The adventures, thoughts, and general scrawlings of a classical pianist

A Series of Escalating Dares, Part 1


This may come as a surprise to those of you who knew me in college and/or high school, but over a year ago I developed something of a phobia of performing.

(I’m imagining that, upon reading that, your eyes widened in shock and you uttered a little scream and you had to reach for your smelling salts. I’m also imagining that you have smelling salts.)

It was a development that surprised me more than anyone. Despite being painfully shy in anything remotely resembling a social situation my whole life, I’ve always been a little bit of quite a show-off when it came to the piano. If a store or mall had a piano, I’d run to it and start showing off with the flashiest piece in my repertoire. Sometimes my mom would open the front door to let the sun warm up the living room; when that happened I’d head to the keys to grace the neighborhood with my musical presence. One time, when I was very young and my parents were hosting a party, I hopped out of bed, flew downstairs to the piano in my pajamas and promptly started playing for the guests, all of whom were adults I was normally too timid to talk to. In my mind, the people of the world were my adoring audience and I was always ready to impress.

(This might all sound very cute but I really had quite the ego all the way through the end of college, which in hindsight was sometimes a very ugly quality. I share the cuter anecdotes so you’re not completely turned off by my conceitedness.)

Well anyway, some time into my post-college studies I became painfully self-conscious of my shortcomings as a musician, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was good because it spurred me to work on becoming better, and bad because I developed the aforementioned phobia of performing.

After more than a year of not performing and my sudden stage fright not showing any sign of quietly melting away, I’ve decided that I just need to suck it up and make myself get out there. But I’m not going to schedule one little recital and get it over with and let myself off the hook that easily.

Nope, I’ve dared myself to give recitals in as many places as people will let me. I have to make up for quite a lot of not-performing after all, and I have to keep forcing myself to do the thing that scares me until it doesn’t scare me anymore.

Or until I die. Whichever comes first.

So, people of the Bay Area, if you have a piano, and you’re tickled by the idea of hosting a private concert in your house like an old-timey fancy person in the next coming months, email me at “sharon [at] sharonsu [dot] com” with the subject line “House Recital.” The recital will be free of admission, you can invite anyone you want (relatives? friends? romantic interest you’d like to impress?) and I will bring you a little thank-you gift. Outside of the thank-you gift, I’m not making any promises; this could be wonderful, or it could be terrible, but we’re all going to come out of it alive.*

*barring any sudden natural disasters. California’s been overdue for The Big One for a while now.

A very heartfelt thank you to all the people who have already answered my original call on Facebook and offered me their homes or workplaces. I’ve been very touched (and a little scared) by your responses.

And hey, if this turns out to be a good experience (which I genuinely think it will) I might start doing this on a regular basis.

Stay tuned for the eventual blog post in which I announce dates and locations. (Out of privacy concerns, only cities will be publicly posted and addresses will be messaged to people who inquire about going.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.