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Word Count: 408
The last drop of sweat my body has to offer slowly falls from my forehead onto my two-year-old neatly pressed black concert dress In the first oboists chair I sit horn neatly propped in my lap as I wait for the conductor to walk onto stage My slightly trembling hands make physical the instinct to run hide offer some excuse and exit stage left My mind flashes to the earlier part of this day filled with practice and reed-making in preparation for the moments about to unfold Doubt worry and excitement occupy equal portions of my mind and the relief of focused thought comes only as the bright stage lights help bring me back to this moment I soar in oboe performance my favorite activity The daily grind of reed making and the pressures of performance practice and lessons sometimes overshadow the beautiful and miraculous thing that I do I make music Reed making is the craft that supports my music and practice the stone against which I hone my art This calling is my privilege It is my visceral link to both this moment and to my musical forebears the great masters of my art and that first thoughtful soul who blew through two blades of grass They are my ancestors and my foundation When I play my instrument I strengthen the link that extends back throughout history and provide yet another stepping stone for those to come The pleasures of performing come when a music lover smiles closes his eyes and nods his head to the beat If I can make one person happier with my music I have accomplished something great And at the end of a performance if there have been no squeaks no wrong notes or no missed cues I know my talents are improving Even with a few mistakes however I know I did my best at a hard job and I need only to work harder at developing
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