On performing:

Posted by Brian on 4th May 2010 in Guitar, Journal, Performing

I’ve often wondered how my guitar playing might be different today had I done things differently when I was young. I’ve often thought, “If only I’d played more scales… done more ear training… focused more on theory…” But I’ve also considered the possibility that doing more work on the “mundane” things may have tipped the scales of enjoyment to the point where I dropped the guitar altogether. However, the one thing that I think I should have done more is to play for an audience.

I’m not sure what it is about the guitar that attracts introverted boys – or what it is about introverted boys that attracts them to the guitar, but for whatever reason, introverted boys are far and away the largest demographic in the guitar playing community – and I certainly fall into that group, and as such, I was never drawn to perform for others. As a result, now in my forties, I still find myself having “sausage fingers” whenever playing in front of an unfamiliar listener – despite being a very proficient player.

Most other musical disciplines place a heavy emphasis on performance. My eight year old son started piano lessons last September and had his first public performance less than two months later. A few months after that, he was asking if he could try out for the school talent show. He passed the audition and quite comfortably played two songs in front of the whole school.

Whether it is the introverted nature of most guitarists, or the introverted nature of most guitar teachers, there doesn’t seem to be the same emphasis on performance with formal guitar instruction. I’m starting to believe that this is a grave oversight on our part. And next year I will be strongly encouraging my students to perform and will be finding or creating opportunities to do so. And, in the interests of “putting my money where my mouth is”, I’ve committed myself to seeking opportunities to perform more as well. And this past Sunday, I performed for the first time at an Open Mic for fingerstyle guitarists. (More on that in a forthcoming post…)

So, for all you introverted boys out there, get out and play your guitar where others can hear it.  After all, music is meant to be shared.

3 Responses to “On performing:”

  1. […] a previous post, I talked about the importance of getting out and performing for people. And while I have, in the […]

  2. […] half dozen (or so) of you that read this blog regularly, you know that a little over a year ago, I committed myself to getting out and performing more. Shortly after that, I reported on performing at my first open mic as a solo instrumentalist. Now, […]

  3. […] one of my very first blog posts, over 4 years ago, I talked about my commitment to performing more […]

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