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DownUpDave
07-13-2015, 12:55 AM
I was asked to sing and play in front of an audence yesterday at an outside party. Full stage and sound equipment, just had to plug in and play. This was just my second time playing solo in front of others. I picked a song I knew by heart and could sing and play in my sleep.

Kinda different in front of a group of strangers though. I was solid through the first 2/3 than I missed a chord progression, then I paniced and went brain dead. I had no idea what I was suppose to play next so I just kept singing and playing whatever chords my fingers fell upon. I never stopped and got through it with my heart beating out of my chest. Needless to say my voice deteriorated radidly towards the end.

Two things learned, at this stage I need to have the music opened up and on a stand just in case I loose my spot. We notice all our mistakes SOOOOO much more than others do. A friend in the crowd said I sounded good, just a little shakey at the end. Felt way worse.

This post was to exorcise some demons and to let other beginners know there is life after a sketchy performance. If it doesn't kill you...... it can cripple you.........but only if you let it. Just do it cause life is too short not to. I am performing tonight at an open mic, with a group and no singing for me, woohoo!! I do have a solo fingerpicking part, another first for me. Gotta get back on the horse

turtledrum
07-13-2015, 01:59 AM
Dear Dave, .....we are always far more than any one moment in time..I salute you for bringing your passion for music to others. That is what an audience hears more than any individual note sung or played. Wish I could be there to hear you tonight!

DownUpDave
07-13-2015, 02:10 AM
Dear Dave, .....we are always far more than any one moment in time..I salute you for bringing your passion for music to others. That is what an audience hears more than any individual note sung or played. Wish I could be there to hear you tonight!

"We are always far more than any one moment in time" .........thank you for that, it's brilliant. I might have to write that out and stick it in my uke case. I appreciate it brother, cheers

Mivo
07-13-2015, 02:52 AM
You've got so much more courage than I do -- grats, Dave!

Good luck tonight!

Rllink
07-13-2015, 03:27 AM
Good for you. I think that performing in public is just like anything else you learn. It never starts out really good. But just like everything else you learn, it gets better the more you do it. So I would say you are on the road to stardom now.

DownUpDave
07-13-2015, 03:49 AM
Good for you. I think that performing in public is just like anything else you learn. It never starts out really good. But just like everything else you learn, it gets better the more you do it. So I would say you are on the road to stardom now.

Thanks Rolli, I use you for inspiration. I am an avid golfer and shoot low 80s but it was not like that 15 years ago. I use to have the first tee jitters real bad now I am as comfortable there as I am at my kitchen table. Repetition is the mother of all skill. Maybe in 15 years I won't be so nervous up on stage :o

Rllink
07-13-2015, 04:39 AM
I look forward to hearing about how it goes tonight. I find myself a little envious that you get to go out and entertain people tonight. I wish that I was.

Rllink
07-13-2015, 07:21 AM
Walk into a hospital or nursing home and you can entertain people almost any night you like.That is a very good point, but sadly I guess, I'm not noble enough to play that circuit.

rappsy
07-13-2015, 08:56 AM
Think of the joy it brings to others. Most people know what it takes to step on stage. It is appreciated and remembered.

turtledrum
07-13-2015, 09:18 AM
"We are always far more than any one moment in time" .........thank you for that, it's brilliant. I might have to write that out and stick it in my uke case. I appreciate it brother, cheers

Thanks, Dave!

(..... from a sister! :))

DownUpDave
07-13-2015, 04:58 PM
A number of you fine people wanted an update on the open mic performance. Although we were not as good as in our practice sessions I did nail my finger picking part which was at the very end of the song. I was as calm and relaxed as could be..........I think singing stresses my out :p

Thanks for your support it helps tremendously.

There is a friend on the boards here that is not doing very well, please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. We never know who's lives we can touch, even from afar and through electronic media.

k0k0peli
07-14-2015, 06:22 AM
Repetition is the mother of all skill. Maybe in 15 years I won't be so nervous up on stage :o Repetition is the mother of desensitization. Ever read the book or see the film THE RIGHT STUFF? Note the scenes where astronauts are 'desensitized' to tedious, tiring, and humiliating routines. Public performance can be like that. Get up there, sweating profusely. Bomb. Bomb again. Repeat until sweat dries up, until it's just routine. Or, be like those performers who NEVER get used to it, who always puke before a show, but go on and do it anyway. And some self-medicate first. Yow.

