I sang my first note into the microphone and, to my horror, the microphone wasn’t working.

I was in fourth grade, singing in front of a big audience for the first time. I had heard a month earlier that our school would be having a talent show. I had always liked singing, but until then had only sung in front of my friends and family.

At first I was unsure about entering the talent show. Fourth graders were the youngest students they would allow in the talent show, so I would be one of the youngest people in the show. I wasn’t very confident about my singing. My friends and family would tell me that they liked my voice, but I always thought they were just trying to be nice. I figured they were telling me that because I was just a little kid.

However, because I had been doing many dance recitals since the age of three, and because I loved the feeling of performing in front of audiences, I really wanted to enter the talent show.

Dancing was something that I felt confident doing though. I had been dancing my whole, life so every dance recital seemed so easy. I knew singing in front of an audience would be much different.

Eventually I worked up the courage to enter the talent show. After I picked the song, “ The Girl I Mean to Be”. I would practice it nonstop. I sang to anyone who would listen. I sang in the shower, in the car, in front of the mirror in my room. I sang everywhere.

Finally the day of the talent show arrived. It seemed like one of the longest days of my life. I was such a nervous wreck. Walking around my house like a zombie, I was thinking about all the things that could go wrong.

What if I forget my words? What if I freeze on stage because I’m so nervous? What if I trip and fall as I’m walking onto the stage? These were the thoughts that crossed my mind as I was waiting for the night of the talent show to arrive.

After that long day, finally there I was waiting backstage for my turn to go on, praying that I wouldn’t make a fool out of myself. I was growing more nervous by the minute. Then I heard it. “ And now here’s Alex singing “The Girl I Mean to Be” from The Secret Garden.”

I took a deep breath and walked slowly onto the stage.

Standing in front of the microphone, I waited for my music to begin. After the introduction, I began to sing. Right away, I realized that something was wrong. The microphone wasn’t working. I looked around at the audience, and I could tell they couldn’t hear me. I fumbled with the switch on the microphone, but it still didn’t work. I tried to sing louder, but I could tell by the look on the audiences’ faces that I wasn’t loud enough for them to hear me.

Girls who were working behind the scenes gathered by the sound board trying to figure out what was wrong with the microphone. I could see them flipping some switches. At my last verse, the microphone finally started working. I was so relieved. I sang with all the power I had, making the last part of song the best I could make it.

After I was done singing, the audience gave me a great round of applause. When I walked off the stage, my mom was there with a big smile on her face.

“ You were great, Alex,” she said. And for the first time, I believed her.

Singing in that talent show gave me a lot of confidence. Since then, I’ve been in many musicals and have been entered many more talent shows. I’m so glad that I had the courage to enter that first talent show. Though it didn’t go perfectly, it taught me that even if something doesn’t start off as I want it to, I can turn it around and end it with a smile.