Return of the House Concert

Whenever I go into any situation where anything is remotely out of my control (aka any situation) my brain automatically does this thing where it conjures up the worst possible thing that could happen, and then goes on to assume that the worst possible thing will actually happen. If I have a meeting with an authority figure, I always assume that I’ll either be verbally lambasted or stabbed with a fork. I’ll go days without tweeting because I’ll be convinced that my next tweet will be the one that ruins my life. Right before I left for Austria, I bought new shoes solely based on a recurring vision I had of myself tripping over my own feet and falling in front of an oncoming bus.

Usually the worst possible thing doesn’t happen. Except for that time a snail snuck into the house and crawled up a stack of my sheet music. That was the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone. But I digress.

So last year, when I set up a series of house concerts to scare my stage fright away (er, it made more sense in my head), I had no idea what to expect, and therefore expected the worst. Virtually all of the performances I’d ever given up to that point were formal affairs, in official performance spaces, with a safe divide between the audience and the stage. Performing in a more intimate space, with my audience members right within throwing distance was a rather scary prospect. Besides some rather fantastical fears, I had an endless parade of more mundane anxieties. What if I suffered strings of memory slips and flubbed everything? What if my audience was bored to tears? What if people hated my playing? What if nobody showed up? What if my hosts all regretted ever agreeing to this wretched experiment, and I had to live out the rest of my life in a cave as a hermit?

You don’t make the decision to put music at the center of your life unless you truly love and find meaning in performing, but when you get stage fright, it’s easy to forget what performing really means to you. So imagine my surprise and delight when all my concerts ended up being musical love-fests. My audience members enjoyed themselves. I enjoyed myself. It was just love and sunshine and happiness and pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows all around.


This, I suppose, is my convoluted way of saying that I had a jolly good time performing last year, and I want to make it happen again.

So, friends and friends-of-friends and friendly strangers (preferably in the Bay Area or general vicinity thereof), I am once again putting out a call: if you have a home, workplace, or other facility with a piano, I will come and give a full solo recital! The process is easy in that there is no process; email me at concerts [at] sharonsu.com and we’ll figure out dates, times, and all the logistical stuff.

FAQ*

*Most of these are actually frequently asked questions, and the last one I’m just making up.

Q: What time frame are you planning for?
A: I’m hoping to contain this all in April and May.

Q: I’m not in San Francisco/Silicon Valley/etc., will you come and give a concert where I am?
A: My preference is for Northern California since it’s easy for me to drive around here. If you’re in SoCal/anywhere outside of California, we’d have to talk transportation.

Q: How much do I need to pay to host a concert?
A: Absolutely nothing!

Q: How much will you charge for admission?
A: The concerts are all free, but I do put out a little donation box so people can pay what they want, and only if they want to.

Q: Can I invite my friends?
A: Of course.

Q: Why would I want to do something like this?
A: Maybe you finished House of Cards (no spoilers please!) and need something to fill that hole in your life before Orange is the New Black hits. Maybe your chief social rival keeps throwing lavish parties for herself and you need to up the ante. Maybe you’re a self-made man of wealth and you’ve dedicated your life to throwing elaborate parties so you can win back the girl of your dreams. Hey, I don’t judge. I just play the piano.

Interested? Confused? Have questions/comments/concerns? Leave a comment or email me (concerts [at] sharonsu.com).

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A Series of Escalating Dares, Part 2

Will someone please point me in the direction of the black hole that has apparently swallowed up the month of May? I swear that yesterday we were approaching the end of April and now my planner is insisting that it’s June.

Anyway, I gave a bunch of concerts in April! And remember how I started daring myself to do stuff I was scared of?

Well, the concerts weren’t the only things I dared myself to do.

I’m on SoundCloud now!*
*There are only three recordings up there right now as of this post, but I swear I’m going to upload some more.

I know, setting up a SoundCloud account isn’t like jumping off a cliff or anything. But I’ve always loathed listening to recordings of myself, and I’ve also always been extremely reluctant to have recordings of myself out there on the big bad Internet. Part of it is self-consciousness and another part of it is that I just never sound as good as I wish I did.

“Well, Sharon,” I said, because I talk to myself often, “this is who you are. You can either accept yourself, imperfections and all, or you can keep living in your little fantasy world where you are a perfect person who, spoiler alert, doesn’t really exist.”

So here I go: in a potentially misguided attempt to force myself to accept my own shortcomings, I’m putting up select recordings from my recitals, and I have a soft goal of putting up recordings from my practice sessions in the coming months. (This is all part of a big plan to motivate and discipline myself, you see.)

So listen to me! Or don’t. It’s not going to kill either of us, I promise.

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A Series of Escalating Dares, Part 1.5

arrested development chicken dance gif
Okay, I know this is not an “escalating dares” gif. Source here.

(This post is 1.5 of my “escalating dares” series because I actually have at least two more separate dares in the works…only I’m being kind of a chicken about getting them going. Today’s post is more of a follow-up to Part 1, hence the “1.5.”)

So remember how I said I was going to give a bunch of recitals, and I was going to announce dates and locations?

It’s happening! I have four recitals in April that you—yes, you!—are invited to, provided you are in the California Bay Area. They have been scheduled, people have been invited, and I’m already past the point of no return. So…no backing out now. (Not that I was planning to back out, mind you, but now I’m really, truly on the hook for this.)

sharon su piano recitals april 2014

The dates are as follows:

April 12 (Saturday), 3:00 PM — Union City

April 13 (Sunday), 3:00 PM — Oakland

April 19 (Saturday), 5:00 PM — Stockton

April 27 (Sunday), 2:00 PM — San Jose

I’m not publicly posting addresses because some of these are people’s private residences, so if you are interested in coming and would like the address, please email concerts[at]sharonsu.com.

A huge thank you to the very generous people who are allowing me to give concerts and have been so very kind. Seriously, when I put out a call for house concert venues I was expecting that people would either 1) quietly snicker and ignore me altogether or 2) loudly snicker and tell me that this is a stupid idea but instead of either of those two things happening, people were actually super supportive (!) and willing to go well out of their way for me (!!) so now I feel very humbled and…also a little scared.

So once again: you are invited, as long as you are not a serial killer or a person with noxious B.O. If neither of those things describe you, please come!

If you are a serial killer and/or person with noxious B.O., kindly stay at home. Thank you.

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