Learning Confidence…and Getting Paid For It

May 15, 2024

By Anne Sullivan 

It was a beautiful spring evening and I was seated at my harp on the lawn at a lovely and very large home. The party was in honor of some visiting Japanese businessmen and I was to play for the cocktail hour. I was wearing a lovely long dress and although I knew I looked the part, I wasn’t feeling much like a professional harpist. That wasn’t really a surprise; I was only twelve years old.

The playing was going well, and I enjoyed watching the guests have a good time out of the corner of my eye while I played. But then, some of the guests came up to me and asked me if I knew the Japanese national anthem. I hadn’t a clue. So they proceeded to teach me the anthem, note by note. I was a little flustered but kept up the best I could. Fortunately, they thought it was very funny. 

This was my first paying gig - I made a hundred dollars - and it taught me a number of lessons. Perhaps the most important one was that you can’t predict everything that could happen when you perform and so there are things that may happen that you won’t be at all prepared for. When that happens, you need to be able to summon up your poise and your confidence and meet the situation with courage, humor and an open heart.

You will play many places in your life and encounter situations which you can’t even begin to imagine. You can choose to let them worry or frustrate you. Or you can choose to enjoy them. You can guess which one I recommend!


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