Katie has her first piano recital on Sunday. Is it strange that I’m nervous, probably more nervous than she is? Don’t get me wrong—she’s certainly not okay with the idea. I’m trying to be as encouraging as I can, but I know she doesn’t want to perform and if I thought I could get her out of it, I think I would.
I always hated my piano recitals. I was sure I’d mess up, forget my piece, trip in front of everyone, or people would laugh at me. I never understood why I had to memorize anything—when wouldn’t I have my sheet music available to me???—and had no plans to be a concert pianist. So what was the point?
My mom wasn’t great at making me feel any less apprehensive, but to be fair, I don’t remember ever telling her how nervous I was. She probably assumed I was excited; she and Kathy would do anything for an audience (Kathy still will) so the idea that one of her daughters might not want to perform in front of strangers likely never even crossed her mind.
Katie and I are similar in our approach to things like piano recitals and public nudity. We both do it with great fear. Occasionally a panic attack. Always increased heart rate and extreme blushing. Should kids be forced to perform when they don’t want to? As a regular ol’ person, I say it’s probably good for them. But as a mom, I want to protect my little girl from the terror of feeling like the whole world is watching every move she makes. Because I remember how that feels. And I don’t think performing in recitals did anything to build my confidence. It didn’t make me any more comfortable being watched. It didn’t make my turns in speech classes any less nerve-wracking. And yes, I am a trainer and stand in front of people often, but it’s not the same as playing the piano (for me). I still avoid situations that could give others the opportunity to point and laugh at me.
Maybe Katie will decide recitals aren’t so bad. Maybe she’ll be willing to continue lessons—which I’d really like her to do—but only if she doesn’t have to perform again. Maybe she’ll love the thrill. We’ll get through this first one, and then we’ll see.
Y’know, there was one thing I liked about my recitals: I usually got a new dress to wear. That was cool.
I’m taking Katie shopping tonight.