photo from Istockphoto
Yesterday I played a gig with my band. We played our own songs and some covers as well.
It was a great night and we had a blast. The crowd was really enthoustiastic and particularly about our own songs that they’ve never heard before.
When we play covers, we only play the ones we really like and hope the audience feels the same way. The great thing about playing your own music and covers you really really like is that it doesn’t feel like you’re standing on a stage performing.
You can totally lose yourself.
I have also played in coverbands before with the goal of entertaining people. Play what the people want. And don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong about that.
In fact there’s a lot to learn and gain from playing in coverbands. But sometimes I was missing the spirit. I was playing on autopilot.
In my mind I was thinking of what i was going to do when I got home. Not a good sign.
Now with the songs that I write myself, I sometimes close my eyes and I’m in a state of trance that is just awesome.
I am concentrating on the song and the feel of the song with everything that I’ve got. My mind is going like…How do I sing my next sentence? Is it smooth enough? does it have dynamics? does my singing express what the lyrics are telling?
I’m doing it part consiously, part unconsiously. Does my guitar playing go wild on the right moments, is it cool and easy where it should be?
And not to try playing too many notes all the time. Sometimes it’s great just to play one or two notes or maybe nothing at all. Sometimes less is more.
It’s great to feel the exitement in every song and to put your whole heart into it.
And that’s a lot easier with songs you’re fond of. For me it doesn’t feel like performing.
I just stand there and when I’m in my upperstate, I don’t see an audience anymore.
It’s a total surrender to the heart the song. And sometimes you just need to rock the hell out of it.
So when you’re playing, enjoy the crowd, but don’t lose yourself to the crowd. Try to keep focused on the song with all you’ve got.
It’s pure zen. When you lose focus, just go back nice and easy and feel the core, the essence of what the songwriter (maybe that’s you) tried to bring across when he of she first wrote it.
Don’t be a performer but be the music.