When I was in the second grade back at Sugnet Elementary School in Midland, Michigan, a wonderful thing happened to me! I had the Seashore Music Test administered to me by Miss Berry, the cateye-glasses-wearing lady who was our school music teacher. Do any of you remember the Seashore Music Test…?
As I recall, a machine played a series of musical tones, and you had to repeat them back, humming or singing. Well, according to what Miss Berry told my parents, I was a musical genius! I had such an ear as she had never before witnessed, blah, blah, blah, and on-and-on. So I DID spend a great deal of my formative years pursuing music lessons on various types of instruments (piano lessons, voice lessons, violin lessons), played in the school orchestra and sang in the school choir and enjoyed a moderate degree of success in music contests over the years at the local, regional (and in ONE case, even at the national) level.
But as I found out when I left my relatively small home town and went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to pursue music at a higher level, I was really just a big fish in a small pond. I found that I wasn’t all that much more talented than many of the other students enrolled in U of M’s music program. The other thing I lacked, which turned out to probably be more important than talent, was drive. I lacked the drive to really make music as a career happen. This has turned out to be a, ahem, “driving” force in MANY areas of my life. I lack the drive to really go places, make a name for myself, be what others might consider to be a success.
At THIS point, looking back over the first and second halves of my life, I have discovered that I am OK with this. I now realize that the fact that I am not famous or well known for some great talent or other does not make me any less fulfilled, any less important of a person to those to whom I WANT to be important, those that I love and care about. And, if nothing else, music lessons and all the musical activities I engaged in, instilled in me a great and abiding love of music and involvement in music.
So now that I am in the third half of my life, and am recreating myself, so to speak…I find that great love of music bubbling to the surface and I finally have the time to indulge it again, like I could when I was young and single, and didn’t have bills to pay and kids to raise. After 30 years of not touching the violin, I picked it back up again a few years ago. I was surprised at how quickly it came back to me. I have played around with it at home, and finally, having missed playing in an orchestra, began to investigate local opportunities to do so.
I am proud to report that last night, despite my nervousness, I auditioned for a local, all-volunteer orchestra which puts on a few concerts a year, and was accepted into the 2nd violin section. At the rehearsal which followed my audition, I could barely keep up with the other players, but I couldn’t stop smiling!
A couple of weeks ago, I also passed a singing audition for a local community chorale which I sang in years ago when my girls were very little.
I still don’t have a job, and I don’t know if I will find one, but we have a new house to remodel/redecorate, I am filling my free time with activities I enjoy, and am returning to one of my first loves! Maybe this half of my life will turn out to the be best one of all!