I Choked

When is it that you just throw in the towel, admit defeat, decide that you truly suck at something?  A lot of cliche’s, they best describe how I’m feeling about my piano.

Every month I get together with some women, who could care less how I play, it’s just that I’d like them to not have to suffer through my piece either.  They’re really good, I won’t go unless I’ve had sufficient time to practice.  I can sight read, it’s not fluent like they’re able to do.  There’s no way I could just pick a piece of music up and play it in front of people.  The hardest part for me is to play in front of people, the first time I did it my fingers were shaking.

It just reminds me of my extreme stage fright as a kid and somehow powering through a recital.  My other stage fright was choir, I worked so hard one time to get the solo then choked during it.  It’s not just a matter of stage fright, no matter how much I practice someone else enters my body to render me frozen with a blank mind.  Even surfing, once that camera is on I can barely stand up!  The girls who run the camps told me that happens with the pro’s too during competition.  Some people come alive in the spotlight, I freak out.  Probably why I’m such a good friend to people who demand a spotlight?

My piece yesterday was Jazzy Jingle Bells, more advanced than my actual ability piece.  My new piano teacher thought I could pull it off.  I’ve been working on it all month, practicing every day.  Then when I played it in front of the group yesterday I really struggled.  At one point I almost got up and quit right there, the paper I printed out for the first page fell off the gorgeous Steinway (a piano made for a better player than I).  I sat down afterward to dig into the cookies.  I never eat the snacks before I play to avoid crumbs on the keys.

Afterwards we all chat about music, or anything that comes to mind.  The subject of how she got the Steinway grand came up.  Her husband’s friend is a Dr. who at one point decided to take up piano, bought the best, then got too frustrated and wanted to sell it.  Somehow that story made me feel a little better, the cookies didn’t hurt either.

Since I’ve experienced choking quite a few times in my life at this point, I’ve come to a few personal conclusions about it.

  1. No one cares
  2. Pick something that’s within my ability
  3. Give up on my dreams of being a senior rock star
  4. Keep playing, it’s supposed to be “fun.”

I tried to look up a youtube on someone playing this with no luck.  For copyright purposes, I can’t even put my pdf up of what I ordered.  The link to the sheet music site is here.  What I chose was the advanced version, part of my frustration even if I was playing it semi-decent at home.

My competitiveness is waning, the old Heller would just get pissed and become better.  This new version is ready to sell my piano.  Ahhh, but it’s raining and the only thing to do at home is either clean, play, or write?

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