Monday, April 18, 2011

love what she sees

I know how to play the piano. I do not know how to play the piano in front of people. And to me, they are two very different things. In the fifth grade, I practiced Deck the Halls for two months before the Christmas recital. I could play it at three times the recommended speed and with all the drama of Beethoven's seventh. But only alone in the practice room. On stage in front of fifty spectators (all parents), I froze. My fingers wouldn't move and my eyes filled with tears. I stumbled through what maybe sounded something like a dying cow, and hurried off the stage.

Fifteen years later, nothing has changed. Yesterday I was the pianist for church at the Provo Care Center. It was the furthest thing from an intimidating audience imaginable. Yet I felt as though I were in front of a packed Carnegie Hall, and wildly unprepared. I played an old standard for the opening hymn, and made only a few errors. But then the Sacrament hymn. Oh, the Sacrament hymn. I decided to play it safe and play only the top hand. Turns out playing it safe would have meant not playing. The first verse was ok, but then I realized there was no way I could make it through the following two verses without messing up, and immediately messed up. I forgot the key signature. I forgot where my fingers were supposed to hit. I forgot I had a brain. And though I didn't cry, I did turn red, and I did sweat, and I did just stop playing. But not before once again reenacting a dying farm animal.
One more career crossed off the list of future career paths.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh. I feel your pain. I know exactly how you feel. I'm the same way. My nephew asked me to play to accompany his musical number at his baptism. A simple Primary song. I practice. And though I could play it perfectly in private I slaughtered it at the baptism. It was SO embarrassing. Poor kid. I probably ruined his baptism.

    Oh well.


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