Friday, January 20, 2017



     I figured it out. My performance anxiety is a direct result of one person in my audience, Sandy. This Sandy woman is so damned critical. I know she is scrutinizing every bit of me from the top of my imperfect, thinning hair to the corn on my left toe sticking out of my beautiful green satin stiletto. She is looking at my “bad side” as I sit down at the beautiful grand piano on the three upcoming stages where I will be performing for over 150 people. No, the audiences aren’t huge, but the weight of my performances feels like cement on my shoulders. I need to relax, let go, but Sandy is always there watching every move, listening to every word, noting every missed note, uneven tone and awkward phrase. She needs to stay home. How can I tell her that in a nice way. After all, she’s my alter ego. 

     Sandy’s Dad told her that people only like to hear really fast pieces that are flashy and show off nimble finger work. He told her that people get bored with slow. Her teacher of 15 years taught her that if you can’t play a piece perfectly, you should not play it. With these two voices etched in Sandy’s brain, you can understand why she is so judgmental about performing in public. My present teacher told me that if I can perform my program at 100% or even 90% in private, I should be thrilled with 70-80% on stage. That was validating and comforting, but Sandy won’t buy that. She expects perfection. She wants people to leave the concert in positive disbelief at a performance unlike any other. At age 73, that ain’t easy. Sandy shows no mercy. She just stares and judges.

     How do I tell Sandy in a nice way to stay home?