Ummm, Yes?

Have you ever performed on stage or given a speech?

I’ve played guitar since I was 16, the math would require an abacus, maybe a calculator, and a fifth grade education, if you are wondering how old that makes me. πŸ˜‰

I’ve been in a few cover bands, that is bands who perform other peoples music. I am now in an all original band, that is songs we have written/composed ourselves. In both cases I have performed on numerous stages, on numerous occaisions. Well, moreso the former than the latter, we are just now getting back at it, our bassist/writer/and keeper of time signatures, had a triple heart bypass surgery a couple months ago. He is fine now, and back to monitoring my odd time signature arrangements. Though… he has let a couple slide recently, finding that once everyone is on the same page, a 4/4 signature isn’t absolutely necessary, and can be a fun adventure πŸ˜‰ We are both a work in progress I think.

Pretty much, I have been on stages enough, where now, being in front of people, whether speaking or playing music, no longer concerns me. I don’t get freaked out with stage fright.

I do still get a little nervous before a gig, but that soon goes away once the gear is set up, and we get through the first couple of songs. You just have to let it go, have fun performing, and don’t sweat the little mistakes most people will never notice.

We should be playing live again by the new year. We have been practicing and recording for a few weeks now, since the surgery.

I’m anxious to get back at it. Playing live is a drug, and musicians are addicts.

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12 thoughts on “Ummm, Yes?

  1. Oh yes. Me too. I’m a choral singer, so there’s several concerts a year, plus many many rehearsals. I was chorus president for quite a few years, so I had to get up and talk in front of the group all the time. The first time I did it I was really nervous, but now it doesn’t bother me at all. I still freak out if I have to sing a solo, though.

    And I think there need to be more songs in 5/4 time. Just sayin.

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    • Hey Ubi. I had no idea you were a musical talent. Cool beans.

      It’s an odd thing at first, performing in front of other people. At first you are sure everyone is focused on you, that any minute mistake will get you crucified, or be the end of the world as we know it.

      Then over time, you just get so used to being there, it doesn’t matter anymore. The really weird thing is you don’t know when it happens. You just wake up one day, and you don’t care. You are all of a sudden ok with it.

      It’s a zen moment.

      As I write and compose, as does my aforementioned bass player, we both wound up being responsible for vocals on the ones we have written. That is a new wrinkle for me. I was always just a guitar guy. I was happy hiding in plain sight, save for the solos. But now I’m having to make noises in a mic, that could be interpreted as singing in some far reaches of the world. Perhaps the Australian outback…?

      I could use a good vocal coach, and I just found out I know a choral group president πŸ˜‰

      re: 5/4, I know, right? I have a song with a chorus running, I believe, at 7/3/7/3/4*, which in the end still winds up being a multiple of 4. After my bass playing, signature counting buddy, had a small spastic fit, he realized that the way the vocal went it made sense to do it that way. Now he has a song that is a 6/8. Maybe I’m rubbing off on him. lol

      * If I got that wrong, I’m sure he will drop in and correct me πŸ˜‰ On a serious note, it’s great to have someone that dedicated on your team πŸ™‚

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  2. I have been a part of a panel discussion in front of maybe 50 people. I have given a speech once. Or twice if one can count the funeral oration for my mother.
    Hoping you get to do more performances

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    • We have a place wanting us to pick a Saturday, and we’ll find more πŸ˜‰

      Sorry about your mom Mak.

      It takes a certain amount of courage, or “just don’t give a damn,” to give a speech. Or perform. It’s not a simple thing to overcome.

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      • It does take a certain amount of courage to perform. Stage fright is a real thing. People can be scary to look at

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        • Especially when they are too big even for their spandex πŸ˜‰ That’s scary to look at!

          …but yes, stage fright is a real thing. As with many things in life, the only way to conquer it, is to just do it. Comfort eventually comes with familiarity.

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  3. My childhood years were centered around horses, swimming, and MUSIC (piano). In reference to the latter, oh yes. I’ve performed a number of times in front of audiences. Nothing super major … but enough times that I can respond with a positive. And I have also spoken in front of groups on several occasions.

    Of course, all this was in my (much) younger years. Marriage and kids and work sorta’ pushed it all into the background.

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  4. All the time. And performance anxiety varies tremendously.

    On the one hand, I find public speaking is by far the lowest anxiety for me because it’s interactive with the audience and adjusting to what’s going on is almost effortless… regardless of how long the speaking is or how large the audience.

    Playing and performing a musical instrument as lead for 80 other members, on the other hand, is incredibly physical and very demanding in exactitude, so there is much that can influence the sound on which so much is balanced and so many depend that I find myself playing through a much higher level of anxiety in spite of decades of experience. I’m better at it, but no less anxious. Every piece is its own beast that must be tamed.

    But playing through that anxiety is the cost of placing the final hanging note resonating in the still air while silence reclaims the hall. And then, of course, the applause… which is the complete release of the anxiety.

