Performing Music: The Only Thing More Intimate Than Recording It

Size Of The Audience Shouldn’t Matter If The Intent Is Sincere.

The idea of putting ones’ self out there to be scrutinized, gawked at and judged, scares a lot of students as they progress in their studies. I remember peer discussions about after graduation of music college. They ranged from the COVER UP: I play for myself man, the insecurity blanket to FALSE BRAVADO: now that I have this degree, I think I will go for a poli-sci degree, the professional student approach.

Me? I just NEEDED to play/compose. I felt because I was training and that I had NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER in that fact, that everything else would fall into place.

It’s certainly not an easy path but, my logic of you are on the planet anyway so, you might as well do something you love seemed to comfort me. I say this to students on a daily basis. I also tell them that if they have any doubt as to their love of music and their desire to make it a career, they will not succeed.

Really, to succeed in any profession, you better really love it because you will be living and breathing it the rest of your life.

The give and take of performance vs recording: performing, it is a one shot deal, real-time, subject to perception so if you smile, chances are you’ll live to see the next sunrise!; recording, although you live with it forever, you do get to improve, polish and analyze it before anyone else does.

Recording live? Well, I suppose, that would be all of the above in 3D!

I really believe that you have to be comfortable in your own skin and that you have to be able to look in the mirror each day. You have to learn from your setbacks and rejoice in your victories.

“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
– Ludwig Van Beethoven

A visual souvenir of when Rik Emmett was a guest of mine at one of my Jazz At The Jacks (Jack Singer Concert Hall/Calgary AB Canada); one VERY talented Human being who keeps on keeping on, like myself…


5 thoughts on “Performing Music: The Only Thing More Intimate Than Recording It

    • I believe that mistakes are wonderful………some of the older Dylan recordings with him and just guitar & harmonica had him clearing his throat, missing chords and blowing lyrics………just made the whole scene more real and magical…..besides, there IS no perfection !

      • I totally agree with you MB. Even as students (and I tell mine constantly), we learn MORE from our mistakes then we do from teachers! Music is NOT about perfection anymore than being human is…

  1. Interesting. I guess I’m the opposite…I get “red light fever” in the studio, and panic when they hit record. I think it’s because any mistakes are there forever (unless you cheat, and fix’em!) and the listener can listen to the mistake again and again. This assumes the listener wants to give my recording a second listen, which may be presumptuous!

    The recording experience that haunts me is a Christmas track on a smooth-jazz (urgh) radio station compilation. Our track was too acoustic for the station’s taste, and they had their producer add some string pads and a stilted drum groove. He didn’t even notice we’d altered a dominant chord in the bridge, and he added a natural 9 on top of our flat 9. Wow. I didn’t know until I heard it on the car radio, and when I heard it I nearly drove off the road.

    If it’d happened on a live gig, I’d have laughed, and the moment would be years behind me, but I still see that CD in used bins, and it haunts me.

  2. But like you said, “you can cheat, and fix’em!”… this is more or less my point. You have a controlled situation; whether you punch in or simply do it again, you are at choice. Always great to hear from you. The best to Tracey (& the smallest Clayton).

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