Guitar Debut

Yesterday evening was Artsy’s third annual Salon, where everyone at Artsy is invited to show off the art that they create. Not everyone participates, and that’s okay, but it’s nice to celebrate all my colleagues’ creative outlets.

Normally, I display some photographs, but this year I tried something different. The theme of the Salon was growth, and I’ve been learning the guitar since December, so last night was my big debut!

I should say, I guess, that I’ve been learning guitar and to sing. The singing was what I was most nervous about actually – I’m not sure why. I’ve performed piano and saxophone in front of much larger crowds, but I haven’t sang publicly since elementary school. My colleagues’ opinions of me mean a lot, and I guess I was afraid of embarrassing myself. Or maybe I still hate my own voice.

I performed two songs – covers – one by The Weakerthans and another by their lead, John K Samson. A great Canadian group and artist. The first song was Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure, and the second was Heart of the Continent.

I could feel my knees shaking, I was sure everyone could see how nervous I was. But I had rehearsed and felt my body follow muscle memory as my brain slipped into that blissful autopilot. It reminded me of speaking at a conference – something I’m pretty comfortable with at this point. But still nerve-wracking. I made a few mistakes, but I kept going.

When I was a senior in high school, I performed in the talent show. Well, I started too. About eight bars into “American Pie” on the piano, I forgot the music. My mind blanked. I panicked and ran off stage. I was afraid I would panic again and forget the music. But even if I did, I felt safe around my colleagues.

The second song went well too, though my legs were still shaking. I rushed the tempo. I always do. In retrospect, I was afraid of the mic; I need to rehearse more with one. That’s okay – those are all improvements I can make.

The important thing is I had fun, and that I did it. It was hard and I did it anyway (not always easy with depression). Je pense que quelqu’un se mit a rire au française dans the chanson. Bienvenue.

Next time it’ll be a little easier, and I’ll be a little better. Actually, I recorded Heart of the Continent a month ago, and re-listening to that recording this morning, I’m surprised by just how much I’ve improved since then.

Thank you to my colleagues and friends for showing up for my debut, and thank you to my wife Ashley for taking some recordings. It’s nice to have some artefact of my ability – a snapshot of what I could do.

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