant decide if it is conclusive enough to close with. What do you all think?
When I think back on all my performances, good and bad, one really stands out in my mind as completely different from all the rest. I was selected to perform in the Honors Recital at a music camp with a piece that was so old and stale that it wasn't getting any better, it was getting worse. The piece had hit that point in its life where after months and months of practice, it was as good as it was going to get, and now it literally felt like a fight every time I played it to keep if from slipping further downhill. The piece was Liszt's Un Sospiro, and the worst part was that I had worked on it for so long and performed it so many times that it didn't sound like music to me anymore. One of the worst feelings in the world to me is getting on stage, performing, and hearing the applause for a piece that I don't like, and am not passionate and committed to. The Honors Recital was expected to have the largest audience of any of the camp performances, and I wasn't looking forward to performing my piece yet again
under so much pressure.
The day of the performance, I didn't feel good at all. As I always do when I'm nervous, much to the annoyance of my roommate, I started dropping everything I held and knocking things over. As the day wore on, it got worse and worse, until I thought I was going to explode. For my entire life, whenever I have to play in a recital I get a sudden lack of self esteem. Who am I fooling, I cant play the piano. I mean, look at all those keys, how am I possibly supposed to play this thing? There must have been some mistake....
I always end up performing just fine, but those moments beforehand have always been horrible. The usual lines were running through my head as I paced backstage, waiting for my turn. The stage manager whispered "Ready?" gave me the thumbs up, and opened the stage door. I took a deep breath, and walked out on stage.
I don't know why, but when I walked out onto the stage, my nerves completely disappeared. It was one of those stars-align-in-you-favor kinds or moments, where everything seems perfect. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I felt completely relaxed and at ease on stage. Gone was the usual counting down the seconds until its over feeling, and as I started playing I realized how good it feels to be onstage in a gorgeous concert hall, playing with complete confidence on a nine foot Steinway concert grand. I don't know why my nerves disappeared, maybe I had reached the golden number of performances of one piece, and my brain had realized how pointless it was to be nervous, or maybe I had just run through all the nervousness one person can generate in a day. Whatever the reason was, I count the Honors Recital as my best performance to date, just because of how incredible it felt.
I think moments like these are why I want to be a music major. I can't think of any other profession where so many hours and hours of hard work goes into just a few minutes on stage, but I also can't think of any other profession where those moments are so rewarding. It feels amazing to reach the point where you can sit down at a piano knowing that no matter what happens in this performance, you have prepared as much as you could, and now its time to do what you have been working towards for 11 years.