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I'll play it first and tell you what it is later - Miles Davis

Author Topic: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance  (Read 8436 times)

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ToneWood

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The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« on: August 13, 2008, 09:16:22 AM »
Hi.

I'm at the point where I have about 20 or 30 tunes that I can play pretty much w/out issues, except the whole "remembering the lyrics" thing. Oh and my singing is bad, but I'm a blues guy so.... Anyway I think it's time that I take the big leap and play out. I've never played in front of anyone except a girl or two at my apartment. I play all the time and rehearse and have a set list of tunes ready to go. I guess I just can't bring myself to do it. I'm not sure why I should: what's the point? I don't think I'll become a regular performing musician, although I'd love to. I am not burdened by delusions of fame and fortune - I play delta blues, how rich and famous can I get? But it just feels like I *should* play out. So what to do? Stage fright has me by the short hairs. My singing is pretty tepid. I can play though. What to do?

Offline Blue in VT

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 10:17:00 AM »
I know how you feel my friend...my short and curlies are in a vice as well...you can search for a thread I started called "open mic Trainwreck" (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4979.0) which tells the story of my first public playing...it ain't pretty...but don't let that discourage you...in hind sight it wan't as bad as I thought and I'm actually looking fwd to doing it again....kinda....maybe....someday! 

The advice that I got that has helped up to this point is to play in front of freinds and family as much as possible...if some one asks you to play...do it...don't make excuses.  Play around the campfire...try busking...people arn't really looking at you and are mostly walking by...this seems like a good middle ground between playing for yourself and having an audience staring at you.

Open mics would be the next step...Just have fun with it...if you hate it...don't do it again and enjoy playing for your own pleasure!

Good luck my friend!

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline CF

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 11:38:59 AM »
Quote
my singing is bad, but I'm a blues guy so....

In my opinion, this don't wash. You can't sing but you play the blues so it doesn't matter? Imagine if Son House was a bad singer. We wouldn't care half as much for his music.

Quote
My singing is pretty tepid. I can play though. What to do?


Honestly, as someone who plays, stick to open mics, family & friends gatherings & playing for yourself. If you really can't sing then you're really not doing the blues or yourself much justice by making the public listen to you, ha ha. OR, play behind someone can sing, that may be your ticket.

Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline dj

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 02:38:54 PM »
Quote
My singing is pretty tepid. I can play though. What to do?

Practice your singing.  Sing in the car.  Sing in the shower.  Sing while washing the dishes.  Sing as often and as loud as you can.  Think about what you're singing.  Think about how you want to sing a given phrase or line, and whether you're achieving what you want.  Write down the words to songs and mark out phrases, breathing points, and where you want to apply things like vibrato.  Record yourself, and work on what you don't like.  Take singing lessons.  You don't need a "good" voice.  You just need to sing in tune, with phrasing, dynamics, a bit of technique, and conviction.

   

Offline JTBlue

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2008, 06:25:01 PM »
Find a local place with an open mic night and invite enough friends to make it a friendly audience.  You just need to break the ice by getting yourself out there.

Good luck, and post your performance on this site.  You may get some Weenies, depending on where you live!

JTBlue

Offline samjessin

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2008, 06:57:50 PM »
pretend they are girls in your apartment and let 'er rip.

Offline Cleoma

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2008, 09:37:58 PM »
Who says you have to play "out"?  For me, some of the best and most fun music I play is when I get together with a few other people and we play for fun and for each other.  See if you can find one or 2 other people who like that kind of music, get together and play some.  So what if they both also play guitar and sing?  Take turns doing the singing, play along together, learn from each other,  and have a nice social evening.  Music is the best social activity I know of and absolutely the best way to meet people, it might even improve your love life!  Of course it could wreck it too!!  Just kidding -- but I am serious when I say that performance is definitely not central to playing the blues or any other kind of music.  PLAY is the key element, you're doing this for fun, right???  It absolutely is not necessary to perform in front of an audience unless you actually want to. 
Suzy

Offline frankie

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 03:21:32 AM »
Who says you have to play "out"? 

An excellent question.

performance is definitely not central to playing the blues or any other kind of music.  PLAY is the key element...

Say it again!

performance is definitely not central to playing the blues or any other kind of music.  PLAY is the key element...

I couldn't agree more.  In my experience, the skills needed for performance and those needed for playing music are different in nature.  In my opinion, a healthy attitude toward playing will bring more personal satisfaction than pursuing performance, but ymmv.

JugStruggler

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2008, 07:34:32 AM »
Is it that you don't like the sound of your voice, or that you are actually singing of key?  If it's the first, you probably need to get used to it, but voice lessons might be able help.  If you're out of key, you need to learn to sing in key.

I really think musicians can be divided into two groups.  Those who want to play out, and those that don't. 

Quote
don't think I'll become a regular performing musician, although I'd love to

Sounds to me that you do actually want to play out, and it's likely that you'll find that it quite enjoyable after you get over the first few uncomfortable trips to the stage.

