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Bad performance....question


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We've all had bad nights performing, right? I had one last night - missed a few cues, blew too many notes, and just generally wasn't "on". I even played over a vamp cutoff once, which is a cardinal sin in theater work.:bangheadonwall: All in all, it just seemed that my concentration wasn't there. To be fair, many of the miscues grew out of timing issues from on-stage, but it's our job to cover those up so that the audience doesn't see them....even when the singer comes in and puts his down beat on the "and" of 2.:facepalm:

 

At the end of the show, I feel like I should be fired from the gig. I'm speaking with the director and talking about how to prepare for the challenges we're facing from stage, and a local music teacher comes over and tells us that this was the "best pit orchestra she had ever heard in this town".

 

My initial response::barf:

 

 

Here's the question: How do you guys respond when this happens? When you've had a good night, dealing with the audience is easy....but when you feel like you put on a performance that was walk-out material, how do you respond to a compliment? I honestly didn't know what to say, because I felt like running away and hiding from anyone and everyone who had seen the show, and was simply not expecting anyone to see it as worthy of any sort of praise.......

 

 

(Site Admin Note: This thread was originally in HCPP, and was moved here with permission from the OP. New posts start on page 4 of the thread. :wave: - Phil )

Edited by SteinbergerHack
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If you're a good musician' date=' you are always your own worst critic.[/quote']

 

Truth. The choreographer told us that all of the things we were fretting over were simply not big enough issues to be noticeable from the audience. Probably true, but that doesn't mean that we will be satisfied....

 

Grace.

 

You are 100% correct, and I have trouble with this one. I am biased towards perfectionism and don't hide my emotions well, so I have a very hard time being cordial while I am internally kicking myself squarely in the tailbone. I need to develop a "canned response" that I don't have to think about.....

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I create some large distraction' date=' such as setting the green room on fire, pouring beer on the guitar player, etc. [/quote']

 

:D

 

Nice! Since I am the guitar player (and ukelele, and banjo, etc....), I would welcome someone pouring beer in my direction. micro-brew IPAs are strongly preferred....:thu:

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Sounds like pretty much every show I've ever played. It's hard to trust other people when we're so darn self critical, but I've been learning to do it. We're allowed to screw up, and we're allowed to trust that other people didn't notice. Hard to accept, but Chaunch said the key word.

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The audience isn't composed of musicians. That makes a difference right there. Last weekend I played bass instead of guitar and thought my playing was a notch up from sucky, in part because bass is not my primary instrument. But nobody came up to me after worship and said ''Wow, you really stank this morning!'' Even the Music Director told us we did a good job. I was like, ''Were you in the same room with me? I was awful.'' In the end you deal with it and vow to do better next time.

Edited by DeepEnd
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All we can do is the best we can at the time and put it out there with no expectations.

 

Of course there are some other things we can to, such as staying sober and keeping our instruments up, but sometimes we just have what we see as a bad night.

 

One thing I've noticed is that we try to achieve a certain level of performance and, when we fall short, we dwell on the difference between what we are trying to do and what we actually achieve.

 

The audience, on the other hand, only sees what we did - which we tend to overlook at the time.

 

I recorded an album with a working band about 30 years ago and, for a long time, I was dissapointed with my contribution. I had played the songs much better during some of the live shows and just couldn't get to the same place in the studio.

 

When I listen to that album now I can accept and appreciate it for what it is rather than what it isn't.

 

As -Ed Phobes- stated, we musicians are our own worst critic - and I wouldn't have it any other way. We don't get to hear our own music the way others do but, unlike Beethoven, we still get to hear it.

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Of course there are some other things we can to, such as staying sober and keeping our instruments up,

 

Well, that's a given from my perspective. This is just professionalism, IMO, and a basic expectation in the circles I play in.

 

One thing I've noticed is that we try to achieve a certain level of performance and, when we fall short, we dwell on the difference between what we are trying to do and what we actually achieve.

 

The audience, on the other hand, only sees what we did - which we tend to overlook at the time.

 

Thanks for this - you put it in perspective in a way I hadn't thought of.

 

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The audience, on the other hand, only sees what we did - which we tend to overlook at the time.

 

Let them keep their enjoyment of the performance (which is real), don't try to convince them it wasn't good. Appreciate their kind words and live to gig another day.

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Shrug it off and keep going. I don't know what else to do. I'm playing tonight and I'm fighting sinus issues.

