Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Of Practising And The Fear Principle

I'm feeling virtuous.  After about three and a half hours of practice today my fingers are sore, but everything else feels grand.  It is so easy to get out of the habit of regular practising and personal rehearsal.  All it takes is a change to whatever passes for routine, but today I had decided there was to be no excuse.  Even my broken e-mail didn't deter me.  I try to do at least an hour a day and I have achieved that for several days - necessary if I am going to be able to do any kind of extended practice.  An hour a day keeps me ticking over.  If I miss one day though, there appears, as if from nowhere, a list of tasks the following day to allow me no time at all.  Also a number of ideas for new songs or other compositions will strike and need to be committed to some format or other to be picked up when I have the time to work on them.  Before I know it a week has gone by and even, on occasion, two weeks.  This is very unprofessional.  Picking up the rehearsal and practice routine after a hiatus is really difficult and takes determination.  For a start, it takes no time at all for my sixty year-old joints to protest over the lack of use.  They need the exercise daily in order to function.  My fingers start to soften and this doesn't only have the effect of making my fingers stiff and sore once I start to play again, but it actually changes the sound of the guitar strings.  I need the use of large and small muscles in my legs to play my footdrums too.  Again a lay-off means picking it up again is tiring.  My feet won't do what they are supposed to do.  We all know that the voice also needs regular work.

I'm playing on Thursday, that's two days from now.  My set is going to be eight minutes long.  I have been invited to play a spot in Dan Donovan's pre-album-launch gig at The Angles Theatre bar in Wisbech.  I feel honoured and somewhat under pressure.  Dan is an excellent performer and his new acoustic arrangements for this, his twelfth, cd are rather good.  He has also invited some other local musicians to play too.  They are all accomplished singers/songwriters/performers.  I don't want to let Dan down.  So, I am really looking forward to playing in Dan's show alongside Tommy Loose, Neil Cousin and Road Hog (who has just returned from several days' gigging in Belgium and Germany - so he'll be ready for sure).

Next month I get to play the same venue ... but next time it will be my evening.  What a privilege to be asked to play for 90-120 minutes.  That will be my longest ever solo gig.  I am seriously looking forward to it.  I don't think I shall be singing either "Grey" or "Flying" this week, but maybe next month they will both be ready.

I'm told that amateurs practise until they get it right while professionals practise until they can't get it wrong.  It would be very cool to be able to get through a performance without experiencing a single blip in my memory.  Tomorrow I am running five workshops in schools during the day and have a drum workshop in the evening.  Not much time for practice tomorrow, but today I feel virtuous.

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