Today is the spring recital for the voice studio where I take lessons. My teacher, Amanda Munton, is a great teacher, and that is one of the reasons why her recitals are always so hard for me. I don't want to let her down. I sing and play music a lot, but these recitals are the most challenging performances I do. Trying to figure out exactly why they are so hard, (last night while I was staring at the sealing trying to go to sleep) my thoughts turned to my favorite question, “In order to achieve what?”

My angst about these recitals is linked to something I stand for, something that matters to me. Not wanting to screw up is part of it, but I pushed myself to get back to the reason why I perform in the first place. One of my rules about the “in order to achieve what” question is that the answer has to be something that is in my control. So, what am I trying to achieve? It's not just getting the song right. If that was all it was, I could just choose and easy song. But I wanted to do this song. Why this song? Because it is about hope and possibilities.

And so the answer to the question is, “To sing this song.” That's all. It's not about getting the song right. It's about the song. I need to pay attention to the song, not my singing. Whether anyone else does isn't in my control. Nor is whether I let Amanda down. These thoughts will help me stay in what I'm doing in the moment; singing the song, not what might happen; screwing up the notes. That way I make it more likely that I will achieve what I set out to in the first place. Come to think of it, that's all Amanda would want me to do anyway.