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 My solo stick debut train wreck 
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Post My solo stick debut train wreck
I teach brass at a few places around my area. They had an adult student recital last night so I wanted to do a stick tune. I got my stick a year ago Friday. My goal was to learn 40 tunes in 2 years. Well Im sort of half way there. I know about 17 tunes now but they need a lot of polishing. I can fumble my way though. Hopefully by Interlochen My chops will be much more refined. Anyway I did Seals Kiss From A Rose. Another goal was to do a live performance . Thought I was ready as I could get though the tune at home mostly perfectly sort of. I wanted the opportunity to play in front of a crowd to get the nerves out of the way and to experience a real performance. It was a train wreck!! That didnt bother me though as I figured I might fumble a bit but not as bad as I did. Im happy I did it and will do it again. It was kind of a lesson for the other adult students to just get up and play and not worry about how things go .

I noticed a lot of little changes that seemed to throw me like the lighting, the sound which ran through the monitors which sounded good but weirdly hearing yourself coming out of the house kind of throws you a bit. I sat on a stool so my stick was not exactly where it usually is. My fingers seemed to not respond like I had rigor mortis or something. I video taped it and laughed at how bad the performance was but Im keeping it as a comparison for the future. Ill share it at stick camp but not online.

I learned a lot playing in front of 65 people last night. It was a train wreck but it was also a great success in that I learned a lot and I got up and played in public and I had fun. Id do it again in a heart beat.

How do you guys tackle nerves other than just getting used to it. How do you deal with distractions during performances? Anyone else ever had a horrible train wreck?

Rob

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:13 am
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
I still have problems with nerves/inner negative dialogue, at times. I try to accept it and learn from it. it definitely gets better the more you play.

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:20 am
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
Cool, I love me a good train wreck! The basis of my style...

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:27 am
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
ROb, we all go through that. For me, the biggest challenge was... just about everything! And I've been playing live everywere from small clubs to footbal stadiums for all my adult life.
The stick makes it all new again, plus the fact that you're alone on stage and that it's so damn sensitive that the slightest movement in the hand can make your beatifull performance sound terrible for eternity.
I have a friend that stoped coming to my concerts because she said it almost gave her a heart attack, all the stress she could feel from me on stage. Always on the verge of disaster! She said I shouldn't risk exposure like that at such an early stage.
I kept on going: small clubs, restaurants owned by friends, even playing for my family making them sit and watch... every person that came to the studio for the past year had to hear a song at least.
A couple of nights ago I was invited to perform a song on a show, my friend was singing there and we ended up playing sacrifice toghether: she was the happiest person in the world, saying it's a different musician altoghether on the stick.
and I'm still a newby!
There's no other way around it but through: you have to live any of those situations to incorporate that experience. Like Kev said: it gets better with time. Bit by bit, every new experience is invaluable. One day, you'll be playing for 10.000 people and you'll do great, because you already made every possible mistake and survived it - You won't even think about it.
Just put yourself in the spotlight. I'm planning on going to interlochen next year, three reasons: you guys are all amazing, learning from Greg and Bob and, the hardest of them all: playing one song for all of you: I know I will be awfull. There will be stick players all around!!! Even the simplest thing will have mistakes - you guys will make it a completely new level of stress, worst than unknown audience. But I will do it. The result: one day I will visit and jam with Emmet... and I wont suck. :)
Ain't life grand?
Cheers
Rodrigo

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:37 am
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
In the words of the immortal Homer (not the Greek one, the Simpsons one):



The lesson is: never try.

You need some trainwrecks along the way. Best to get them out of the way, as like Rodrigo and all have said, just keep at it. I'm already prepared to suck so hard at Interlochen, because on Ann Arbor Stick night once a month, I've been crashing and burning in front of the real Stick players and they still let me come back for another try at that 4-chord jam thing where suddenly all I can do is play a bassline. Two seconds ago, I was fricking Yngvie, then it's my turn to solo and all I could do is keep the bassline going. Heavy sigh...just gotta keep doing it, and fortunately for me, no one is paying money to see me, and I don't have to accompany a singer, like Rodrigo. Leaving me a singer as a victim in a train wreck as well!

But Rob, you'll do better next time. Thanks so much for sharing this and letting us fellow train drivers know that accidents happen but it's still a fun ride!