 

I'm medicated and dopey and wish I could stay home, but I can't. I see one of those "bad performing" night's in my future.

 

Soldier on! :)

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I try to say 'thank you', and 'I'm glad you enjoyed the show'. I don't EVER try to tell them they were wrong. Of course, if you've played enough shows, you've had a few of those. I've had shows where not only did *I* know I didn't have a good night, but the band heard it, too... and still compliments. And the more frequent, I wasn't happy, but the band had a great time and a good night. Sometimes it's harder to have a night where I feel GREAT about my playing, and the room is flat.

 

It's also an opportunity to learn what I should be working hard on practicing, and what I might be obsessing over needlessly...

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Shrug it off and keep going. I don't know what else to do. I'm playing tonight and I'm fighting sinus issues.

 

I'm medicated and dopey and wish I could stay home, but I can't. I see one of those "bad performing" night's in my future.

 

Soldier on! :)

 

Sometimes those gigs turn out much better than you expect them too.

 

Once when I had the flu, I endured a four hour drive in a van with occasional emergency stops along the way. The rest of the lads were kind enough to take me to the hotel so I could rest before the show.

 

I spent the entire gig at the back of the stage leaning on my amp and sipping on Perrier which was all I could keep down. My playing that night was minimalist - just putting in the bits that really needed to be there. At the end of the show the drummer complimented my playing and joked that I should get sick more often.

 

 

That being said, it's a drag gigging when the box of tissues on top of your amplifier is more important that the spare strings sitting next to it. I wish you all the best for tonight.

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After the gig I pout for a bit. Then I figure out what went wrong and move on.

 

I have to remind myself that the crowd really want to like you and they want to have fun. The audience is willing to forgive some problems as long as they enjoy themselves

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Perhaps I need to learn to say:

 

"I'm glad to know that you enjoyed it. It was a challenging show for us, and I appreciate the opportunity to play for you tonight."

 

If I treat it a "stage line" to deliver on cue, maybe I can beat down my inner bad vibes and focus on a positive experience for everyone.

 

Thanks to all for the responses - great stuff!

Edited by SteinbergerHack
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We've all had it happen. It's all how you digest it afterwards.

 

At a particularly flawed gig, on my part, I was ready to hang myself in shame over many of the same mistakes, and more. We had a loyal following and some of the regular women came up to me after the show and were just beaming, saying they loved the show and how out-of-the-box my playing was that night. :facepalm::rolleyes2:. I said a bit too much and got down on myself and my playing, telling them they weren't musicians and didn't understand all of the technical mistakes I made. At that point, they got angry with me for putting down their "guy". After that, I learned to back off with the self criticism in front of fans. Be gracious with yourself and with the fans and they'll love you for it. Then after everyone has gone home, the band can have a sit down the next day and evaluate the performance, take in lessons learned, and promise the won't-dos-again.

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It's the tortured artist syndrome. We can't be content or we will stop striving.

 

I'm sure we've all met one or two players who seem to think they are better than they actually are.

 

I'm probably a bit in both camps, to be completely honest with myself. I'm not the player that I was when I was in my 20s and playing full-time, and my self-image probably hasn't caught up to reality yet. That said, I still want to give my best to every performance out of respect for the people who paid to come see us. I want my playing to be the guy who nailed it hard every single night in 1987, even if it unlikely to happen this week.

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I'm probably a bit in both camps, to be completely honest with myself. I'm not the player that I was when I was in my 20s and playing full-time, and my self-image probably hasn't caught up to reality yet. That said, I still want to give my best to every performance out of respect for the people who paid to come see us.

 

I think we all want that and it is doable - be the best that you can be.

 

I want my playing to be the guy who nailed it hard every single night in 1987, even if it unlikely to happen this week.

 

You'd best get that thought out of your head or you'll be beating yourself up for the rest of your life.

 

I've been dealing with tendonitis on and off for the past ten years or so. I have good days and bad days. The worst part is the lack of confidence that comes with it.

 

I was very critical of my bandmates when their alcohol consumption compromised their playing. Now I occasionally sound like I'm drunk when I'm playing because I can't form the chords or hit the notes properly. I was invited to sit in with a a Jazz group I was listening to in a bar a few weeks ago but didn't know if it was a good day or a bad day so, without a chance to warm up and test myself, I had to pass.

 

 

 

Edited by onelife
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