Under Pressure

There I was, on a business trip I suppose and staying somewhere away from my home. It wasn’t a hotel, more like an auditorium of sorts. At least I brought my Steinway. I figured I would keep it in this ‘room’ so that I would have a place to practice on a daily basis, since that is what I like to do.

On one day I walked into the room and there was someone ‘playing’ my piano. What? I don’t let just anybody play my piano. The only other person who has played my piano is my piano tuner. Irene won’t even try it out with any sense of serious function. Regardless, the word was out, there is a piano in the auditorium that was for guests to use. No, no, no, I should probably put some sort of sign on it. Anyone else, wouldn’t know how to treat this piano, as it does need special treatment. It is a Steinway for that matter.

The person sitting at the bench was not playing anything difficult or demanding so I assumed he would treat it well knowing I was there ready for practice. It all seemed relatively innocuous. Then someone else came in to play. Oh man, what next? Two people, that’s it. The first guy finished rather quickly and the second person, a woman sat down to play. She knew I was waiting but she took longer than I wanted. My patience was getting thin, especially when I noticed someone had set a pair of shoes on the lid. Ok, you’re done here…off please.

Finally I was able to sit and begin practice when someone put sheet music in front of me and asked if I would play it. It looked rather complicated but regardless, I told the person that I would not be able to play it with any audible satisfaction since I would need to practice it first, and my practice would take multiple days!

At that moment, above me from the balcony comes Elton John. Now way I thought, but he was there and he told me to play the piece and he would sing along. Telling him that I couldn’t without practice was something he couldn’t understand since he is of course, a master piano player. He politely insisted that I play encouraging me that I would be ‘fine’. But I knew that I would’t be fine. When I am nervous my body tenses and that’s the last thing you want when it comes time to play any musical instrument. Not knowing what I was going to do, I told him again that I couldn’t do it and now he was becoming frustrating and impatient. I don’t blame him, I was locking up and not even attempting to try and this was Elton John. When would I ever have this opportunity again?

Well, it happened. I kept making excuses and he ultimately left. I missed my lifetime chance to play the piano for Elton John as he sang. It was a major disappointment for me and I’m sure for him as well.

When I awake the next morning I told Irene about the dream. No doubt from lack of practice guilt. Ok, parent Conferences and Report Cards were all due last week so I really did have a good reason to opt for more sleep over those days. However, I told Irene that I did not want to disappoint Elton, so I better get on the ball and practice diligently!