Pendleton Law August 2019

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Following Your Dream How I Went From Pianist to Lawyer

Taking up summer jobs during the break is a great way to introduce kids to the workforce and help them make a little money, too. When I was growing up, I never had a real job like other kids working for retail stores or fast food joints; instead, I played the piano. From fifth grade until I graduated law school, I was the year- round accompanist for my church, not just over the summer break. My summers were usually filled playing for my church and competing in piano competitions every year. While I loved the competitions and performing, I was always very nervous every time I had to step out onto the stage. My nerves were so bad that I couldn’t even remember what I did. I came down from the stage as a blank slate. Everyone would always tell me afterward that I had done a great job, and they couldn’t tell that I was nervous, but I really had no idea what I was doing. Now, I assume I was only playing off muscle memory. Even though I’d been playing the piano for so long, I was never able to get rid of that mind- numbing stage fright. I can’t understand why I liked competing so much when, at the same time, I dreaded it. I loved performing far more than I did playing; I remember I felt so happy every time I walked off the stage for doing what I did, but, when I was on stage playing, I couldn’t let myself go and enjoy the moment. The odd part of it all was that I only felt that dread when I played for the competitions. When I played as an accompanist for church, I was always with other people and had no stage fright. I could play as an accompanist in my

Walking in his mother’s footsteps

sleep; it was so easy. There was something about being on stage playing solo, with everyone’s eyes on me, that I just couldn’t get over. Maybe part of me believed I wasn’t prepared enough. I knew people who would practice for eight hours a day, but I never did that. When I was a piano major in college, I realized I would never get through the stage fright I experienced every time I walked onto the stage. When you’re out there, you’re naked, completely by yourself , with no one next to you for support. I didn’t want to deal with that, and part of me didn’t think I could deal with it, which is why I chose to go into law instead. I wholeheartedly believe you should enjoy pursuing your dreams, and I don’t think I ever

truly enjoyed playing. Now I’m in law, and I absolutely love it.

My experiences in these competitions, thankfully, have helped me in court. Whenever I’m faced with going into court, I’m usually overly prepared. I’ve never suffered the same feeling of dread or stage fright in court as I did during my piano competitions. Going into court and ensuring our clients here at Pendleton Law are taken care of is a great experience, and I’m very happy I followed this dream.

-Christina Pendleton

“I can’t understand why I liked competing so much when, at the same time, I dreaded it.” | 1

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