'Play Me A Song?'
The perceived clash between performance for yourself and for others - an article for introverts.
During this very challenging time of lockdowns, music lessons are a creative lifeline. It can assist the musician to manage their mental health mindfully by mastering a tactile and to some extent - intellectual - language.
Along these lines, learning music can be perceived as a personal, highly subjective exercise in self-discovery. I know it was for me as an earnest young musician when I first started!
Having said that, it's vital to view the 'personal' as 'public' at some stage...what does this mean?
As a musician, there is a point at which what you view as self-discovery becomes a means for others to learn about you. There is a tendency to be insular in the way that this manifests however learning an instrument is quite a profound experience - it not only shapes your perception of yourself, it can shape the way that you present yourself to the world around you. This plain-faced fact can often be a difficult reality especially when one believes themselves to be a shy introvert!
With that in mind, it can often be difficult to hear someone ask you, 'will you play a song for me?'* However, this question should not be viewed with scepticism, discomfort or a 'no!'. Rather, an attitude shift is in order.
This simple request is an opportunity for change and progression toward a mature and generous approach to life through music, for a person of any age. It is a means of travelling outside of the potential insularity of musical learnings and allows one to establish connectedness to, and with others.
And that's good for everyone.
*Preparedness is key - have a simple song or 2 ready to play at all times! And, first things first, learn how to play 'Happy Birthday'!
Addendum: When mentioning that I had written this blog, one of my longstanding students could relate, but with a different take.
Miss 15 said that she is tired of playing the same songs she was playing when she was younger, especially when requested to do so. Again, an attitude shift - plus some stock standard replies - are required. We agreed that saying something like, 'would you like to hear a new song I've been working on?' It's a better reflection of the musician I am now.'
For more information on this topic, visit my post on learning to love your inner extrovert here.