Anyway, I'm glad you survived your performance ordeal. When will you do it again?

k0k0peli
07-14-2015, 07:10 AM
The more you practice bombing, the better you get at it. I think of it as egg-laying. I derive that from the title of one of my standard references, a cherished book by Hermes Nye, emitted in 1965 by Oak Publications, titled:



How to be a Folksinger
How to Sing and Present Folksongs;
or, The Folksinger's Guide;
or, Eggs I Have Laid

Anatomically unlikely as it seems, I have indeed laid many eggs. All scrambled. Yow.

DownUpDave
07-14-2015, 08:12 AM
Repetition is the mother of desensitization. Ever read the book or see the film THE RIGHT STUFF? Note the scenes where astronauts are 'desensitized' to tedious, tiring, and humiliating routines. Public performance can be like that. Get up there, sweating profusely. Bomb. Bomb again. Repeat until sweat dries up, until it's just routine. Or, be like those performers who NEVER get used to it, who always puke before a show, but go on and do it anyway. And some self-medicate first. Yow.

Anyway, I'm glad you survived your performance ordeal. When will you do it again?


Depends.........are you refering to puking, sweating, bombing or desensitziting. I gave up "self medicating" five years ago. But thanks for asking about my "performance ordeal" :eek::eek:

Down Up Dick
07-14-2015, 09:55 AM
Well, I'm proud to be your name-brother. You're a better man than I am, Gunga-Dave. And even if you don't get usta performing on stage, you'll still enjoy it.

Keep on keepin' on, Bro! :old:

DownUpDave
07-14-2015, 11:35 AM
What we want to know is, who got voted off the island?

Good one......I love it. Fortunately we all had ammunity cards so all 4 band members are safe until next show.

turtledrum
07-14-2015, 12:02 PM
Way to go, Dave! And thank YOU for being an inspiration to those of us who haven't played a uke in public yet!

DownUpDave
07-14-2015, 12:12 PM
Well, I'm proud to be your name-brother. You're a better man than I am, Gunga-Dave. And even if you don't get usta performing on stage, you'll still enjoy it.

Keep on keepin' on, Bro! :old:

Thanks heaps brotherman :music:

DownUpDave
07-14-2015, 12:16 PM
Way to go, Dave! And thank YOU for being an inspiration to those of us who haven't played a uke in public yet!

Your time will come............sister, lol. Wondered if my gender assumpation would blow back on me. Too funny :o:o

Down Up Dick
07-15-2015, 02:44 PM
Hey, Dave, have you thought about "Seasons of the Ukulele"? Going' on there might give you a wealth of experience, and I'm sure everyone participating knows how difficult it is to do it. It certainly might be worth your while.

Nothin' ventured, nothin' gained! :old:

Tootler
07-15-2015, 10:10 PM
Two things learned, at this stage I need to have the music opened up and on a stand just in case I loose my spot.

NOOOOOOOOO!!

Don't give up on learning your song, it's so much better if you play without having your words on a music stand in front of you. Ultimately it will make you lazy. I know if I have my words in front of me because I am unsure of a couple of lines I end up looking at them all the time. Then you are not making contact with your audience.

The real lesson is that you need to learn to play through your mistakes. I often flunk chords while singing a song. You just have to keep going which is actually what you did. We all forget words from time to time as well and the other thing to learn to do is to be able to improvise. Recently I was at an open mic and one of the peformers - a seasoned performer who gigs regularly - forgot his words but he carried on; singing that he had forgotten his words and just generally making something up until he remembered the words and got back on track. I've virtually made up an entire verse in the past. Not very often, admittedly but strangely it's a good feeling when you do because you know you have dealt with the situation well.

As your friend said we are much more conscious of our mistakes than the audience is and they often don't notice it.

In the situation you were in, you did the right thing, keeping going and improvising until you got back on track. The experience you had is something that happens to everyone and it's important to learn how to deal with it.

DownUpDave
07-16-2015, 12:31 AM
NOOOOOOOOO!!

Don't give up on learning your song, it's so much better if you play without having your words on a music stand in front of you. Ultimately it will make you lazy. I know if I have my words in front of me because I am unsure of a couple of lines I end up looking at them all the time. Then you are not making contact with your audience.

The real lesson is that you need to learn to play through your mistakes. I often flunk chords while singing a song. You just have to keep going which is actually what you did. We all forget words from time to time as well and the other thing to learn to do is to be able to improvise. Recently I was at an open mic and one of the peformers - a seasoned performer who gigs regularly - forgot his words but he carried on; singing that he had forgotten his words and just generally making something up until he remembered the words and got back on track. I've virtually made up an entire verse in the past. Not very often, admittedly but strangely it's a good feeling when you do because you know you have dealt with the situation well.

As your friend said we are much more conscious of our mistakes than the audience is and they often don't notice it.

