Posts Tagged ‘performance’

At the Sunderland Music Festival

Posted by Brian on 25th February 2012 in Fingerstyle Guitar, Journal, Performing

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege of playing at the Sunderland Lions’ Music Festival along with four of my guitar students. The tune that I chose to play this year was “Dune” by Bob Evans.

Last spring, on May 1st, I got to see Bob Evans play a concert at The Earl Pub in Stouffville. At the concert, he mentioned that there was a transcription of his song “Dune” available for free on his website. On May 2nd, I started to work on the tune. It took me three months to learn the tune, and another three months before I was able to try it out at an open mic. At long last, in approximately the same amount of time that it takes to make a baby, it was ready to be presented “for real” at the festival.

Below, is the video of me playing “Dune” in Sunderland. And while it is not my best performance of the tune, I’m pretty pleased with the results. At one point, I squeezed the neck too hard and produced an awful noise that was supposed to be a chord, and later on I had a minor brain cramp where I momentarily forgot where I was going, but overall, I was happy with the result. (And the adjudicator had nice things to say too!)

So, (with apologies for the quality of the audio and video) here I am playing “Dune” at the 2012 Sunderland Music Festival:

Adjudication

Posted by Brian on 13th February 2012 in Beginners, Musicianship, Performing

A regular theme of mine since starting this blog has been the importance of getting out and performing for people. Around the time I started this blog I committed to practicing what I preach and I’ve been a regular attendee at one local open mic and have put in a couple of appearances at a couple of others. Long time readers will know that I also entered the Sunderland Music Festival a year ago:

“The Sunderland Lions Music Festival is intended to promote higher standards of musical awareness and achievement in our community by providing young musicians with opportunities for public performance and professional assessment.” — Mission Statement

While “young musician” doesn’t quite describe me in terms of chronological age, it does describe me in terms of the potential for growth in my musicianship. And the experience of entering the festival last year was a great one. The festival is “adjudicated“. This means that a professional musician actively listens to your playing and critiques it. This is a very different experience from participating in an open mic, or singing around the campfire, or pretty much any other performance experience available to amateur performers. Most people after hearing you play will describe it in terms that are some variation on “good” or “bad”. An adjudicator will comment on your tempo, phrasing, dynamics, and other aspects of your playing. These are the things that make your playing “good” or “bad”, but most people are not musically literate enough (or energetic enough) to break down the elements of your playing and categorize the things that you do well – or not-so-well.

Last year the adjudicator praised my phrasing, but pointed out a lack of dynamics in my playing. So now, I pay more attention to my dynamics. I’ve discovered, both by playing and listening, that dynamics can really grab the attention of your audience and can really help to convey the emotion of a tune. I also found it very interesting listening to the critiques of other musicians, particularly those who played other instruments.

This year, I’ve signed up again and I’ve persuaded a number of my students to sign up as well. I’m really looking forward to hearing what the adjudicator will say about my playing this year. I’m also curious as to what he will say about my students’ playing. As a teacher I imagine that the experience of having someone analyzing my students’ playing will be very educational as well.

If you are interested in checking out an adjudicated performance, the Open Guitar Class of the Sunderland Music Festival will take place at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at the Sunderland United Church, 10 Church St., Sunderland.

 

The Next Step…

Posted by Brian on 3rd July 2011 in Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitar, Journal, Performing

For the 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, I am pleased to report that yesterday, I played my first full set as a solo instrumentalist.

It was at the Stouffville Strawberry Festival. I played a full 50 minute set as part of the York Region Fingerstyle Guitar Association’s “Showcase”. It was… not horrible. It was… fun… fun in the way that I imagine bungy-jumping is fun. I lived, therefore it was fun.

I realized shortly after I was invited to perform that I was going to have to play pretty much every song I knew. I had to go back and dust off a couple of tunes that were all but forgotten to fill out the full fifty minutes. I even learned a new tune. In a new tuning! It meant more practice. It meant more focused practice. All good things.

Now I’m looking forward to next time. Next time I will try to remember that I don’t have to tune by ear when I have a tuner on the ground in front of me. (Sorry for the delay folks – though it did help fill out the set.) Next time I will have more repertoire. And next time, (hopefully) it will be more fun… maybe even fun like a birthday party is fun.

This is Interesting: Context Matters

Posted by Brian on 28th April 2011 in General Music, Mildly Off-Topic, Performing

Here is an interesting article from about four years ago:

The Washington Post decided that it would be fun to get Joshua Bell, an internationally recognized concert violinist, and have him busk in the Washington Subway. He made just over $32 in just under 45 minutes, but that is perhaps the least significant observation arising from the experiment…

Read the article from the Washington Post.

Watch an excerpt from the video on YouTube: