Somewhere along the way I’ve completely lost my nerve when it comes to playing the piano in public.
I am mostly out of the practice of it and anxiety feeds upon itself, but rather than hold myself responsible, I prefer to blame a record given to me as a child. On one side an innocuous and charming story involving a train, on the other, the terrifying ‘Sparky and his Magic Piano’. In this judgement error of audio production for young musicians, Sparky’s Piano enabled him magically to ‘play anything you ask me to play. (sing song lyric) ..for now (ominously). Of course Sparky relied on this and found himself being humiliated on stage in front of an audience when the ‘magic’ suddenly ended. I’m not sure whether the moral of the story was ‘if you don’t practice you will be damned’ but to this day I still find it disturbing.
Travelling in New Zealand I took a day trip out from Auckland to Waiheke, a small island a short ferry ride from the city known for its food, wine and natural beauty. While there I stumbled upon Whittaker’s Music Museum, a wonderful place reflecting a profound love of music and the sharing of it with others and where you are encouraged to touch and play the old instruments.
I felt shy and awkward but there were not many people around. I found a piece of sheet music and played, my fingers nervously finding the keys. It was a thin edge into debilitating stage fright but at least I did it.