Sing, move arm, self learn

This past week, I had the honor of directing some of the music at a church service in DC. We call the role "Cantor," though it's not a Jewish service, and I was more nervous than I expected before and during the ceremony, which was mostly spent in song.

Nerves when performing in front of large groups aren't new for me (though I've grown a lot in this area since college); the strange part was that I had to feara or qualms about any of the singing - instead, it was the direction that distracted me. I was constantly monitoring if we were too fast, too slow, or having other issues, all while trying to figure out the appropriate moment to cut off the songs.

That experience, and others in DC, have helped me realize that I don't enjoy leading big group events unless there's a structure that I can create or enforce. That doesn't mean that structure is appropriate - it's just what makes me comfortable.

The lesson I take from this (knowing that more experience would make me much more comfortable) is that I am happiest when I can participate, support, and intervene vs lead. Staying the background lets me embrace my desire to analyze and observe without being so concerned about how people are perceiving my actions.

Experiences like this also make me appreciate the skill of being able to comfortably MC and corral a crowd. We collectively need people who can do this to guide us through the group experiences that bind us together more effectively than any blog or electronic communication. Those in center stage, in being themselves, display something we can identify with, and build a shared identity that maintains ua through trying times.