“Is it time?”
“Not yet, there are two more before you and then you are on.”
I feel so sick. We have come all this way to Belgium. Dad drove. Time off work. What if I don’t even get through the first round? They will be so disappointed. Everyone looks to be my age. Some younger. I am never going to have time to read those books for my A levels. I am a terrible pianist. Out of my depth here. Sometimes I play beautifully, but I get too stiff and tense. And then all the processes get blocked and everything becomes disjointed. Has to go from the brain, through soul, into arms, down, through fingers, on to keys and out of piano. Brain is good. Fingers are good. Wrists are always a problem. Bad training when I was younger. Soul – well that’s anyone’s guess. Last I checked - still not bad.
Used to think music was to do with the soul. When I was younger, the heart. Now I just think it is to do with practice. Love music when I am not practicing it. Especially the piano. All the colours you can create. Playing with expectation of tension and release. Teasing out melodies. Hammering out bass lines. Angular. Loud. Serene. Peaceful. It is all there. Just wish it was my mother tongue. Some people have music as a first language. Speak and play it fluently. They win. Not me. Just a second language. Nothing comes naturally to me. Maybe understanding the music. Like memorizing grammatical rules. But still doesn’t bother me. Well sometimes. But people seem to like my playing. Good communicator. Heard this a few times. Not sure I know what I am communicating. Just spills out really. But they don’t need to know that.
“…to the stage, our next contestant from Great Britain.”
“Knock ‘em dead”
Seems like wildly inappropriate words of encouragement. But I love to hear them. Maybe that’s why I get tense. Dad gets me into the mindset of a boxer. Not so many in the audience but I can see the jury in the shadows at the back. Ah I forgot to bow. No one clapped anyway. Stool too high. Adjust. Knock ‘em dead. Control. Keep Control. Don’t rush when it gets more difficult. Try to avoid Auto Pilot. Very unreliable.