Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Mystery of Performing

Why is it that in your living room you can play great, but when you try to play out it just doesn't happen? Or maybe you can play by yourself, but not with others. There are several reasons that explain why this can happen, and hopefully I will be able to offer a solution to you!

Most of the time when people practice, they practice by themselves. Practice by yourself will help you get better at playing by yourself. If you want to play with others, then you HAVE to practice with others. How can you do this and still save your self esteem and respect? You need to find others who are also learning, or a jam session that is beginner friendly. Some music stores and organizations (like old time fiddler associations and music schools) offer beginner jam sessions. There are also workshops offered around the country that offer instruction in jamming. These are all good options.

Another option that you can utilize at home would be to practice with a CD or DVD. There are instructional jam CDs available, and there are also free programs that you can download that will slow down CDs so that you will be able to play with them. Some of these programs actually come preloaded on your computer. There are also specialized CD players that will slow down CDs. All of these programs will slow the music down without changing the pitch.

Another reason why you may not be able to play with others is nervousness or change of concentration. Nervousness or concentration issues can cause you to blank out, forget where you are, repeat or skip sections of songs, or even play several songs combined into one!

How do you get over this? The same way you learn songs. Practice, practice, practice with others! Don't give up. If you really want to do this, then you have to keep pounding it until you get it. You WILL!

How can you practice with others without driving everyone else crazy? Make sure that you follow good jamming etiquette. For instance: 1) Always tune; 2) Don't play too loudly; and 3) Don't play lead (melody) all the time, especially when someone else is singing or playing lead. This is only a short list, but will at least get you started. If you are unsure about something, ask! Don't bombard someone with questions, but ask a few of your most important questions. Most people are more than willing to help!

No comments: