I will never forget the first time I performed.
I was thirteen if I remember correctly. I was wearing a pink shirt and jeans and my mother’s perfume. We drove up on an old school in Patterson, Illinois and hopped out of my dad’s truck. I remember buying our tickets, passing the scent cloud of popcorn and chili as I walked into the old school gym. The basketball hoops were up and the nets swayed in the breeze of the four foot fans blowing air through the gym on that summer night.
At the time, I had no idea what an opry was, but my teacher had suggested that I perform there. Little did I know that I would fall in love for the first time that night.
I was shaking as I took the stage and grabbed ahold of the microphone, waiting for the band to start playing my song. Once I sang the first words of “Independence Day” by Martina McBride the rest just fell out of my mouth. I watched as my mom breathed a sigh of relief, my dad smiled, and my grandmother who always loved my music in a way I can’t understand even now, laid back in her chair as if she wasn’t surprised at all. In the blink of an eye, it was over and I was in love, not with the thrill of being on stage, but that moment. When I looked out to see my family and they were experiencing that moment with me. We were in it together.
It has been a little over ten years and a music degree since that day. I was just out at an open mic last weekend. I performed a few of my favorites for my family, which has now grown to include my husband. Even now I go back to that place. When I’m performing, I drop my titles. For three minutes I am not Alisabeth the music therapist, the teacher, the daughter, the wife; I am just me. And even better, that is when I get to share just me, with the world.
When people ask me “why music?”, the answer is simple:
Music is where I see myself. It is where I am safe, in love, happy, angry, sad, and everything in between. Music is where I see my grandmother who moved on years ago. Music is where I can be myself.
This is why I do what I do. I hope to share my music and myself with my clients and students to help them grow and learn. This is my story.