Open mics are the obvious place to start, but if you can do it near where you live, busking is a great way to begin to get comfortable.


Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2008, 08:26:05 PM »
Quote
Stage fright has me by the short hairs. My singing is pretty tepid. I can play though. What to do?

Just a question here son but, ain'tchoo never heard of alcohol? I mean did you ever hear of any of the ol' guys playin' dead sober?

But seriously...get loaded and have fun. Its the way this thing is done. Then you won't care what your voice sounds like, and if the audience sees you having fun, they probably will too. Some consideration should be given to venue though, a church basement might not be such a great place to be showing the affluence of inkahol.

Some classical musicians have been using Inderol, a heart or blood pressure medication to deal with their nerves at auditions, it evidently steadies the hands. Is this the next big doping scandal ? Julliard professors doing a perp walk for hooking their star pupils up with pre competition drugs?
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Moo, eh!

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2008, 09:53:43 AM »
Oh God!  I just had my first "public" play last night  (I think it was the Havana Club Rum that did it).  Doubled up with my best friend who lives 4 hours away, who was in town last night after our big Folk Festival here.  Well, worked our way thru Death Letter Blues, St. James Infirmary, How Long Blues, Statesborough Blues,  Hesitation Blues, Friend of the Devil and a few more... well, once we finished this and everyone's girlfriend/momma/sister/brother is gone/run off/dead his fiance' asked why we liked to play.. we both said it was for the fun of it.  "Fun?" she says...and rolls her eyes.

Gotta love it!
Tom R.

Offline waxwing

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2008, 08:58:36 PM »
There's certainly some truth to Mr.O'M's POV. A little alcohol can certain remove a few inhibitions which often get in the way of a good performance. Also make sure that your audience has imbibed a good deal, too.-G-

If you really feel that you are the kind of player who would like to play for others and just need to get over the hump, I would recommend an open mic in a lively bar where you get the feeling that a lot of folks may not be listening at all. This is a very freeing sensation, actually. And, let's face it, that was the situation many of the old players played in with no amplification at all.

Another thing I would recommend would be to start by playing some of your easiest material. I can guarantee you that virtually no one is going to be impressed by how close you are playing something to the original (or that you made it up yourself), nor how complex the finger picking is. Playing something you are comfortable with, singing something simple in an easy voice, something with a feeling you can get behind, and having fun, will go a long way and even if you think no one is listening, you will probably get one or two compliments on even the simplest finger picking.

All for now,
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Richard

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2008, 09:39:24 AM »
It was put to me that playing out in the blues world means you are doing a number mit vocal as "a piece" and whether your singing and\or playing is good or bad, you offering the combined output as the "piece".

Not everbody can sing, just listening to innumerable blues recordings will soon confirm that, so get out there and have a go - I can't pretend to great at either playing or singing and what really bugs me is I can't remembr the damn lyrics when I do get up there  :-X
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Mike McLaren

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2008, 09:56:41 AM »
JTBlue and JugStruggler makes some good points. Don't be adverse to using a capo to find the right key for your voice for every song. Capos are not as evil as some folks make them out to be. Once you find the right key, anybody can sing. It's not about the voice, it's about the song... look at Bob Dylan, Neil Young. Kim Carnes.

And pack an open mic with friendly faces.

I play out for a living, sometimes I take a student or two with me to help them get their feet wet. It's not a question of why play out; once you know it's time to play out, it's time... that's why we've been practicing as much as we have. So I give my students a couple of things to remember:

1) You're better than you think you are (we're our own worst critics).
2) Nobody plays better than anybody else; each of us plays the way we do.
3) Half the audience isn't even paying attention.
4) The other half is paying attention only half the time.
5) If it were a life and death situation, you'd have a gun in your hand instead of a guitar.

Get out there and play. If Bukka White, Lottie Murrell, Henry Thomas... hadn't played out, we'd have missed some good blues.

If you fall down, get up and do it again. If you fly like an eagle, just remember that there will be days when you fall down.

Mike
 ;D
Woke up this morning... I think.

Offline Coyote Slim

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Re: The "Afraid to play out" song and dance
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2008, 12:21:45 PM »
Stage fright... I find it helps if you're already super-paranoid.  I figure I'm being watched all the time so... hold on a minute... okay, sorry, thought I heard someone behind me...     :D

My two cents:

Be comfortable with the material before performing it in public (though busking or playing at a noisy open mic where not many are paying attention can be a good way to break in a new tune that you're working on).

Surprisingly, I don't recommend alcohol as a solution to stage fright (I just put Mr. O'Muck into hysterics, I know).  Maybe one drink... but it's a fine line between feeling mellow and uninhibited and not being able to sing and play to your best ability.  Too many drinks may just increase your sense of unease -- alcohol tends to bring out things in us that while sober we can somewhat control.  It's one thing to be kicking it with friends and having a few beers and playing some tunes and another to be on a stage in front of people.  I look at performance on stage as being something professional -- would you knock back a few drinks before work?  Maybe a beer at lunch...  ;)   Alcohol doesn't make you confident, confidence makes you confident.
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

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