Saturday, June 10, 2006

Well, I've survived my first "real" gig - another first out of the way! I was surprised and honored by how many friends and family made it out - some driving quite a distance. Thanks everyone!

Took half the day off yesterday to rest before the show. Pruned the house plants and watched a couple concert videos (Bensusan and Renbourn) for inspiration. It is amazing how as I perform more for an actual audience, I am perceiving more from watching these great players perform (at least I think I am). In particular one thing I have noticed is even guys like Pierre and John aren't playing everything spot-on all the way (which I knew before), but what I notice now is their reaction to little off-balance moments and lapses in concentration or precision. There are many ways to react to such moments. The easiest and most natural for me is to just get flustered and fumble for the last part I felt comfortable with. But these guys have learned (or maybe it is a natural instinct) to react very quickly and just keep going, find your center again, and play on.

My opening set last night seemed to pass by extremely quickly. There were a couple moments, in Great is Thy and County Down I think, where catching my balance again took a bit too long, but things mostly went according to plan. After playing four tunes, I was ready to make an exit, but Michael insisted I play one more! It ended up being the Rakkish Paddy - not one that I had expected to be playing, but it came across alright considering. Lost my place for a second at the end of the first loop in the B section (that little descending run), but otherwise it was ok. The audience seemed really into the material which I am grateful for.

One of my spiritual mentors back in Amherst was really into golf and he used to talk about how golf was 20% physical and 80% mental. I think performance is very much like this - there is a huge mental component in terms of letting go of the ego and not giving in to nerves before all that technique you spend so long building can really come out. Being in a situation like last night is really the best teacher for this. I am slowly "getting it" ;-)

1 comment:

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