“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Funny, but true? Public speaking is tough because it exposes you to ridicule. I’m not a really verbose person and don’t currently speak in public very often, but music is how I try and say what I need to. I think composing and performing comes with many of the same difficulties as public speaking. Your ideas are scrutinized, and yes, people are judging you… or is that just in my head? Admittedly, having a 6-foot long piano to hide behind is some comfort!
This is why surrounding yourself with people who will cheer you on is so important. They help drown out the negative voices we all hear in our heads from time to time. And that can make all the difference. For example, my wife is my #1 encourager. (She helps lots of other people with this too… one of her many great qualities.) I’m also blessed with a supportive family, and friends and colleagues. (A special shout out to my hotel friends, too. You guys rock!)
And don’t forget about the wider community. This week I say farewell to another year as accompanist and composer for Lambrick Park Church Choir. On Easter Sunday we performed my Laudate Dominum in two services. This is the second year we sang this piece, and it was just as exciting this time around! The photo above shows my binder of choir music, complete with name tags from the first weeks of rehearsal dating back at least two seasons. What a great physical reminder of the supportive group of people that make up Lambrick and its choir. It’s a joy to work with them.
Unveiling something creative can be terrifying, or at least uncomfortable. It’s the moment that your toil is held up from all sides for inspection. Some may love it, some may hate it. C’est la vie. But chances are, you’re surrounded by people who are ready to cheer you on.
What do you have that reminds you of your support network?