In the situation you were in, you did the right thing, keeping going and improvising until you got back on track. The experience you had is something that happens to everyone and it's important to learn how to deal with it.

Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to pen such a thoughtful reply.

You are correct on all your points and the two times I performed solo I did not have my music with me because I had the song memorized and wanted to sing, play and connect with the audience. I figured with my music in front of me I could have regained my place quickly. I perform with a 4 piece group and we perform our songs without sheet music so I am comfortable doing that. I guess I will just learn to become real good at "improvising" as you put it.

Phluffy the Destroyer
07-16-2015, 08:42 PM
The first time I solo'd I bombed badly for the exact same reasons you feel like you didn't do well. Once you make one little mistake things just escalate in your mind and you start to overthink your performance. There's some good advice about playing through your mistakes and stuff, but nothing to really tell you HOW to do that, so I'd like to offer you a little advice from personal experience. I'm actually quite comfortable talking in front of crowds and dealing with strangers 1 on 1. It drives my kids up the wall because I'll say just about anything to anyone... However, when I started playing, I was extremely self-conscious about playing the ukulele in front of strangers.

I don't know what you normally play, but this is what helped me get over the issue of playing in front of people.

- Pick 3 songs you love and practice them every single day. No matter what else you're doing for practice, include those 3 songs. If you're not going to practice.... play those 3 songs. Keep things SIMPLE. Don't go for songs with 12 chords and 3 octave changes. Pick songs with no more than 5 chords and easy lyrics.
- Once you learn those songs by heart, start practicing in public. Go to the park or better yet, a mass transit station like a bus or subway stop. Walk around town. Go down to your local farmers market and play. That sort of forces you to play in front of strangers, and hopefully it will help you learn to feel more comfortable doing it.
- Learn to never, under any circumstances, look directly at people while you play. I picked that tip up from watching an amazing local guitar player perform a few times.
- Learn to read and write music in grilles. Grilles are a form of notation used in jazz that allow you to make basic music notations in a minimal space. I can write out most songs I play on a piece of paper the size of a sticky pad and tape them to the top of my uke where no one can see them. That way I always have a reference and can concentrate on just singing the right lyrics without having to remember chords. This is what a grille looks like:
81588 I can fit 3-5 of those on top of my ukulele depending on how involved the song is...

So... I hope some of these suggestions help. Good luck!

bunnyf
07-17-2015, 12:46 AM
The first time I solo'd I bombed badly for the exact same reasons you feel like you didn't do well. Once you make one little mistake things just escalate in your mind and you start to overthink your performance. There's some good advice about playing through your mistakes and stuff, but nothing to really tell you HOW to do that, so I'd like to offer you a little advice from personal experience. I'm actually quite comfortable talking in front of crowds and dealing with strangers 1 on 1. It drives my kids up the wall because I'll say just about anything to anyone... However, when I started playing, I was extremely self-conscious about playing the ukulele in front of strangers.

I don't know what you normally play, but this is what helped me get over the issue of playing in front of people.

- Pick 3 songs you love and practice them every single day. No matter what else you're doing for practice, include those 3 songs. If you're not going to practice.... play those 3 songs. Keep things SIMPLE. Don't go for songs with 12 chords and 3 octave changes. Pick songs with no more than 5 chords and easy lyrics.
- Once you learn those songs by heart, start practicing in public. Go to the park or better yet, a mass transit station like a bus or subway stop. Walk around town. Go down to your local farmers market and play. That sort of forces you to play in front of strangers, and hopefully it will help you learn to feel more comfortable doing it.
- Learn to never, under any circumstances, look directly at people while you play. I picked that tip up from watching an amazing local guitar player perform a few times.
- Learn to read and write music in grilles. Grilles are a form of notation used in jazz that allow you to make basic music notations in a minimal space. I can write out most songs I play on a piece of paper the size of a sticky pad and tape them to the top of my uke where no one can see them. That way I always have a reference and can concentrate on just singing the right lyrics without having to remember chords. This is what a grille looks like:
81588 I can fit 3-5 of those on top of my ukulele depending on how involved the song is...

So... I hope some of these suggestions help. Good luck!

