Earlier this year, Mr K joined our orchestra. His playing is so naturally musically perfect, that more often than not, it will make your heart want to cry for reasons unexplainable. It has been at least four months since I first heard his playing, and I have not been able to shake off my envy, no matter how hard I try.
During the concert on the 21st, there was a short viola solo that I had to play. I wanted so badly to sound like Mr K, to receive the same showers of praise that he does. But no matter what I did during rehearsals, I never even got close. I started to feel as though I would let the orchestra down, and disappoint the audience to boot. I wished I didn't have to play that solo at all; only talents as natural as Mr K deserve to do it, right? I nearly reduced myself to tears over a 25-second passage.
Then came a turning point in my thought cycle, telling me that I was looking at it all wrong. After all, the conductor chose me to do it. If he didn't trust me enough, he would have switched me up a long time ago. I must not be as bad as I think I am.
Instead of trying to sound like Mr K, I tried to sound like the best version of myself. No longer did I seek praise or acceptance from others, but I aimed to please only myself. As long as I liked what I played, and it sounds right, that would be enough.
Of course in retrospect I can say I could have played it better, but what matters is that I felt extremely satisfied because even though I received no showers of praise, I know that I gave it my best.
Originally published 2016-08-30