I am now officially a Unitarian Universalist.

For two years, I’ve been attending a local UU church and playing in their orchestra. It’s been very rewarding. I maintained the whole time that I didn’t want to join the church. I didn’t want to add “I am a         ” to my identity; I didn’t want to be a member of something; I wanted to be as independent of religious establishments as possible. (I don’t really count UU as a religion, for a variety of reasons… but that’s a post for another day.)

This past Sunday was a service on creativity. Our orchestra and choir, combined with a guest choir and friends of the orchestra, performed Fauré’s Requiem. The church’s music director did all the speaking parts of the service. It was amazing. This service, however, is not why I joined. Why, then? Keep reading.

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Intentional Public Failure

(I wrote this post at the beginning of January and somehow never hit publish until now. Whoops!)

This past Sunday I went to a meetup of musicians who get together twice a month and sight-read classical music together. They meet in a café–where there are already people–and play music they’ve never seen before. Once I got there I realized that literally everyone else there had gone to college for music, and many of them made their livings as musicians. I was way out of my league. So, stepping outside my comfort zone, I picked a duet, and I and another clarinetist played it. We had to stop I think 5 times, and there was a brief passage we just had to skip because I couldn’t play it.

When we were done, everyone there clapped, quite sincerely. I didn’t look or really listen; I did not want to let the applause “in”. I did not want to own it, because I’d failed to perform the way I want to be seen performing. “How well,” I asked myself, “would you have to have played it before you’d let the applause in?” I started naming conditions, and interrupted–“And do you get that if you were so good that you could come in here and sight-read all this music perfectly, that the applause would be meaningless?”

Where the F*@& did this thought come from?!

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