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:37 pm
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
I'd be open to suggestions or books or anything on performance stuff. Ultimately it's a mind game. I guess that's why I got up and played to try and figure out stuff on the performance side of things.

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:23 pm
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
Hi Rob.
In Australia we would say something like " Good on ya, for havin a go".

I really just echo what Rodrigo said so eloquently. Maybe I am a year or so ahead of you as far as public performing goes. Like Rod said, take every opportunity to play it outside of your personal space. I checked my stick diary after reading the story and it was a bit like me 12 months ago. This year so far I have done 22 open mic nights at 7 different venues, plus markets , busking and of course if my friends or wifes friends come round, its " hey have a listen to this for a moment"

I wrote a bit about this on the forum but like you said there are a whole new bunch of variables, sound , light , noisy crowds, its all a bit rushed, all unknow until until the Instant they occur, no rocking up hours in advance to sound check to perfection. I recall a couple of times where I could barley see the frets, which was at a time when I really needed to, another had a floor mounted flood aimed straight up blinding me when I did look down, involving some on the fly shuffling to stay on mic , sing and not be dazzled.
For a while, shutting out all the other noise was something I focussed on, that was a real distraction at first, coupled with bad foldback or no foldback.I start With something simple I can play easily under any circumstances but still gives people a good intro to the instrument, during that piece I adapt myself to the Sonic & Visual surroundings.
I go to Markets and just play & play and play as much as I can.
These days I cant wait to get out and do it, its always challenging , its very exposed solo, but its the only way forward.
Its great that you posted this , its just part of the evolution of performance and that is for me now as bigger part of the Project as playing the instrument itself, the way I am and how I come across.

Some mention being "ready " for seminars also, I worried lots about this on the way to StickCamp in Europe but in the end just being there and doing whatever it is you can is enough, more than enough, the experience, People and Learning completely overwhelm the notion of measuring capability, which is just a momentary thing as playing progresses.
My next targets are local cafes and the many Galleries around that often have soloists playing at opening nights, I think a Stick would be much cooler than anything they have had so far!!

so after all that rambling , keep at it, do lots. In a year you will probably look back and be amazed at the trip. Cheers B :D

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:26 pm
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
I've been at it for 2 or 3 years pretty seriously and a couple before that just pecking around and I still feel very clumsy at times and usually can't make it thru a tune without a train wreck so serious that it's hard to just keep going and play thru it. That's ok when recording cause you can just punch back in or fix a clam. Right now my clams are more like lizards. I'm pretty adept at coming up with pretty good musical arrangements and I know exactly what I'm trying to do but I haven't reached the plateau where everything feels comfortable under my fingers and I can just cruise. Having "musical headroom" I call that. And that's a new and strange feeling for me after spending many decades of my life on stage playing real cocky and expressive on several other stringed instruments. Longer hours in the shed is apparently what I need. Gettin' there tho.


Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:59 pm
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
Don't let it get you down.... it was no doubt a great learning show for you. Sometimes gigs are just train wrecks no matter what. But you know what...those train wreck gigs make wayyyyy better stories than the ones you nail to the wall.

One time I forgot all 30 songs for no reason...they swore I was on drugs. I have never done drugs in my life....it was horrid. Lol.

Good for you for going at it and I hope your next show is more to your liking.

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Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:26 pm
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Post Re: My solo stick debut train wreck
lol Skype lessons with Steve Adelson: lol he's like "OK now go to C..." and I'm like "Thwap-hack-sputter-play an Eb-Then a D-then an Aminor..." And he's like, crying... and I'm like "oooo..." And then he's like "Okay, try a C C-E-G" and I play an almost F# diminished thing, searching, fumbling for the chords like a baffled idiot... and I can see it in his eyes, he's like "WTF...?" Then I'm a bit rattled and he asks me some simple theory question (intervals) and it takes a sec, but at least I get that right. Pretty much every lesson I had was like that. I recorded them all, they are quite entertaining. I get to see and hear Steve burn like an M'effer, and then me go "hack-thwap-thwappity thwappity... long pause... thwap-hack thap-thwap..."

All good - heck, it took me almost a whole day to get "Mary Had a Little Lamb" together and I still massacred it when I played it. And then, it took a whole bunch of attempts to get it semi passable and videotape it... Although, I did use tritone subs for the chords on that one... Anyways, I destroyed that piece and I didn't even have an audience hahaha

I bet Rob didn't sound too bad at all, just my opinion...

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