Stefanie, my piano teacher, has a button which she sometimes shows her students but, so far as I know, has never allowed anyone to wear. The button says, “I played it better at home.”
That’s how I’m feeling these days at my lessons. At home, on my spring-untuned piano, I have fewer problems than I do at her house. The reason is obvious: playing for any audience is more stressful than playing by oneself, and part of the reason I started to take lessons again was to overcome my terror of playing in public.
It is true that the more you do it the less terrifying it seems. I know this from being a seasoned teacher. However, just doing it often is not enough. You must have hammered out the difficult parts to such an extent that you no longer tense up when you know they are coming up in the music. And so, these days, I am still doing that “scrub work” on the parts that trip me up—even at home! As time grows short, I am working even harder on those parts.
But that still leaves the rest of the music to practice so that its overall pattern, grace and beauty can emerge unimpeded, at different levels.
In addition to practicing daily and teaching through mid-May, I have now committed to publishing my manuscript of poems through Create Space. Publishing this way is allowing me to retain complete control over the design of my book. It will also allow me to purchase finished copies at a price low enough to do what I initially said that I wanted to do: to give them away for free at my recital on June 6.
Through a series of interesting coincidences, I have recently become aware of a new enterprise by two young men here in Milwaukee that provides art instruction and help with academics to city students who otherwise might not have such access. Such a cause is dear to my heart, and I may offer my event on June 6 as a venue for donations. The details have still to be worked out, but publishing my book in this manner is giving me that option. Stay tuned!
Here is the cover I am currently working on. The image is of a fractal, which I find interesting: a book of related poems is fractal by nature, in that the poems are similar and connected, but at different levels. I am using Photoshop and having a lot of fun.