Sunday, September 17, 2006

Good fun and great nerves


I have to say it was predictable. And to be honest, rather expected really.
And i'm not talking about the mood and atmosphere we were greeted with at the library@Esplanade yesterday.

16th September 2006 was the first time Guitaresque had an hour long performance indoors, all by ourselves (not as part of Genus or with other small groups) - playing to an actual 'listening audience'. That means, we were not playing to some big shots in a dinner setting, where we could basically just smoke out and keep repeating repertoire without anyone noticing (ala Pine Tree club charity dinner); or in an open stage in a garden where the sound probably sounded crap regardless of what we played (ala Chinese garden performance).

This was really a good experience. Nice, appreciative audience. Rather cosy and warm ambience lightings, and at least decent sound (it wasn't as good as playing in my home studio of course! ). Many of our friends came to listen to us and to lend their support. The usual Genus alumni gang were there - Mich, Wai, Sherrie, Mel, HF, JQ, JH, Moh. Some of the SMU Guitarissimo members popped by too. I also had 'past' and 'present' colleagues coming to "support" me - really appreciate the gesture - Lina & Sandra! :)

But what was really predictable and expected was the fact that some of us 'froze up' during the performance. I think it is precisely the fact that we knew that we were being watched and listened to by an attentive audience, coupled with a video camera pointing at us at the same time, that created the nerves and anxiety.

Haha.. i cant recall ever hearing Owls play the Habanera melody line wrongly in ALL our practices. But it happened.

Barber couldnt get his fingers to listen to him as he attempted those darn Aragonaise scales. He even ended Canon 2 bars before we did - causing alarming and disbelief stares from Owls and myself. ( i was too stunned to realise what OG was doing )

The Telemann concerto sounded like we were sight-reading it for the first time. I think the passing of melodies were completely missing as fingers were slow to react to the panicked mind.

I messed up several arppeggios (those darn pizz!) in Canon too. Not to mention the usual nerves when playing the art. harmonics in 老情歌.

But OG kept the best for last. (wahahah!) The 'ad-lib' display in our encore showed that he was back at his best. I could barely contain my mirth as we completed the supposedly romantic Entrac'te.

As the leader of the group, i feel that we may have to challenge ourselves a little differently going forward. While we are certainly progressing in terms of our technical abilities and being able to tackle more challenging repertoire (e.g. A Furiosa, Libertango); there remains this aspect of us not being able to rise to the occasion when we are in front of an audience.

As a group, our 默契 is certainly fantastic. We know one another well, and our weekly practices give us gives us time to gel and to develop our group dynamics.

Individually, as players, we need to develop our self-confidence too. Whether playing guitar to or addressing an audience is actually a test of our own self-confidence and esteem. I certainly still feel some nerves when doing so, but it really helps me to think "the fact that i'm here performing/speaking to you (ie. audience) means that i am probably the subject matter expert in this particular topic. So even if i fumble along the way, as long as i show the kind of confidence that experts normally do, then you wouldn't even know i'm "smoking" you."

* ironically, it's this kind of thinking that helped me 'survive' at my workplace too. Given the kind of people i sometimes have to deal with (e.g. bankers and traders), you have to demonstrate confidence in your product knowledge (no matter how cock-up the product sometimes can be), else you risk losing all credibility.

I think some members of Guitaresque need a little more of this confidence-training/booster than others. But all of us will benefit if we do not keep to our own comfort zone, playing good music behind closed doors, in a comfy studio which seduces us into thinking we are better players than we really are.

More performances for us, definitely. And Genus seems a good place to start. :)

3 Comments:

Blogger Wai said...

Great nerves indeed. Haha. The bane of every Genus member...

8:44 PM  
Anonymous hansen said...

With YOuTube and GoogleVideo being so popular, why haven't you guys created the Guitaresque MTV?

Just playing in front of a video camera (recording of course) is more than enough to shake most nerves. Not to mention the '1 shot 1 kill' mindset of a full, unedited recording.

So may I suggest you guys do a recording everyweek, with only 1 take. The one that makes noticeable mistake will treat lunch. And uplaod the video online pls!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes sir yes, rgr that request!

Will try uploading the lib's performance to the webby this weekend!

OG

8:39 AM  

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