Perceptions: The solo
I was sitting in an orchestra with a french horn in my lap, counting rests, feeling the pressure mount. My big solo was coming up. In just a few moments, a hush would fall over the room and all eyes would be on me. I felt sweat dripping down my back.
The french horn is a treacherous instrument. But I had practiced my part for hours on end. Why was I worried? I could play it in my sleep. I had done my homework. Surely I would pass the test.
Suddenly, the moment was upon me. I put the horn to my lips.
I have never had an out-of-body experience but I imagine it must be something like what happened next. It was surreal. I was there but not there. I felt light-headed. But somehow all my practice kicked in and the notes came out in the right places.
The moment washed past me and was gone. I set my horn back on my lap and relaxed in my chair.
After the concert, I sought my family to fish for compliments. No one took the bait. Finally, in exasperation, I asked them bluntly: How did you like my solo? The response floored me. "What solo?"
"What solo?" My entire life had been about that solo! Western civilization hinged on that solo! The sun rose and set to that solo!
My bruised ego took time to heal, but finally I realized what had happened. I had lost perspective. They had come to hear a symphony orchestra, not to watch an episode of the Maury show. There never was a solo. There was only a voice in a choir.
I no longer play in an orchestra but I still find myself obsessed with the solo, forgetting that there never is a solo, that all human endeavor is symphonic.