Performing with others

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  rickeymike 11 hours, 36 minutes ago.

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    A few weeks ago, a friend (more of an acquaintance really) asked for a guitarist to play with her when she entered a “folk songwriting competition.” Apparently she already had a fiddler and a couple of other musicians. I don’t know what got into me, but I replied that if she just needed some strumming, I’d be happy to play my uke. She ended up taking me up on my offer and we are all getting together this weekend. Now I’m freaking out because I don’t want them to realise I’m a total fraud and not a real musician. She said she’d send me the music to practice with tonight. Hopefully I can make up for lack of talent with lots of practice.



    Way to go, Robin.
    Gutsy move as in showing COURAGE, DETERMINATION & SPIRIT.
    Best wishes from all your RC friends!



    Way to put yourself out there Robin! Hopefully it’s something you’ll really enjoy. Be honest about your skills/passion and don’t worry about it if it doesn’t work out; they’ll find someone else and you’ll move on. I think trying it out will be a great way to learn and expand. Make sure you bring along the skills and techniques you’ve gained from RC101! How do you feel about playing in front of crowds?



    Thanks guys.

    Playing in front of crowds is okay (I think). It’s being in crowds that freaks me out (I’m a little bit agoraphobic).

    The thing that worries me about this is not so much performing in front of people, it’s disappointing my friend and the real musicians.

    As for the RC101 skills, they are at the limit of my abilities and I don’t want to mess up. I’m planning to play well within myself, so I’ll probably just stick to strumming as much as possible.

    As for the song, I just got it and there are a lot of E chords in there, but I think I can manage. I just need to decide which version of the chords I want to play.



    Hey Robin,

    what a great news! I’m sure you’ll do fine.
    I can give you some advices because I perform with ‘other’ on piano occasionally.
    Just master the pieces (practice practice) til you feel confident, relax and enjoy what your fellow band members are playing and enjoy the composition.
    Make sure the songs are both in your muscle memory as well as in your intellectual memory.
    I.e. If you analise how you walk, what foot first etc, you might trip, that is what might happen while you play and are in a musical flow. If you start thinking what you are doing you might cramp up.

    If you feel nervousness coming up, don’t look the audience into their faces for approval while playing.
    Rather glare slightly above their heads and imagine something calm like the forest or even your living room. Fool yourself to reset your mind.

    Don’t forget to BREATHE gently. We mammals tend to stop breathing or breathe very fast when detecting danger,
    So we are ready to run or fight a predator.
    You will rise your stress hormones, and that won’t come in handy at a performance.
    And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I make them all the time, but the audience hardly notices. They will generally only notice if you express fear so keep smiling. Bluff.

    If you do make a mistake, leave it behind you and play even more beautiful to compensate and stay in the rhythm.
    Mistakes are noticeable if you get out of the musical pulse.
    So if you don’t remember the chord, mute the strings and keep strumming softly
    or pretend paying till you catch up.
    Another trick; stop playing, listen and wiggle a bit so it looks like it is part of the arrangement.
    It’s just theater, people go out to get entertained.

    You are not what you produce, so don’t take things too personally.
    There is always somebody in the audience that doesn’t like the ukulele in general.
    You will probably never see the same audience again anyway.



    Be objective of what you can contribute.
    This way you can’t disappoint yourself or your friends or ‘real’ musicians.
    Don’t be sad that you aren’t Jake, like I’m not Herbie.
    But I’ve seen what you are capable of so don’t worry, Robin is cool.
    And most important, have fun. You are PLAYING your instrument so be playful
    So worse case scenario, if it will turn out to be just a one time experience, enjoy it hedonistically to the utmost. Though I can’t imagine that will happen. 🙂

    Last (bad) advice that you don’t learn at the academy; don’t drink or do drugs like Jimmy Hendrix or Charlie Parker, but sometimes just one glas of intoxicant can loosen you up a bit. 🙂
    After a few gigs, no more stage fright. Yippiii.

    If wish you great rehearsals and gigs.

    (Bit long comment)



    Thanks Jina.

    I just found out that the competition is judged based on recorded submissions, not live performances, so that takes a bit of the pressure off.



    What a bunch of great advise Jina. I could read that several times.
    I have one tiny thing that might help. Do you ever play E – 1402. I think it sounds good and is easy to get in and out of.
    I can totally relate, think I’m slightly introverted so crowds are not my comfort zone.
    One of the things I like about the ukulele over guitar is that when nerves play havoc the tenor ukulele is just physically easier to control.



    Hey Ron,

    With 1402 you play g# e e b, so you double the e.
    I figured that if you play E7 g# d e b 1202
    but mute the middle finger that makes the 7 by just touching the string
    and then do press the other strings while strumming.
    So g# x e b, 1×02 you will get the same note material g e b and sounds pretty much the same.
    I’ve learned this technique from Rockclass101 song ‘the Chicken’ at the octave accents.
    There are so many vids out on the horrid E chord.
    But so far I have not found this easy solution to E.
    Cool that 1402 works for you, I stick to the traditional E with my tiny fingers.:)

    One more thing on performing, make yourself believe you are not doing that for yourself. You’ve practiced hard to be able to show what you’ve worked on. Again people come to get entertained and you are giving them pleasure as a present.
    Take the focus off yourself and to the product, the song.

    Bjørk once said to a fellow artist that being emotional or insecure is selfish.
    I found that interesting that she didn’t consider her performances to be about herself, but about the product and audience.

    • This reply was modified 3 days, 14 hours ago by  jinajupiter.


    I can play 4441, 1402, and a whole bunch of other variations like 4447. It’s just a matter of deciding which one suits the song better. FWIW, I find 4441 easier than 1402.



    @recdog – by the way, I’m intrigued by the concept of thinking you are slightly introverted. I KNOW I am VERY introverted. Just out of interest, what does this test say? ( These sorts of tests usually say I’m at least 95% introverted.



    Wha ha, what a cool test! According to the test I’m a Campaigner
    ENFP-A. I would probably have had a totally different outcome a few decades ago.
    I was very insecure due to conditioning by one of my parents.
    My first performance was in an old folks house where I only had to play two chords. I was trembling all over. So scared of of what those grannies would think of me.
    Now many applause further I feel confident and if I fuck up on stage,
    so be it, life goes on. I didn’t die from it.
    The applause after performing was the best therapy I had,
    I also learned to live without the instant adoration, and appreciate myself just for who I am, not for what I do. Performing helped me in the process.



    INTJ-T here. I don’t think these tests are particularly revelatory, but they are a bit of fun, and I think the introversion/extroversion part is pretty accurate.



    Nice Robin! Hope the music is going well for you. Folk music people are overall really nice from my limited experience. 😁 I’m guessing your festival, or however they are running it, will be full if really sweet people and a laid back atmosphere. You totally got this.

    Took the test for kicks lol! It says i’m an “Adventurer” with a goofy looking painter grafic. ISFP-T (what is this?) 81% introvert, mental 53% observant, emotional is 60% feeling, 65% prospecting under work/ decision making, and 82% turbulent under how confident and assertive I am.

    Fun, some of the questions make it feel more like a well constructed bit of anon market research to me, but introvert and confidence is pretty spot on in being high scores.

    Great advice Jina! You’re awesome, and Ron thank you.



    Robin, I’m so with you on that ‘pretend musician’ thing. If anyone asked me to play something off the cuff, I would die on the spot! And too bad I missed the live “memory” session. That’s my biggest downfall (unless I play the same piece every day for the rest of my life, NOT)

    Jina, your advice is priceless. I may get up the courage to play a solo at the year end gala of my senior learning community.

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