Listen and read-along with this awesome story by, Candice Marley Conner.
Mara clutched her violin case. She’d practiced for months and now the day of her first violin recital had finally arrived.
She smoothed her fancy dress, then gave it a twirl. The layers poofed out like a cloud and made her feel a little better. But when she stopped and the layers settled, that funny feeling fluttered right back in her stomach.
“May I go outside to practice warm-ups one last time?” Mara asked her mom. Maybe one last practice would do the trick.
Mom chased Mara’s little brother, trying to get him dressed. At the moment, he wore his socks on his hands and his pants on his head.
“Sure, Sweetie,” Mom said.
In the backyard, a breeze sent over the sweet smell of lemon tree blossoms. The flutters in Mara’s stomach weren’t so twisty now.
But as soon as the breeze died down, they came right back.
Mara took a deep breath and opened her case. She loved how smooth her violin was, how the bow swept and dipped. Any sound could come out of those strings! Mara hoped it would be more song than screech. More warble than wobble.
That twisty feeling tightened.
She adjusted her fingers on the bow like her teacher taught her. Straightened her shoulders. Lowered her chin on the violin’s chin rest. And drew the bow across the strings.
She began her practice warm-ups. The strings sang.
Mara’s fingers slipped and skidded. “I can’t do that at the recital!”
Her tummy flip-flopped.
She tried again.
Better, but she wanted it perfect. She adjusted the violin on her shoulder. She put her bow on the D string.
Drink your teeeea!
Mara lowered her violin. Who said that? She listened, but didn’t hear anything else. She drew her bow again, this time on the E string.
Drink your teeea.
A flutter of wings drew her attention. A bird! Its black head bobbed at Mara as if to encourage her to keep practicing.
Mara tried a different practice warm-up stroke.
Sweet, sweet, I’m so very sweet! a different bird sang to her. This one had yellow feathers with a little bit of black on the wings.
Mara beamed. She put the bow on the A string.
A vibrant indigo bird with a dark blue head chirped.
Mara laughed and played as the birds sang along with her…Fire! Fire! Where? Where?
Mom came outside. “You sound wonderful, Mara. It’s time to go. Are you ready?”
With her feathered friends cheering her on, that flip-floppy feeling in her tummy disappeared for good!
Mara nodded. She was ready for her recital.
Give this story some applause – click to add your claps!
Author Note: Mnemonics is a memory aid that helps people memorize and learn all sorts of things, even violin practice strokes and bird calls. Drink your teeea is the Eastern Towhee. Sweet, sweet, I’m so very sweet is the Yellow Warbler. Fire! Fire! Where? Where? are the sounds an Indigo Bunting makes. What bird sounds can you hear in your backyard?
About the Author
Candice Marley Conner is the kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookshop and a Local Liaison for SCBWI. She is not yet proficient at playing the violin, but loves listening to her daughter practice. Her picture books, Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tail and Chompsey Chomps Books, are forthcoming from MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing, and her debut YA, The Existence of Bea Pearl, releases in 2021 with Owl Hollow Press. You can find her poetry and short stories in Highlights Hello and Babybug Magazine, and in collections such as Cabinet of Curiosities, Mardi Gras Pieces, Under the Full Moon’s Light, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
She loves connecting with other readers and writers, so be sure to visit her website at www.candicemarleyconner.com.