This I Believe

Helen - Manassas, Virginia
Entered on May 22, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in the art of improvisation.

It’s the making of something new out of the old that holds the world together; it’s the art of taking something normal and making it into something extraordinary. The art of improvisation means the ability and desire to take spontaneous risks, letting caution to the wind. To improvise is to be unscripted.

I’m not spontaneous. I don’t take risks, I’m not in the habit of letting my life run unscripted. That’s not me, which seems very silly, if I truly do believe in the art of improvisation. I believe in it because it works with what it has. It’s very idealistic in a completely realistic way.

The art of improvisation is feature prominently in music, especially my greatest passion: jazz. Most jazz is created right on the spot, from the feelings harbored within the musicians; if anything, jazz, as well as the art of improvisation, comes from the heart.

Therefore, the most important improvisations, at least to me, exist within the music. I remember the fear I felt standing on the stage, for the first time, under the lights, with just my dad’s guitar playing and my vocals. That day required me to have more strength than I knew I ever had; it tested the limits of my ability to go with the flow. They will tell you that if the moment you mess up you must go on. They will tell you that no one notices the mistakes except you.

Try remembering that when a crowd of eyes are staring at you.

What I did remember, though, was that no matter what is thrown my way there is always a way to make it useful. So I improvised. I took what I had and I twisted it to make it fit. I used my mistakes to create my own style, my own signature if you will. The art of improvisation can do that – it’s created the way I carry myself and the way people see me.

I’ve used what I was given, and I’ve made day. Some would say that’s enough; others would say there should be more. In any case, I still believe wholeheartedly that whatever happens, there is always a way to change it and to make it better.

I believe in the art of improvisation.