I bit the bullet

I almost chickened out. The next recital at my friend Jenny Conlee's place is next week. I've known it since last September and I've been playing around with a little piece and fantasizing about performing it. In January she invited me to play, shock shock horror horror. I agreed. Well, naturally I barely touched the piece again after accepting the invitation. Finally, last week I sent her an email telling her I'd positively wasted my whole month working on other things (wasted!) and that I wasn't prepared. I'd have to prepare something for next time. She replied with an invitation to just come and listen, which I accepted. But after I shut down the Mail program, I felt a tightening fist in my stomach. Fear was the only reason I hadn't prepared. I was a victim of pure performance anxiety in it's ugliest form. Oh, I've been busy, to be sure; but behind the bustle was that unmistakable rumbling in my tummy, that fear of getting up in front of people and playing solo piano. It's haunted me my whole life. Even at my recital last year I couldn't overcome it. Now it bit me again.

Last night, though, I sat down at my piano, having put away the night's work on Parks & Recreation orchestral music, and plinked through the little piece I've been flirting with. It's called In Evening Air, and it's by Aaron Copland. Now, it isn't a virtuoso piece, but it's really simple, and beautiful. And when I pecked through it, I found I could get through most of it pretty easily. Some of it was difficult, but I figured I could get it under my fingers in a week. It's a few pages long, and the last page is tough, but I think I can do it. So, with the proverbial bullet clenched firmly in my teeth, I sent Jenny another email telling her I'd changed my mind. Now there's nothing I can do but play.

Of course, the fist in my belly is tightening again, but this time I'm going to ignore it. I know how to practice a piano piece. Even if I mess up I'll be among friends, right? I mean, this won't be anything compared to playing a half-hour's worth of music with my professors staring at me, will it? In the end I'm going to just try to have fun. I really love the piece. I've been listening to it over and over again all day. I never get tired of it. That's nothing to fear, is it? Is it?