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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".

Entirely Irrelevant Rubber Duck
Here's a picture of the giant Rubber Duck sculpture from Seoul, Korea to help you feel better after reading my depressing article. Though, I'm pretty sure it deflated and died, but hey.

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.

Top Tier Family
These four people were among those who pushed me so hard into trying the impossible, I tripped and fell on stage face first. Grandmother. Mum. Brothers.

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.


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