Can a bad gig…be good?
Go back in time for a moment, and think to yourself of performance that…didn’t go quite so well.
Perhaps you lost the form.
Or played some notes that raised a few eyebrows and grimaces from the audience.
Inevitably, that little voice appears from inside your head.
“See? I was right – you’ll NEVER be good at this! Here you go again, screwing up on this tune yet another time…”
What happens next…
The feeling like you just want to run away from the bandstand.
I’ll be honest with you…
I’ve been in this situation many times myself.
In fact, it nearly crippled my career.
Upon getting advice about performance anxiety, the general consensus was: “Just keep doing it – you just need more experience! It will get easier…”
But it didn’t get easier.
In fact, every gig that passed by resulted in me getting more and more self-conscious, and I started to second-guess my abilities.
Here’s the thing:
I’m not the only one that this happens to.
A lot of people end their professional musical careers or leave music entirely because of the crippling effects of performance anxiety.
The worst part?
Performance nerves suck out the enjoyment and passion that drew you to music in the first place.
It doesn’t need to be this way.
After training in meditation and mindfulness, I realized something.
The way we view a situation tends to reflect itself back at us in what we experience.
The attitude and philosophy you have towards performing, and the results of performance, is critical to how you experience it, and the results you end up getting.
So, here’s my philosophy:
When it comes to performing, there are no failures – only feedback.
There are only two types of performances really:
Either your performance was 1) a great performance or 2) excellent feedback in order to prepare yourself for your next great performance.
Sometimes the gigs where you flake out are the ones where you learn the most. These experiences are actually the stepping stones you need in order for you to get better.
If you happen to have a bad gig at some point, some time afterward (over a calming cup of coffee), pause and reflect.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Were there any triggers that made me nervous?
- Was there something that was distracting me?
- If I couldn’t remember the form or had a blank slate when it came to improvising, are there any aspects of my practice technique that needs improvement?
- How was my attitude on the day of the gig before getting on the bandstand?
Questions like this can be the genesis of you becoming a better player. And these questions can only arise when you’re faced with challenging gigs.
So in the end, it’s our attitude that can either turn towards negative performance experiences into failures OR the seeds of successes.
So what’s the result of adopting this philosophy towards performing?
I don’t tend to get performance anxiety very much anymore, and if I do, I can manage it effectively without it negatively impacting my performance.
So, give it a try.
Next time you do a gig that doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, sit back and reflect afterward – it may be the best guitar lesson you’ll ever have.
Now the exciting bit:
If you're keen to have a structured, step-by-step approach to learning jazz guitar, it might be worth checking out my online learning system, the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy.
Here's what you get when you join up:
- Detailed step-by-step video lessons on new classic jazz tunes and essential jazz guitar skills added to the club website each month. Includes listening recommendations, demonstrations of the melody, analysis of the harmony, and detailed explanations on how to solo over the tune.
- Key improvisation concepts and techniques for soloing, and classic licks and example solos that relate to each tune, so you can continue to expand your jazz vocabulary and have more options when it comes to soloing.
- Detailed comping ideas to suit the style of each jazz standard covered
- Lessons on how to make chord melody and solo jazz guitar versions of tunes featured - play a complete jazz standard completely on your own like Joe Pass!
- Members only forum - A worldwide community of jazz guitarists from all around the globe.
- Regular workshops, masterclasses, and Q & A Sessions - get direct answers from me on anything holding you back in the practice room. Replays of all sessions are available to access for all members even if you can’t make it live.
- Massive searchable database of jazz licks and soloing concepts - the ultimate idea "grab bag" for your solos.
- Optional monthly challenges where members participate to get feedback on their playing, reach new milestones and be eligible for cool prizes.
The best part:
You can access this all of this and more for just $1 by signing up to a 14 day trial. Go here for more info: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer
Over to you…
What are YOUR top tips for keeping your cool on the bandstand and recovering from mistakes?
I would love to hear from you, leave a comment below to share your thoughts…
Keep on jazzin’,
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education