In life, we can sometimes feel silly doing certain things that are asked of us. That’s certainly true in piano lessons, and especially Simply Music lessons. Not everyone feels comfortable singing, even by themselves much less in front of others. Sometimes there’s resistance to speaking our instructions out loud, touching our fingers, using the practice pad. Or even using the DVD. Or even just playing slowly. Maybe you think you just don’t need to do it, that you can get by without it. Maybe you feel silly or embarrassed doing some of these things.
While these feelings are understandable, everything that’s asked of you is asked of you for a good reason. These kinds of things will benefit you. They will help you develop your skills as strongly as possible. Just as it’s important to practice even when you’re not in the mood to, it’s important to do these things even though you may feel silly doing them.
And so, to put my money where my mouth is, let me show you something I did where I felt terribly silly but it was worth it.
Here’s me doing ballet for laughs long ago in the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, produced by the Masque and Mime Society of Roy C. Ketcham High School.
I played Moonface Martin, a gangster disguised as a priest and trying to make a getaway on a transatlantic cruise ship. As part of the “all is lost” section of the show, another character and I end up in the brig. There, Moonface sings the song “Be Like the Bluebird” to cheer up his cellmate.
Because of the song’s tone, I’d come up with the idea of doing a ballet to it, for comic effect. The choreographer asked me if I was really up for it, and I said absolutely, full fledged, real ballet, the more authentic, the better for laughs. And she came back with one. And I learned it. And I did it. And it was quite a hoot.
Did I feel silly doing it? Sure. But overcoming that kind of hesitation for something worthwhile can be the beginning of building new levels of courage for taking things on in life.
And just in case you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah, well, that’s fine and dandy, but if something more than a couple of decades old is all you’ve got, should I really trust you on this?” To that, I say, here’s something not yet two weeks old:
That’s me dancing with the Wild Women as part of Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas winter celebration.
Yes, you heard me right, I was a Wild Woman.
I take an aerobic dance class at my gym, and the instructor organizes the Wild Women for Sinterklaas. Back in the Summer, the class started learning the dance for the celebration, to the tune of, of all things, Zumbalicious. Nobody has to, but anyone in the class who wants to can participate in Sinterklass, dancing in the parade and then afterward on the mainstage.
I’m one of the few males to take the class, which is fine, and even though the group is supposed to be Wild Women, I was encouraged to join them. So I did, as the one and only bearded lady among the Wild Women at Sinterklaas.
As if that weren’t enough, while dancing on the mainstage, the wild Grumpus men overtook and ravaged the Wild Women, escorting us offstage — and I was the first to succumb, as you can see here!
Did I feel silly doing it? Sure. But sometimes that just comes along with making things happen in your life!
So the next time you hesitate to do something because you think you’ll feel silly, think twice. Hesitate over that hesitation. There may be something worthwhile lying on the other side.
And when it comes to those parts of your piano practice that might make you feel silly, nobody even needs to witness it but you and maybe a few family members and lesson mates. You can do it. I know you can. If I can dress up as a gangster priest and sing and dance a ballet, and if I can put on a goofy costume and parade through slush while Latin-dancing as a Wild Woman, surely you can do piano practice activities like singing along to what you’re playing. After all, as the song says about the bluebird, “He knows from his upbringing what singing can do.”
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