I couldn’t do it last term - I was terrified. The very idea of getting up in front of people I liked and respected and playing the piano poorly or missing notes or just sitting there, heart beating a million miles a minute, was all too much. Not something I was able to do.
But today I could. This morning E told me that suffering builds character, and Gracie told me that I’d be great, and I went to Prexy at something like eight-thirty in the morning to play my pieces over and over and over again. They weren’t even serious pieces - three little Bartók things, two duets and a kickass tiny gapped-scale imitative thing called Napkeleten. They were little but I got up in front of Bonnie and her three other students and played them. In front of people. People who were not me or my piano teacher, and that feels pretty great.
Yeah, that’s about it.
Anonymous said: something you only feel comfortable doing alone?
Really comfortable? Playing the piano. I’ve always hated recitals, and while my lessons are really good for me, they’re super stressful and I make more mistakes when I’m playing in front of my teacher than I ever did playing alone. I play in the danger room, but that’s mainly to get up my courage and I sit there and apologize. I play in front of my family, but my brother’s so much better at it than I am that it feels silly, like I am the inadequate elder sibling. I don’t even like playing when there are other people in Prexy. I used to play jazz in a group, and that was easier, because I wasn’t playing all by myself. I’m shit at soloing, though.
Ostensibly, I play the piano for my own edification. I like playing the piano, I find Chopin irresistible and Bartók sexy as hell. I enjoy the perfectionism of playing Bach and the facility of scales (once you’ve got them down, which I never do). I find that playing the piano makes me a better music major, a better composer, a better student in general. Playing the piano reminds me that it is possible to learn something that is hard, that being good at something takes time, that I can’t just cram it all in on a weekend afternoon and expect to be fine. Piano takes practice and commitment, and sometimes I don’t have enough, sometimes all my classes are a bit too much or I just want to sit and watch movies with my friends or drink tea or whatever. And I do that, and my playing suffers. I’ve barely played enough in the last week and a half, and I’m very aware that I’m going to get shit for it at 8:30 in the morning on Friday when I have my piano lesson.
But I have trouble playing in front of people. I get buzzing in my ears and my hands get sweaty and my vision blurs. I’m not terribly cut out for performing - I like being in chorus and collegium in part because it’s a group. I don’t like being singled out - I don’t like it when other people can hear my mistakes or see my fingers shake.
But it’s something I’m working on, and something I have to do.
Which reminds me, I should practice later.