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View Full Version : Recital -- lessons learned



Harold O.
03-22-2009, 08:10 AM
I played a recital at my local Guitar Merchant yesterday. This was my second time on stage. I played and sang Five Foot Two and followed with Big Rock Candy Mountain.

It was mostly kids playing, a couple of pianos, a lot of electric guitars, I was the token old guy.:old:

This was my second recital. There were about 50 people in the crowd. Nerves got to me and I stumbled once or twice along the way. So I am frustrated by not doing better. But I learned a couple of things while up on that stage and wanted to pass them along.

I was hungry. Missed lunch due to a busy morning then arrived just in time for the show. That made me a little shaky. I'm a reasonably calm fellow anyway, but getting in front of a crowd takes guts and mine were empty.

Big Rock Candy Mountain has multiple verses and I felt myself tensing up as it went along. A little shorter song might have better dodged the nerves.:music:

I got to practice once or twice on my own, but didn't get enough practice/warm-up. Aside from settling in on the strum, I needed more time to run through the lyrics and tune my voice.

Looking back, I realize that I went up there hoping the crowd would like me. That was a mistake. I've practiced and played these songs many, many times. I should have approached the stage thinking "I know I can do this and these folks will like it." In other words, I should have gone up and attacked the show rather than ask permission.

So a few key lessons came from the experience:
1) Get yourself physically comfortable. Have something to eat, go to the restroom, get used to the lights, etc.
2) Give yourself time enough to warm up the ukulele, your hands, your voice.
3) Understand that you are there because you belong there. Those people came to listen to you. Show off your work, be proud of what you've done to get there.
4) Have fun. Do well, but be prepared to laugh at yourself.

I will do better next time. That's always my goal -- do a little better each time.

ukantor
03-22-2009, 09:42 AM
That's good advice. One of the best things that happened to me during a performance was the first time my mind blanked out completely. It is the thing you dread most, but when it happens you learn that it is not the end of the world. Once you've coped with that (and you WILL) it is one less thing to worry about.

One thing I find very helpful is to go somewhere where there are lots of people coming and going, sit yourself down, and just strum and sing for yourself. I don't mean busking. Do it when you've got a bit of time to kill, and don't set out to engage the passers-by. They will react to you, usually cheerfully and positively, but just smile and get on with your playing. It is surprisingly difficult to ignore all the distractions going on around you, but you will learn to shut it out, and to concentrate on what you are doing. And that experience will help enormously when you come to face an audience.

Ukantor.

seeso
03-22-2009, 06:39 PM
Very cool, Harold. Congrats and rock on.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, I'm sure others will benefit from it.

CoLmes
03-22-2009, 08:18 PM
what ukantor said was right on, it's def. good going out and playing somewhere public.. once you get comfortable, throw out a hat see if you can make some change :)

for me, i still haven't gone on a stage besides a little music 'talent' show they did at my college.. i didn't sing but if they do it again i think i feel comfortable enough to do it now..

what i do when im home is go to the jetty in Plymouth and just sit and jam for awhile, sing if i feel like it, see how people react, one lady actually thanked me the other day

:) fun times.

Howlin Hobbit
03-23-2009, 06:33 AM
So a few key lessons came from the experience:
1) Get yourself physically comfortable. Have something to eat, go to the restroom, get used to the lights, etc.
2) Give yourself time enough to warm up the ukulele, your hands, your voice.
3) Understand that you are there because you belong there. Those people came to listen to you. Show off your work, be proud of what you've done to get there.
4) Have fun. Do well, but be prepared to laugh at yourself.


One thing I find very helpful is to go somewhere where there are lots of people coming and going, sit yourself down, and just strum and sing for yourself. . . It is surprisingly difficult to ignore all the distractions going on around you, but you will learn to shut it out, and to concentrate on what you are doing. And that experience will help enormously when you come to face an audience.

Great advice! I like the part about "...be prepared to laugh at yourself." I think that's probably my band's biggest saving grace.

Harold O's #3: I've long maintained that audiences in general are on your side. It's not like there's no such thing as a "tough crowd" but that those are simply extremely rare.

seeso
03-23-2009, 07:14 AM
Remember, audiences want to like your performance. They are not there to have a bad time.