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Thread: Feeding off others.

  1. #1
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    Default Feeding off others.

    I did the downtown music walk last weekend. I was sponsored by a women's clothing store. It was unseasonable cold and not a lot of people came through. I felt like I didn't play very well. My wife, who was there for a little while, said that I did fine, but that I do better when I have people to interact with while I play. That I need feedback. People singing along or clapping or moving to the rhythm. There were times when there was no one in the store. Honestly, I do my fair share of playing in front of people, and most of the time is scares the heck out of me. I usually get over it after a few songs, but I'm not one to naturally get up in front of people. But I do it anyway. I know that some people can't play if there is anyone in earshot. Other people you almost have to fight them for the microphone. Anyway, I thought that I would throw it out for discussion.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  2. #2
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    Agreed, I always feel & play better when the audience is into it, tapping their feet, or singing along.

  3. #3
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    I'd bet that an audience, even just on YouTube, drives a person to improve their playing in the same way writing for an audience improves your writing.
    Tiny Tenor spruce/mahogany
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    I'm not sure that a ladies clothing shop is a good test case. The customers go into the shop to shop, not to listen to music. The music may even be a distraction from trying to work out how they will look in the dress on the rack. i would suggest some well played elevator style music would be a good choice of repertoire, like Miles Davis, rather than clap along tunes.
    So I think there is more to it that just the audience. There is the atmosphere and environment, the music being played and the audience.
    If you can pick and play the right music for a ladies clothing shop, they may love your work, but never show any outward signs while they spend the available time looking at clothes. The true test would be if they come back next time.
    So perhaps there could be a checklist:
    Who is the audience?
    Why is the audience there?
    What is the appropriate material?
    How to fit in with the environment and look like you belong there.
    It is a downtown music walk Bill. It is an annual event where the downtown stores sponsor some musician or musical group that performs in their store. People come downtown and walk from store to store, listening to the different musicians and then they vote for the performance that they like best. The stores sponsor musicians that they know, or they do video auditions and then offer to sponsor someone that they like. It is a music event. The owner of a woman's clothing store heard me and asked if they could sponsor me for the event. Perhaps that might make it more clear. I know why we didn't have a lot of people attend, it was because it was well below freezing and windy. But my question is, do you feel like you play better and get energy from an audience that interacts with you and your music?
    Last edited by Rllink; 04-11-2018 at 06:27 PM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  5. #5
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    For a short while I was playing at the Los Angeles Veteran's Center Hospital with two harmonica players. I've always been shy about playing solo in front of people, but with others I'm perfectly fine. I actually did some singing as well, which I only got comfortable doing since I've been playing with my group, using the vocal muscle makes improvements and I can attest to that.

    Most of the time it would go well, but too often someone would stop in front of us and start talking about them self to the point where we couldn't continue playing and have to wait for the person to finish the long winded story. Other times the two harmonica players would ignore the arrangements we setup at rehearsal and me keeping rhythm. I'd have to stop while they went off on their own. Sorry to say, it wasn't long before I had to drop out.

    Lucky my group, The CC Strummers do a variety of gigs through the year and absolutely, having an audience respond is very energizing. Every couple of months a few of us go to UCLA/Mattel Children's Hospital and go from room to room playing for the kids there, some very seriously ill. It's a great feeling when they break out in a smile, then beam when we give them a ukulele, the cost of which we donate to The Ukulele Kids Club. The head music therapist has told us that a child has not smiled for days, but did when we played. Extremely gratifying.


    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    I did the downtown music walk last weekend. I was sponsored by a women's clothing store. It was unseasonable cold and not a lot of people came through. I felt like I didn't play very well. My wife, who was there for a little while, said that I did fine, but that I do better when I have people to interact with while I play. That I need feedback. People singing along or clapping or moving to the rhythm. There were times when there was no one in the store. Honestly, I do my fair share of playing in front of people, and most of the time is scares the heck out of me. I usually get over it after a few songs, but I'm not one to naturally get up in front of people. But I do it anyway. I know that some people can't play if there is anyone in earshot. Other people you almost have to fight them for the microphone. Anyway, I thought that I would throw it out for discussion.
    I used the link that Bill provided to look up the event. A Friday evening, plus cold and dark outside; near forty stores competing for a limited footfall. An event that was perhaps really intended to get folk walking into stores that they wouldn’t normally go to and not that much about music? With all that in mind and the fact that you’re a bloke playing in a woman’s stuff store, and to a demographic that’s not your usual listener (who knows would be right for them and their??) I kind of think that the odds of ‘success’ were always going to be quite limited, be glad for what you came away with.

    From the public playing in groups that I’ve done I’m certain sure that a player normally gets fed (encouragement and moral support) and feedback (to a greater or lesser degree they like or otherwise what you’re doing) from an audience, that’s great when things are going well but tough when things aren’t. It’s how we react and manage when things aren’t going well that sets us aside and, of course, the tough situations give us learning and reflection opportunities. I suggest that you be pleased with yourself and mull over what went right, what the constraints were and how you might change things for the better - you done well really.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 04-12-2018 at 12:28 AM.

  7. #7
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    To answer your question, yes definitely. I mostly play for my daughters or neighbors, and my one daughter just naturally dances to anything that is kind of upbeat and "dancey". It makes me smile. So my style of playing has oriented more and more to this type of music.

  8. #8
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    I came to this realization, that I play better with an audience that is enthusiastic, when I tried to sit in my basement and video songs to put on the internet and my audience was a camera lens. In those cases I appeared to not be very enthusiastic in my playing. When I play at an event such as the music walk I have a play list of around fifty songs. I bring copies of the songs in folders with me and I have a poster that encourages people to request songs on the play list, dig out copies, and sing along. I like it when I can get people to sing along. It is interesting how many people will take me up on it. It is actually become somewhat of my draw to attract people in, and I know that people have expressly come to see me perform so that they can sing along. I've had them tell me that. I'm kind of like a live karaoke machine. For me, that is the best. I feel like there is a lot of energy when people do that. The worst for me is when I have an audience who does not respond at all. I was asked to play Amazing Grace at a church one time. As I got up front and played the entire congregation sat stoically and without any expression, watching me play and sing. It was very unnerving for me. I honestly do not remember performing the song. It is a blank spot in my experiences and I think that I have developed some sort of anxiety disorder just thinking about playing in that environment. Anyway, I just think that audience has so much to do with how one performs, and that is what I am interested in, other people's experiences. I appreciate everyone's input to the discussion.
    Last edited by Rllink; 04-12-2018 at 03:34 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  9. #9
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    Thanks for sharing your experience! You've given me great insight! My bandmate is like how you describe. He loves audience participation and encourages it. His worst nightmare is a quiet audience. I am the opposite! Which is great for us since I keep it together if the audience is meh. I am used to playing in quiet environments as "background music" for hospice/nursery or in church choirs where the audience doesnt always sing.
    My current stable:

    (Son of Snaggletooth) Romero Creations Tiny Tenor Spruce & Rosewood
    (Coco) Hanknn Koa Concert
    (Spruce Bringsteen) Burks Spruce Soprano
    (bootleg) aNueNue pineapple Concert
    (Toothless) IZ thinbody soprano w/ pickup

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