This past week I had a bit of a funky experience. For starters, my email updated and my brain has yet to adjust to the new layout. I think we all know the disoriented feeling I’m referring to right now. Funnily enough, though, that’s not the funky experience I think I should talk about (although if you have strong feelings about my email troubles feel free to engage in the comments).
Anyway, I digress.
This week I found myself in an unfortunate, albeit rare, situation. I play the bassoon in an orchestra, and one of the musicians sitting near me was continually making an error that was causing our conductor some distress- he was unable to pin down where the error was coming from.
Because I was sitting beside the musician in question, though, I was able to hear it.
Enter DILEMMA from stage left.
I’m sure you all know what I’m getting at here. Do I say something and ultimately regret it, or do I keep my mouth shut and ultimately regret it?
Enter BRAIN from stage right.
It’s honestly not much of a question for me. Keep my mouth shut, and ultimately regret it. It’s the tried and true tactic I’ve relied on for as long as I can remember, and for a very long time I didn’t question it; I assumed it was as tethered to my person as the anxiety that presupposes it.
Recently, though, with the help of a phenomenal psychologist employed at the Health and Wellness Centre, I’ve been learning that these qualities I assumed inherent are actually learned habits.
When I got home after rehearsal, instead of ruminating on how I didn’t say anything, I tried to explain to myself why my decision was okay- why either decision would have been okay.
If I had said something, everything would have been fine; we’re all musicians who attend orchestra to have fun, and if I were making a mistake I would want somebody to point it out to me. It isn’t a criticism, it’s a sign we all have each other’s best interests at heart. There would be no hatred for pointing out a wrong note, there would be gratefulness and humour- I myself find the environment of the orchestra to be friendly and warm, and safe.
That being said, even doing what I did and not saying anything was a fine decision, and one that is helping to teach me an important lesson. Even if I notice a wrong note being played, it’s not my job to fix it. In the amateur orchestra a wrong note is not a big deal, and if it’s not me playing the wrong note, it’s not something I need to feel perplexed about. I am one in a hundred musicians who meet every week to share a love of music. I am not responsible for anybody in that orchestra other than myself, and it is an act of self care to recognize this and allow myself to not get involved.
Now the question: how do I practice this everyday?
Perhaps first I need to learn to perceive when I can safely make either decision.