The value and satisfaction of performing your original music live….
I think a landmark event in my life was when I played my first gig of my own music. And what a learning process it has been over the last several years. I will guarantee that if you are a guitarist, in this competitive world today, playing your own music is one of the most satisfying things you can do. More than just a gig here or there with someone else’s music, or more than just playing a good solo, performing your own music will teach you a lot about yourself and mean more to you and the listener in the long run.
It took me years to finally get the courage to perform my music live. Why? I have been playing professionally for 30 years before.I definitely was not afraid of performing on stage…no, I think, looking back, it was the fear of possibly failing that kept me from doing it for a long while. I remember thinking to myself…”what if nobody likes my music”. I believe this is a familiar fear many guitarists have. They sit on their music and never finish it, or never play a live gig with their original music, for fear no one will like it. It’s much safer to just dream about it, and let people wonder…. But believe me, knowing that your own music can excite a crowd full of people has to be one of the most rewarding feeling ever. Hey, you are never going to please everyone, that is for sure, but I will bet that no matter what you think of your own music, there will be someone out there who wants to hear it. But once again, you will never know until you put it out there!
You learn so much….like, which songs work, which songs don’t, and why. How can I arrange this song better, how to book the band… who is appropriate on drums…, bass, etc. I have learned that just because someone is the “hottest” guy around doesn’t mean he or she is right for the gig. Talking on a microphone can be scary at first. But you just have to go for it. After a few times it gets easier and easier, believe me.! This introspection is a healthy process. You can overcome fears by taking them on..
But what I want to say is…..and it sounds simple…”just do it”……for all the reasons….Organizing your music…writing charts, putting them in the appropriate order,rehearsing the band, booking gigs, all this can tell you a lot about who you are. And is the best way to improve in a lot of ways.
I have had the privilege to go to Japan several times to play my own music. And I perform regularly in Los Angeles at the Baked Potato. Usually I perform to a predominantly “guitar based” audience. But a few weeks ago I was able to play a Jazz festival in Portland Oregon, to a mixed crowd, probably 99.9% NOT guitarists. I was really concerned that we may not be able to reach many people, especially since they were mostly not musicians. But soon after we began we could tell that the audience really liked it. We were a big “hit”. Nothing beats that remarkable feeling of reaching people through music. And to do it to a mostly non-musician crowd was an extra rewarding feeling.
And besides all this….there are a thousand guitarists who can play a great solo, or who are really funky, or get great sounds..whatever……..but to write a song and see it come into fruition and then see it accepted by people of all walks of life, now that to me is something. A real feeling of accomplishment. Again, everyone is not going to like everything, but I think if you are one of the many hesitant to put your own band together, you will be surprised at how many people willreally dig your stuff.
Sometimes you can analyze things in life too much..maybe the fear of failing is one. You have to just get out there and play your stuff…dont wait until you are 50 years old. It will teach you a lot about yourself, make you a better musician, and at the end of the day, make you a better person.
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