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Ego Strength

294. Ego Strength

When I was in the Masters program at New York University in music therapy, each semester I was required to be a part of a music therapy group. Peter Jampel was the music therapist for my group. The only homework was to keep a log and turn it in each week, and receive back the log you had turned in the week before with Peter’s comments.

One week in connection with something that had happened in group, I wrote out in my log the story of being taken to the Indianapolis Symphony when I was ten or eleven by my mother. Fabian Sevitsky was the conductor. I loved the concert and was enjoying the last piece, when a woman got up and started to quietly leave. Sevitsky rapped with his baton on his music stand and the orchestra stopped. So did the woman. Sevitsky turned to face her and said with his heavy accent, “You do not leave when Sevitsky is conducting.” She slid into a seat and sat down. He turned to face the orchestra again, and they resumed playing to the end of the piece.

I turned my log in with that story. The next week as I turned in another log, I received the one back with the Sevitsky story. I was always eager to read Peter’s written comments. I was walking along the street reading, and beside that story he had written, “If she had had more ego strength she would have just kept walking.” I almost shouted out loud. I did raise my fist and said “YES!”

It had never, ever occurred to me that she could have done that. Whether it’s polite to leave a concert early was not the point on that evening near the University. It just was somehow exciting to me that she could have kept walking!

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