Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Lessons we learn as children are so sticky, they become entangled in our personal programming and almost forgotten until an event, gentle or dramatic, exposes them to memory once again. I spent 15 years playing violin in the DC Youth Orchestra. Its founder, my conductor, Lyn McLain (1928-2023) recently passed away and I couldn’t help but spend time remembering lessons he taught me about life through orchestra practice.

Here’s one: If you mess up, miss a note, in the middle of a song, keep playing. Don’t go back and try to replay it. The rest of the orchestra is already moving on and so must you. Find your place again and keep going.


Sometimes we forget to keep playing in our day to day, to keep moving forward. We find ourselves stuck, frozen in our thoughts or past as if we’ve pushed our own personal pause button. We’re sitting in the middle of life’s orchestra trying to perfect a past that has since moved on and blossomed into more. Push play, find your place, and really live in the beauty and magic of life’s orchestral oneness. Thanks, Mr. McLain.


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Maayan Zik, is an Orthodox Jewish Jamaican-American social activist. She has co-founded organizations such as Ker a Velt and Kamochah, which further her work in social justice and racial equity.