Hiya. It's Noshi here again; everybody's favorite relatively stoic, ever sarcastic vocalist. And today, I'm under a lot of stress - anxiety. Because the month I finally agree to start playing the piano in public again, so many things happened at once.
Though some of you may not know, I spent the majority of my life as a student of classical piano performance and theory. And despite being known as a vocalist all through college, it wasn't until my final two years that I took my first official vocal classes. Looking at the larger picture, my skills as a pianist were very strict and disciplined, following rules of so many masters of the formal path. Singing, on the other hand, was almost entirely my own; pliant, unsystematic, defiant.
And here is a video of me practicing for a jazz proficiency exam. Oh look. It's all corrupt. OOPS.
In high school - specifically middle school, I had a bit of a breakdown that made me walk away from my formal training resulting in me withdrawing from a very important international examination and disappointing more people than I'd like to count. The time away from my instrument and a craft that is innately a part of me slowly degraded my mental well-being over the years. That sounds quite dramatic, but I am very much an over-analyzer and went through years of self-deprecating thoughts.
I had convinced myself that I walked away from a promising career as a classical soloist because I wasn't good enough and not because my circumstances were bad for my mental health. Before I could recognize it, I developed a phobia of even touching an acoustic piano and a habit for not acknowledging accomplishment that wasn't "perfect".
Later, I realized that although I made the conscious decision not to pursue music or to play a piano, I subconsciously sought it out by surrounding myself with other musicians and finding other mediums that were similar. Soon, I came to understand, that I couldn't blame music. Sometimes, it's other people, the environment and just timing that causes trauma. It can be just as unhealthy to give up something that makes up such a big part of who you are, reacting to a negative cause.
Fast forward, and it was apparent that music was the thing that made me happiest, and though during my hiatus, I found my singing voice, it was my history of playing that piano that transported me to the next level.
Balancing the tight rope of the reality that I would be going to school to study an instrument that paralyzes me in public and that it was what I needed to audition, I chose a classical piece I rehearsed so desperately, I have perfect pitch for the first note - Beethoven's "Pathetique".
Pathetique - Extreme Emotion
Don't ask me to play it, though. I'll run away.
Your mental health is important. Who knows where I could have been had I taken better care of myself much earlier in life. Yet, I am grateful for my past and will continue to battle 10+ years of pianist stage fright with an unbothered presentation for the audience.