Ditto this. Nerves are quelled by confidence, which is boosted by practice. Don't pick hard songs to start off with. Just getting up there and performing is enough to worry about. Non-musicians aren't gonna know if you're playing lots of fancy pants chords or just a simple 4 chord progression or just three cowboy chords. There are lots of great dead easy songs, so pick one that you love and already are completely familiar with the lyrics(one less thing to worry about). Make it as easy as possible for yourself when you're first starting out. Save the tricky stuff for later or when you're in a more relaxed performance setting (maybe one where many others will have their sheet music out). I am not of the opinion that one MUST perform without sheet music. Of course this is preferred, but for nervous complete beginners, I think it's fine to have your music up there and not ever take your eyes off of it, if that's what it takes to keep things smooth and calm. Once you have a few performances under your belt and you start to get more relaxed and confident you can swap in those EASY songs that you've memorized. So now that you're doing easy songs that you REALLY know well and you can concentrate on your vocals. When I see weak performances at open mics, it's usually a guy trying to sing in a much higher key than they should be. Experiment with the key until you find the perfect one for your natural voice(and it won't necessarily be the same key for every song). I think that these guys just think they have weak voices and they plow through in what, for them, is just an unsinkable key. If they move away from the original key, I'm pretty sure they could find a sweet spot, no matter what they're vocal skills are. Transpose, use a capo, whatever. Get the song in a form where it's easy to play AND sing. Don't pick a song with a huge range. There are songs I like, but I don't perform them because they are out of my reach vocally, no matter what I do. Lastly, know your audience. When you pick your first few performance songs, pick ones that are familiar and have universal appeal. Your listeners will be far less critical when they are hearing a song they really like too. Good luck and keep at it, but remember "baby steps, keep it simple". PS, I started by playing at the beach, park and camping. These are all places where you might feel relaxed and not "on stage" but still public. It's like in behavior modification for the treatment of phobias, you just keep making closer and closer contact and the fear lessens.

Mxyzptik
07-17-2015, 03:38 AM
Ditto this. Nerves are quelled by confidence, which is boosted by practice. Don't pick hard songs to start off with. Just getting up there and performing is enough to worry about. Non-musicians aren't gonna know if you're playing lots of fancy pants chords or just a simple 4 chord progression or just three cowboy chords. There are lots of great dead easy songs, so pick one that you love and already are completely familiar with the lyrics(one less thing to worry about). Make it as easy as possible for yourself when you're first starting out. Save the tricky stuff for later or when you're in a more relaxed performance setting (maybe one where many others will have their sheet music out). I am not of the opinion that one MUST perform without sheet music. Of course this is preferred, but for nervous complete beginners, I think it's fine to have your music up there and not ever take your eyes off of it, if that's what it takes to keep things smooth and calm. Once you have a few performances under your belt and you start to get more relaxed and confident you can swap in those EASY songs that you've memorized. So now that you're doing easy songs that you REALLY know well and you can concentrate on your vocals. When I see weak performances at open mics, it's usually a guy trying to sing in a much higher key than they should be. Experiment with the key until you find the perfect one for your natural voice(and it won't necessarily be the same key for every song). I think that these guys just think they have weak voices and they plow through in what, for them, is just an unsinkable key. If they move away from the original key, I'm pretty sure they could find a sweet spot, no matter what they're vocal skills are. Transpose, use a capo, whatever. Get the song in a form where it's easy to play AND sing. Don't pick a song with a huge range. There are songs I like, but I don't perform them because they are out of my reach vocally, no matter what I do. Lastly, know your audience. When you pick your first few performance songs, pick ones that are familiar and have universal appeal. Your listeners will be far less critical when they are hearing a song they really like too. Good luck and keep at it, but remember "baby steps, keep it simple". PS, I started by playing at the beach, park and camping. These are all places where you might feel relaxed and not "on stage" but still public. It's like in behavior modification for the treatment of phobias, you just keep making closer and closer contact and the fear lessens.

I think there is a lot of good advice here, especially about the singing aspect. For me the ukulele is the perfect vehicle to carry a simple song.

I go on an annual fishing / camping trip with a bunch of buddies, 3 of them bring their guitars and me my ukulele and we try and play a few songs together. What I notice is that the singing is terrible and as a result the overall result isn't that great.

Over the last year I have really worked hard on both my playing and singing, the guys were very impressed at my progress from the previous year. What they didn't realize is that I have worked on my singing at least as much as my playing maybe more. So while my playing has improved from simple strumming to some finger picking there was also a significant improvement in my singing and that has had the bigger impact on someone enjoying what I'm presenting.

robedney
07-17-2015, 10:57 AM
Arthur Rubenstein was one of the greatest concert pianists of his time, and as I recall he performed well into his eighties. One man, one piano and a sold-out concert hall. I can't remember the ticket prices, but they were far from cheap. Late in his performance career -- at an engagement in Los Angeles -- he sat down and began his first piece -- and totally muffed it. He stopped cold, turned to the audience and in his charming, humble way said "well you permit me to begin again?" After thunderous applause he did just that -- brilliantly. A memorable performance. Your audience wants you to do well, and they typically are very forgiving.