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The F Word

I have done a bunch of things in my life that I feel that I did without fear, things that others worry a lot about. These are things like take the SAT and the GRE, make presentations, get married, and even play gigs. In fact, I was so calm and happy that I actually enjoyed these things.

If it were up to me (and I know it is), this is the way I would do everything. Unlike some performers, I do not get off on those nerves. I’m not crazy about being uncomfortable before a performance, having nerves, jitters, or whatever else it may be. I would much rather be calm, relaxed, and enjoy it.

However, there are and there have been situations where I could probably be described as pretty terrified. In fact, there have been several cases where I outright choked. It’s really aggravating. Suddenly, something comes up and I guess I’m totally unsure how to deal with it. It is hard to describe what is going on in my head because there is so much that it is a jumble.

I did not realize the level of this problem until recently, and when I did, I realized how how much this problem permeates nearly everything I do in regards to music. It is what keeps me from playing something for people when they say, “go ahead and try my piano,” it is what screws me up when I blow a part at an audition or rehearsal and I need to fix it right then, it even affects my practicing. I am sure that there are things I do not practice when Lori is home because of it (which is really stupid because she’s always supportive and as a musician herself, she knows what it takes to practice and how bad it can sound before it gets good). Even when she is not home, I am sure there are times where I think of the ‘next’ thing I need to work on, and I suddenly decide to take a break from practicing, find something else to do, and avoid it.

I think the practice cases are manageable, but I wonder about the “performance” cases. I really do not have the slightest idea how to stop the jumble in my head when I suddenly encounter a new unknown situation. Obviously, the better I can play, the less those situations should crop up, but will my confidence build along with that, or will I continue to choke?

As I have written previously, I am trying to not worry about the future. What I am trying to do is figure out how to solve this problem so I don’t get caught out by it again. It is hard though, because I do not usually realize it is happening until it is over. I am thinking right now that the answer may be in the “detachment” that I wrote about previously.

P.S. The above post is a complete rewrite of the post I promised back in July about the issue I discovered about myself. So you finally got to find out what I was talking about.

Posted 2011 10 10 at 9:00 AM

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