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Re: Strategies (was: Re: Improv loops (was Re: Upcoming gig)

Howdy Per, et al,

In a message dated 06/14/05 13:36:12, per@boysen.se writes:

I'm very interested in mental attitudes concerning performing and
practicing, since it seems to play a very big part for what comes

outas music. I would be delighted to read what others think and
what youare using for tricks to get it right.

Me too. That's where I seem to fall down most of the time. Keeping the physical part of the equation (hands mostly) prepared and in good practice is not a problem. Where I continually fall down is the mental side and I know it all too painfully well. I can go for months and not even touch an instrument and still regain my full "chops" in a couple of days of remedial woodshedding.

My very best experiences when playing have basically been when 4 ingredients are present:

1. My instrument is in tune and all of the gear is set up, tested and working.

2. I am physically well-rested and healthy.

3. I come to the gig with few preconceived notions or expectations other than perhaps the vaguest of strategies for passing the time and having fun doing it.

4. I can calm myself and empty mind of everything else but the sounds I'm creating, hearing and responding to -- playing almost instinctually, like a cockroach moving it's legs to run without even thinking when it senses vibration.

When I begin to totally suck it's hardly ever from the physical side or lack of actual practice, it's usually because I've come with a subconscious agenda or worry and I'm thinking about things other than the music itself.

I'm easily distracted too. Sometimes all is humming along perfectly well and moments before the first note is played someone makes a stray comment or there's some minor stage mix-up or faux pas . . . or some bit of gear craps out or hiccups and I lose my focus.

Anxiety about how to keep from breaking that mental-emotional-spiritual "bubble" can be a distraction too. It's like worrying about worrying because worrying may give you an ulcer.

I'd appreciate any stories, strategies or suggestions that the rest of you have to offer. I feel like I've had to resign myself to a more-or-less 50/50 hit-and-miss, spotty performance experience for years now. If I could tilt the prospects of success to the positive by as little as 10% it'd seem a minor miracle.

Best regards,

tEd kiLLiAn

"Different is not always better, but better is always different"


Ted Killian's "Flux Aeterna" is also available at: Apple iTunes,
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