Mark Zimmerman, one of my local students, has kindly allowed me to post his letter to Casey for my Monday Blog. I must say that I think Casey’s article in the February BNL, which he refers to, is one of her best!
Great article in BNL this month, and very timely for me. I played at my "lousy level" during my last lesson with Murphy, and it really pissed me off. I've been working on Old Joe Clark, and felt I had the A part down
pretty well, and the B part coming along nicely. Of course, like an idiot, I announced that to Murphy when we sat down to play, and then I proceeded to barely be able to play the A part at all, even when I slowed it way down. Infuriating. My heart rate went up, I couldn't concentrate, and the more I tried the worse it got.
So we moved on to some older tunes in the repertoire, and when we came back to OJC I did a little better, but still not nearly as well as I was playing it at home that same morning. My version of stage fright is definitely
"teacher fright" and I know now that what I've got to do with new songs is slow WAY down when I'm sitting in front of Murphy, so I can get through them once or twice properly.
Comment from Murphy: Believe me, Mark, we all suffer from this! Many a time I have worked up a break to a tune at home—and I mean really worked on it—only to find that I could not replicate said break on stage. So, as Casey so eloquently described, I had to fall back on stuff I could play in my sleep. This was way harder when I was first learning because I didn’t have much to fall back on! Motto: hang in there! It does get better, and it does get easier!