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    • Yes I agree that public speaking is a bit easier. Though my fear of “public” was overcome through music.

      So what instrument do you play Tildeb? I get the impression, perhaps an orchestra gig?

      …and yes, having an interactive audience you can see enjoying the music, and occaisional applause, while not the goal overall, is certainly part of the experience that makes you feel good about going and doing it again.

      There is a high in music that is a bit addictive even without an audience. Just everyone gelling together, playing their part, each person hitting on all cylinders, is very, very, satisfying.

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      • I play a bunch (mostly brass) but my primary performance instrument is trumpet.

        Like Nan, I started with piano. Interestingly, when in a high school group and competing at the national level, we were adjudicated by a member of the Canadian Brass. He asked me and the three other trumpets to play a note in unison. We did and as usual fitted our sound together in tune to produce one note. And it was probably three or four times louder in the quiet hall than if all of us just played the same note loudly. (There is a difference.) The adjudicator then turned to the other groups who had already played and were sitting as audience members and explained what he was hearing: one note and not four different players playing the almost the same note, which allowed for tremendous dynamic playing to effect, which he demonstrated by asking us to play softly and then very loudly. He applauded us for this ability and said this was the goal other instrumental groups should aim for. Then, he turned back to us and asked each what our musical background was and all answered, Grade 8 piano, Grade Two theory before entering high school (some of us didn’t know this about each other and I guess it’s unusual). “Well,” he said as if self explanatory, “that explains it.” I’m still not sure what that meant but I can understand why the brass section of the Chicago Symphony (last count 16 players) has a standing challenge that they can play louder than any marching band of any size; fitting the sound into one sound augments the volume times how many players there are. It’s awesome to hear and even better to experience.

        In spite of this special treatment from the adjudicator, our student led group ended up coming in behind the much smaller winning group, which was still a really good placement. Three of those players in the group we lost to were – get this – Dianna Krall on piano, her sister on sax, and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet… all of whom are now well known in the world of jazz today. And their drummer was even better than these three at the time! So that takes a little of the sting now out of losing to them then but, at the time… not so much. Hey, one has to be very competitive and with an ego to match to play any brass well, and even more so to play lead trumpet. That’s why we’re all such assholes. Not an excuse, just an explanation!

        As far as I know, I’m the only player to return to regular performance after raising a family. So I’m in lots of groups now large and small, play any style, but always for fun. (I’ll teach sometimes if I think the student really wants to learn and I have something to offer.) Strangely, I seem to excel at funk and swing. Go figure, when playing symphonic lead requires exactness. (It’s the players on 4th who have the freedom to add their own input and solo as they see fit… I ain’t one of those.) But it’s always loads of fun to gather and play and perform and it’s all very social. And I still enjoy a bit of time bumbling away at the piano, too. Music is the only other language I speak fluently. The applause for all that effort is nice, too.

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        • Thanks for the history. You have been steeped in music for some time. Horn guy! With some piano on the side.

          It’s nice to know these things about the people we tend to run the same WP circles with.

          My grandfather on my mom’s side was known for playing a mandolin. When I was a young pup, I’d plink around on his mandolin when we’d visit. I have that mandolin now, my aunt gave it to me when grandpa passed. It’s nothing special, but it’s a great memento for me.

          My aunt had a country/bluegrass band when I was a little older. One day I picked up her acoustic guitar and started learning basic chords. I progressed well, transitioned to mastering barre chords quickly, and my aunt got me a few guitar lessons from a guy in town. The first whole song I ever learned was an old Skynyrd tune, Gimme Three Steps. I was already advanced enough, that song was easy to pick up.

          From there, having a good ear, I just started picking things up on my own. Have played by ear ever since. No theory. No schools. No instruction. But the thing is, music was/is easy for me. Somewhat a natural, it just comes to me like breathing does for most folks.

          I think it’s safe to say, it runs in the family.

          I piddled with cover bands here and there, for years at times. Great experience, but limiting. I’d play daily, still do, but that musical thirst, as it seems it did with you, was sidetracked for a long time raising kids and paying bills.

          Now, I’m still stuck on music, found an outlet, and am pursuing it again. Ain’t looking for fame or fortune, thats a fools errand. I, and the guys I’m with, have no delusions of grandeur, we just love to make music and play. So, we are.

          The bassist and drummer both have recording gear (we are a 3 piece.) So we’ve recently been progressing past the early demo stage, where everyone is working out their parts, and the final product stage where you try to record close to your live sound, the way we actually play the songs now. All new songs evolve from early to late stage when you actually play them a while. It’s a fun transition. More often than not, you end up somewhere else than where you started. Not by a huge margin, but definately different. Things just happen in practice.

          A little more comfortable in life now, so it’s not much of a distraction from the grind that gets you here.

          Good thing is, I’m too old for it to be a mid life crisis thing. It’s just a music thing. I’m good with that. If it feels good musically, do it. πŸ˜‰

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