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Performing in Public
June 11, 2012 |
Hello Mr. Keillor,
I have such a desire to sing and play the guitar but I just can't do it in front of people. I have close family members who have become very popular in the bluegrass gospel field and I'm terrified that people will expect my voice to be perfect like theirs when I know it's not. I really want to fulfill this desire to step out. Any advice?
It's hard to venture into a field where your relatives have made a mark. That's why I'm not a baker ---- because my aunts did that so beautifully. I baked a couple of loaves of bread that were like bricks and never attempted it again. Self-criticism can be withering, and that's why you dread singing in front of people: you're afraid of yourself and how you would punish yourself for your own mistakes. But it's a long way from singing in your room and singing on a stage for people ---- there's a lot of space in between where you could be perfectly comfortable, making music with friends. Sitting and picking guitar with people of like mind and like abilities. It's a wonderful place to be, in someone's living room, scootched down between other people, singing. I remember a magical evening at my house in St. Paul where Sara Watkins got into it with Old Crow Medicine Show and Pat Donohue and some others, and they wailed for two or three hours, and nobody was self-conscious at all. You could do that. It might satisfy that urge you have, or it might give you self-confidence to go on, or it might be something you'd do once or twice and then decide to take up baking or do standup comedy or ride a bike from coast to coast or write a novel. Good luck, Joni.