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My dad parked the car in the parking lot of the performing arts center. I hopped out of the car. It wasn’t the first time I had been there. My family often came here to listen to concerts. But this time, something was different. I wasn’t here to listen. I was here to play. I grabbed my violin and followed my parents to the staircase. I was excited. I had been aspiring to get into orchestra almost ever since I started the violin. What could be more exciting than actually being there? I was also nervous. I knew that orchestra wouldn’t be easy. Was I ready? It was my first time going to the youth orchestra, and I had no idea what to expect. We walked up the stairs to the orchestra rehearsal room. I entered the huge room. The other kids stood at the edges opening cases. In the middle of the room, the chairs and music stands were set up and ready for the rehearsal. The conductor told us that our folders were on our stands. I quickly found mine and sat down. Next to the folder were four songs that we would be playing. I glanced at them. I was curious what they would be. One of them had sixty fourth notes. One of them went all the way into eighth position. All of them would go fast. None of them were easy. I sighed. I had known it would be hard. I hadn’t expected it to be this challenging, but it was fine. I would have plenty of time to learn the songs. At least I hoped so. The conductor came to the front of the room. He welcomed us to the orchestra and gave us information. Then, we started playing. We started sight reading the first piece. My stand partner’s fingers easily moved along the fingerboard of her violin. But I was lost. Still, I tried my best and was able to play some of the easiest sections of the music. I would have to practice the complicated sections a lot at home. I was sure that eventually I’d be able to do it. I’d be ready for the concert in January. Practice makes perfect, right?

In the next few weeks, we got even more music. Then, the conductor announced that in three weeks, on October 27, we would have an extra concert with a university orchestra. We were going to play three songs there. One piece went into high positions, it had fast parts, and the whole thing went at lightening speed. It was the hardest piece we had gotten so far, and we didn't have long to learn it. Preparing for the concert was terrifying. Before I had auditioned to get into the orchestra, my teacher had told me that she wasn’t sure if I was ready. “You’re on the fence.” She told me. But I had been determined to get in. I longed to be part of the orchestra. And when I auditioned, I got in. Still, I wondered if maybe I hadn’t been ready. Maybe orchestra was too hard for me. As the concert got closer, I got even more nervous. I tried to practice the pieces. But although practice makes perfect, I wasn’t sure I could do it in the time I had. Just getting them to a level where I could play most of the notes at the tempo was challenging enough without worrying about dynamics or tuning. It felt like no time before October 27.

My dad parked the car in the parking lot of the performing arts center. I hopped out of the car. I grabbed my violin and headed to the door. I was both nervous and excited. Inside, I met many of my friends that are also in orchestra. We talked and laughed as we headed to the practice room. 3 hours later, we sat down in the seats of the auditorium ready to watch the first half of the concert before playing the second half. While the players tuned, we laughed at the typos in the program. Then we listened to the music that was played. It was as enchanting as a witch’s spell. After the songs ended, there was a costume parade since it was right before Halloween. My friends and I whispered about our favorite costumes. My favorite was the peacock. Finally, it was our turn. We got our instruments and took our places on the stage. Then the second half of the concert began. I lifted my violin. The first note sounded loud and clear and the magnificent piece began. I didn’t play perfectly. But, I also didn’t play terribly. When we left, I was grinning from ear to ear. It was a day filled with lots of excitement and fun.

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