That’s All that Matters

 The Primary chorister asked me to do a little musical number for singing time in church this week, so I decided to pull out my clarinet. I hoped that the novelty of the instrument would intrigue them enough so they wouldn’t fixate on how good I actually sound. I’m a bit self-conscious.
Playing my clarinet tends to make me a little nostalgic. It’s been such a big part of my life for the past 11–12 years of my life, and pulling it out feels like saying hello to an old friend.
Today, as I sat on the bench waiting for my turn and focusing on keeping my reed wet, I thought back to the musical competitions I did in middle school and high school. Those were nerve-wracking days spent in fear that my reed would break at the last second or my fingers would fumble on the notes I’ve spent months practicing. My performances were usually reasonably good, but I have a problem with always wanting perfection, a desire which often left me disappointed.
After one of these performances in middle school, I ran into my future high school band director, Dr. Bluford, in the hallway, and she asked me how I did. I began to grimace, regrettably remembering a missed Bb, when she stopped me. She asked me seriously, “Did you do your best?” I thought about it for a second, and responded, “Yes, I think I did.” She smiled at me and said, “Then that’s all that matters.”
It’s funny how vivid that memory came to me today while I waited to play my song. The memory seemed to be exactly what I needed in a time where it feels like so many things are out of my control and the future seems so far away.
I need to remember this when I find out the Associate Dean’s decision about counting my internship credits for graduation.  
Rachel, did you do your best? Then that’s all that matters.
I need to remember this when I feel upset about paying for damages from my car accident last week.
Rachel, did you do your best? Then that’s all that matters.
It’s hard for me to admit that I can’t control everything in my life, and that there will be events and outcomes that I can’t foresee and ones that I couldn’t plan for. That’s the beauty of of my time spent playing music. It didn’t just teach me how to have a good embouchure or how to identify a key signature. Music taught me to try and do my best, no matter the outcome, failure or success. After a really hard week, I needed to remember what really matters.

2 thoughts on “That’s All that Matters”

  1. Theresa says:

    Sorry you had a bad week. We could do an Emma Skype date if it will help :). Hang in there!

  2. Rachel Taylor says:

    Things are getting better! Thanks Theresa! We should schedule a Skype date for when you’re a little less busy with a newborn! I’d love to see you! (And Emma!)

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