Two weeks ago, Jared was selected to play in the state-level solo and ensemble competition. He advanced to state by receiving a "1" on his region-level competition. The song he was working on was the first two movements of a Vivaldi piece: I was his accompanist and so we had rehearsed together many times. He had this song DOWN! He could play it very movingly and with great attention to dynamics, vibrato, etc.
On the day we went to play at the state competition, as he was tuning his cello, his a-string slipped and almost came loose. To tighten it back up, he had to keep cranking and cranking the tuning peg--practically breaking it off! It took about 3 minutes, during which time the judge kept saying, "You're still flat... You're still flat..." The clock was ticking, and other contestants were watching. It was very intense. By the time Jared got it tuned, he had started to sweat, and had to remove his tux jacket. I could tell he was completely discombobulated by the whole thing--it doesn't take much to throw your concentration and mental state off.
He did NOT play well. It was so disappointing! He hit the first note wrong--which he has NEVER done--and his playing was hesitant and cautious. He felt really bad and embarrassed. I tried to buoy him up as much as possible, but I had to admit that it didn't sound nearly as good as it could. Last week he got his score back, and it was a "1-", which I thought was very charitable on the part of the judge. The score made him feel a little bit better, but he did not qualify to go on to the higher level competition, and he still felt bad about it.