My Thoughts While Performing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I walk across the stage with my violin clutched to my chest toward the big box I have to stand on because I'm so short. I'm so scared that I feel like I'm going to trip over my fancy dress even though it barely reaches my ankle. I can hardly walk; I feel like a one-year-old learning to take my first steps! The sound of everyone clapping hits my eardrums hard enough to make me feel like I'm going to fall over. How can a room full of people clap so loudly? It's not really a room though, it's this humongous hall filled with heads that fade away toward the back. I feel scared, I want someone to hold my hand and do this for me. What if I screw up? I know I'm gonna screw up. Yep, there's no doubt about it, I'm gonna screw up!

I was really excited to be invited to play with this orchestra in Japan as part of an International Conference for the Suzuki program. I remember my mommy made me feel special. "You're nine years old and they've asked you to come play with them." I knew there was also a cellist younger than me playing, so I figured his mommy made him feel even more special since he was the youngest. My mommy also told me that if I played with less than four little mistakes that she and Daddy would buy me this doll that can drink from a bottle!

The orchestra people are clapping, too, and smiling at me like fools. I planned on performing a movement from a concerto with this orchestra but I don't know if I can do it. I just need to focus. If I can do that then I will get that doll! Everything looks bigger than I thought it would be. I see rows and rows and rows of people all foolishly smiling like the orchestra players. I feel like a tiny person in a giant's world and I'm even standing on one of those boxes for short people!

I have nothing to worry about. No, there's everything to worry about! If this doesn't go well, I won't get that doll. Oh no, the music is starting. I can feel the mistakes getting ready to make their entrances. What should I do? It's almost time for me to start. Think positively. I want that doll! I can do this. I know I can I can I can I know I can I can. My next door neighbor taught me that. She's in high school so I know that what she says is right because she's almost grown up!

Okay, here it goes ... hmmm ... my fingers seem to be working but they're cold. I really must be scared. I can't wait for this to end. All right, I've passed one page. Six more pages to go. Oh no! I just made a mistake. What do you know! I knew I was gonna screw up and I just did. Great. What if I don't get that doll? I'm going to be sad. My knees are starting to go nuts. I'm panicking. I just want to go home and go to sleep. I feel like I'm getting smaller. No, this hall is definitely getting bigger. Stop growing!

Three more pages to go. I'm half done. I've only screwed up once so far. That's good. Mommy and Daddy will be happy. They'll be proud. Oh, no! Oh no, oh no, oh no! I made another mistake. I'm going to cry. What is this? Can't a girl play without any mistakes? I don't like the person who invented mistakes. I wish I could rewind time. People are going to think I never practice. Okay, time to focus. Stop thinking about other things. Just think, "I'm gonna get the doll, I'm gonna get the doll!" Only one more page to go and then I get to take my bows. Taking bows are really cool. I get to see all the people smile like fools again!

The last part of this movement is really fun because it's the cadenza and I play all by myself without the orchestra. The good thing about cadenzas is that if I make a mistake, I can make things up and Mommy might not notice. The cadenza is filled with tons of stuff that makes people think it's hard to play but after you learn how to do it, it's fun and easy. I'm almost done. I can't wait. La di da di da.

Yeah! I just finished my last chord and now I'm waiting for the orchestra to finish. I made it with only two itty-bitty mistakes! I feel good even though I'm still shaking. Hurry up people! I'm happy now. All that is left for me to do is smile like everyone else, take as many bows as possible, and think about a name to give my dolly! I think I'll name it Mary. No, I think I'll name it Jane. I like both of those names though. I know! I'll name it Mary Jane!

The orchestra's done! Wow! I forgot how loudly people can clap! It almost gave me a heart attack. Everybody's doing their smiling thing again. I'm not so scared anymore because I'm finished! I feel like I'm in Happyland and my face is going to crack if I keep smiling like this. Maybe I can do this again sometime. Next time I'll try asking for a puppy. It was scary but it was fun! c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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