Performance anxiety

All month there have been upright pianos sitting out in public spaces around New York City. They do this every year, but this was the first year that I got myself together enough to track one down and play it.

When I sat down at one for the first time I was very nervous. I hadn’t anticipated being nervous. But I guess this was the first time in a long time that I was playing in front of strangers and there were a lot of them. People at the little tables in the plaza, and eating outside at a nearby restaurant, and walking by on the sidewalk and even stopping sometime to listen to me (!) Whenever I noticed someone had stopped to listen I usually messed up right then and there.

Despite my nerves I ended up playing on a lot of outdoor pianos this month. I got in the habit of taking sheet music with me most of the time. And I got better at it. It didn’t take long to realize that nobody cared much. And it was nice actually, to play in a space where art wasn’t being put on a pedestal.

photo 1
This was my favorite baby

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