Contest.

Last Saturday was district music contest. Yes, I heard the collective gasp of those of you who’ve experienced the singular nerve-wracking sensation of taking a solo to contest and standing there shaking so badly in front of the judge you can’t play or sing nearly as well as you usually do, and you just know, know, know you blew it. I see you, out there, remembering how you agonized over and micro-analyzed your position in the performances. “Is the judge friendly? Is she saving her good ratings to disperse through the day? Is it better to go in the beginning of the day or end? Is the person before me an amazing player who is going to make me look crappy? Is the person behind me an amazing player who is going to make me look crappy?”

Yeah, good times.

I can think of at least two horror stories from my days of taking solos to contest – one my freshman year and one my senior year. I don’t know why I kept doing it, and looking back I realized I must have really loved it to put myself through that kind of torture each and every year. Or maybe I just thought it was expected. Who knows?

Well, I’ve successfully passed that freaked-out feeling along to the next generation. This year Laurel took her first violin solo to contest as a middle-schooler (my school didn’t participate until high school). She worked hard (even if I had to nag), memorized it, rolled her eyes when I told her to exaggerate her dynamics, rolled her eyes when I said “See-I-told-you-so-your-mom-knows-a-little-something-about-music” when her teacher told her to exaggerate her dynamics, rolled her eyes when I said “Stop-giving-me-dirty-looks-when-I-tell-you-something-needs-to-improve-because-I-know-what-the-judge-is-looking-for-and-if-you-don’t-want-my-help-then-fine,” went for a walk when waiting for results to try to walk off her shaky nerves…

…and then got a “I” rating.

Congratulations, kid! Good job. Your hard work pulled through…and maybe, just maybe I passed a little of that along, too. 

She tells us she is going to repeat this agony again next year. Can’t wait.