] [Thread Prev
Re: away with mirrors
I also used to suffer from the beat-myself-up-after-every-bad-gig
syndrome. For the first five or six years I played in public, I had
probably two or three enjoyable shows, and the rest left me despondent
and suicidal. Two things that really helped were 1) playing out a lot
more (several times a week) and 2) playing a instrument other than my
A lot of musicans get wrapped up in identifying their musical ability
as their self. "I am the Mighty Guitarist! Playing guitar is my Reason
To Be!! As my playing go, thus goes my LIFE!!!" And so on. This is
frequently a recipe for disaster. And if you're only playing one 45
minutes gig a month, that's a lot of time to build it up in your mind
before hand as THE MOST IMPORTANT 45 MINUTES OF THE MONTH. And, if it
fails to meet expectations (and what could meet those expectations?) a
lot of time to kick yourself in the ass afterwards. Some people can
maintain a healthy perspective while listening to a board tape of a
show for three days after a bad show, but most can't. If you're
playing more frequently, and more than one set, a bad gig becomes just
one data point in many. Also, once I started playing in situations
where we played more than one set, I was surprised to find that the
second set was almost inevitably better than the first.
The second thing was when I started playing just keyboards in a band
(I'm primarily a guitarist). Right before the first all-keyboard gig I
remember thinking "Oh hey--I'm about to play in front of a lot of
people on something that I haven't spent years practicing on, maybe I
should be getting nervous?" And then the gig started and it occurred
to me that my job that night was to operate the musical tool in front
of me to the best of my ability. Not to be THE MIGHTY KEYBOARD PLAYER,
MASTER OF ALL HE SURVEYS. Which, is the perspective you should always
have, but being away from my surrogate Object of Power and Self-Esteem
(the guitar) really highlighted it for me.
Oh, and the correct answer to any post gig "Hey man, that was great!"
type statement is always "Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!" End of
On Nov 20, 2004, at 8:57 AM,
> . . . I made a conscious effort to be a bit
> more gracious in accepting the kudos, while still
> being self-aware of the areas in which I needed
> improvement. This made a world of difference.
> A simple 'thank you' worked much better than a
> discourse on the importance of reliable patch cords
> This is a problem I still struggle with a bit. To audience
> members who are strangers it's easier to just smile and
> nod and say thanks and let the subject drop. But with
> friends and colleagues (particularly other musicians)
> it's hard not to admit seeing all of the problems/flaws
> that you assume were just as clearly evident to them.
> It's even worse if they're close friends . . . 'cuz then
> one's mind invariably plays the trick of coming up with
> the notion that these friends' compliments and praise
> are meant to be "encouragement" after a particularly
> BAD performance. My mind always says: "OH NO! IT
> MUST'VE BEEN EVEN WORSE THAN I THOUGHT IF
> SO-AND-SO IS TRYING SO HARD TO BE ENCOURAGING.
> GOSH! NOW I REALLY FEEL LIKE SHITE!" Heheh.