I had a eureka moment recently regarding my study of improvisation. I discovered that I spend entirely too much time making myself technically capable of playing certain concepts, but nowhere near enough time playing these concepts musically.
I have always heard that we should strive to play musically when learning new concepts; I just took it to mean that we would be musical eventually. Well, I was wrong to think that this would happen naturally. I now realize that I must make a conscious effort to be musical very early in my study of a new concept.
What has happened in your lessons that really ‘Flicks the Switch’ in your mind and makes something easier that you ever thought possible?
Wednesday, May 13, Eric H. and I played for the Lynchburg Parks and Recreation’s 50+ group. We played a 30 minute set of jazz in the pavilion at Jefferson Park. We had not yet been to Jefferson Park and found it to be a very nice park with a recreation center. Our audience seemed to appreciate our playing and the provided lunch was wonderful.
I had never played an outdoor acoustic gig before the Jefferson Park affair. I had a really difficult time hearing my guitar. I could hear Eric just fine. I forgot to ask if his perspective was the opposite of mine; could he hear me more than himself?
My family and I went to Richmond this weekend per Celeste’s request to go there for her birthday. While there, we saw a few musicians playing on the sidewalk. One had his case open the way he was supposed to if he expects any tips, but was not playing. The others were playing but had no tip jar or open case. The thought occured to me that Eric and I could rub enough brain cells together to play and have a tip receipt area in the same instance.
Any suggestions for our first busking site?
A student recently told me of quite a blessing. ‘The best thing that’s ever happened to me’ is how he put it.
His X-Box died.
The RED RING OF DEATH.
(I think that’s what he said.)
Anyway, we both noticed a great improvement in his playing in just one week. He said he was practicing about 30 minutes each day with a much greater focus than before his new-found freedom from the digital grip of gaming.
I often need to reorient my focus in regard to how I spend my flexible time ‘On the Job’. There are many work related items on my ‘To Do’ list that can and do distract me from keeping my ‘Chops’ up on my instrument. I have to be as vigilant as anyone to keep a proper schedule of practicing.
What do you do instead of practicing?
I played a gig May 1st with some students from a private school where I teach Music Elective. It is called Can Do because the students show what they ‘Can Do’ and admission is a canned item to donate to the local Food Bank.
Shame on me, but I almost enjoy seeing these kids brains turning inside-out with nerves before a performance. They are just adorable with their eyes bugging out of their heads. Some of the same students from last year were on this gig. I don’t think they were any less nervous than the last gig. They did a great job just like last year too. Why worry?
The greatest cause of nervousness in public performance is; ‘What if I suck?’. OK, so what if you completely fall apart? I have never, ever been booed. I have never, ever witnessed anyone being booed. I think that only happens on TV. Most people know how nervous they would be to perform on stage, and are simply not so mean that they would make a person feel worse.
Frankly, the only part that makes me a little nervous about a gig is; ‘What if nobody shows up?’