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Performance - Failure & Success.

Sometimes the band plays well but I am unhappy about my personal contribution to the music at a gig. This is what I am talking about here.

To my own standards, my success rate is quite low. I feel good about perhaps 40% of my performances. I’ve never felt like giving up, but I do feel pretty bad after some gigs.

I could improve my success rate by being less demanding of myself. The trouble with that is, I would probably eventually get bored and give it all up anyway. Most of the time I just fail to live up to my potential & end up playing blandly. It can be down to several variables.

1/ Sound quality : timbre & acoustics can restrict what I will attempt to play.

2/ Fatigue : tired hands & fingers due to extensive chord work

3/ Losing place : phrasing problems due to wrong tempo or plain clumsiness.

The re-entry problem.

The absolute worse thing I do is to drift into the wrong key. Now, it happens extremely rarely, but it does happen. Usually I can correct it after a bum note or two, but I have on occasion soloed in the wrong key without realising it. This can only really happen when the acoustics are so poor that I cant hear the band properly.

Again, I could eliminate this problem quite easily. It’s just a question of discipline. The reason I don’t is because I happen like the way of playing that gets me into this sort of difficulty.

What happens is this. During a solo, sometimes I will literally let go of the understanding I have of the music. This is not when things go wrong, in fact this is the ‘sweet space‘ that appeals to me. It during the return to musical structure that these mistakes occur.

Anxiety at the moment of needing to remember where I am in the song is the first & only sign of trouble. It happens (fortunately) more during practise rather than in the short solos I tend to do play in the band; but happen they do. Hopefully I still have enough years of playing in me to see some improvement before I have to stop altogether.

There remains some satisfaction in the struggle to improve.



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