Author Topic: Second Open Mic  (Read 3501 times)

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Offline DavidP

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Second Open Mic
« on: September 21, 2019, 08:34:58 am »
Hi there,

Performed my second Open Mic at TJ's Acoustic Music Club at the end of August.  I played three songs:

First - The Rolling Stones's As Tears Go By
Second - Jimmy Cox's Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
Third - Bob Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door

Now I know not everybody likes to read all the gory details ... and I have a penchant for over share and long wall of text I know ... and to watch all three is going to consume eleven minutes of your life, which I aprpeciate is rather a lot to give just to watch three of my videos.  So if you watch just one then watch Knocking on Heaven's Door.  And if you care for a second then go with Nobody Knows You.  And for those true gluttons for punishment, of course take in all three.  But the performance of As Tears Go By is not as good as the recording I made at home that I think all of you likely to watch here have watched.  The only thing noteworthy about it is that it is a live one and done, no start again ... and it shows.

That all said, you can either scroll down down down and take in the videos of your choice, or read on for the story of my second Open Mic ...

The next day after my first Open Mic, which was received with generous encouraging comments and urging on to do a second, I messaged one of the organisers to thank her and to check if I was really at a standard that was good enough.  My inner demon at play.  She said "absolutely".  So I began planning the next "show" ... like I was Neil Young or someone with a vast repertoire HA HA.

I decided that for the scond go I would "fly the high trapeze without a safety net".  My safety net, for pretty much all my home recording is my song sheet.  I know and buy that playing from memory will enable a performance with more emotion, energy and engagement with the audience.  But, it also adds one more "moving part" to keep under control and to date I have had enough to keep together just playing and singing.  But I figured, let's go all in.  The environment seems safe, it will force a another level of focus in the rehearsal and ultimately push me on.  So What The XXXX, just do it ...

This meant the song choice needed to draw on songs that I already was relatively comfortable with the lyrics (I am no Johan aka Loefgren who is able to learn lyrics to songs and perform them on a weekly basis).

I also wanted to do some finger-picking.  Again, an extreme choice, since my finger-picking is still very much at the level of getting the basics in place.  And for whatever reason, I still struggle to play As Tears Go By without flubs.  Another WTx choice. 

I have also been working on an improved version of Knocking on Heaven's Door, not just playing Old Faithful throughout, including an arpeggiated intro.  More stretch.

Rehearsal went fine.  My guitar routine has now become, play my Open Mic set (there I go again :) ) then do some practice of finger-picking technique before playing songs songs songs.  I do the rehearsal without warm-up, standing up exactly as it would be on the night.  No start again in the event of a flub etc.  Even trying to imagine that I am in front of the audience.

Sitting in the audience, enjoying the show and waiting for my slot, the head games start.  Without putting myself down in anyway, the truth is that the people who play there are all performing at a higher-play&sing grade than I currently perform at.  Nearly all of them are experienced performers.  So that inner demon starts to chatter ... about not being good enough etc.  And to add to this, I suddenly realised that I could not for the life of me remember the third verse of Nobody Knows You ... total blank.  As I say, head games ... The demon has to be forcefully told to shut the xxxx up.  THen I told myself that I had never forgotten the lyrics when playing that song in rehearsal, so chill out and trust that in the moment it'll just happen.

For those of you contemplating this next step ... can only say rehearse rehearse rehearse ... that lays the foundation for whatever modicum of confidence you can build before stepping up.

I messed up big in the the first song.  Best thing about playing live is it forces you to carry on, to regain composure as quickly as possible, to find away.  In this case, I threw in the 4 bar intro progression.  I got back into my groove and finished the song OK ... they still clapped :)  And I think the only way to be able to develop this ability is live, it is just not the same in rehearsal.  Being live raises the stakes.  And as I said ... it is all head games.

I also messed up my arpegiated intro ... no matter.  The rest of the song went fine and I enjoyed one of the best moments of my adventure so far.  Eddie is one of those higher grade experienced performers and likes to softly on the side play some harmonica when somebody is playing ... sounds great.  I asked him to join in after the second chorus.  I have to say, I felt like a "real" musician while holding down a simple steady rhythm and hearing him play.  It was simply fabulous.

So that is an epic read.  I hope reading of my experience will be helpful to those of you contemplating this next step.  As much as anything else, I feel it is propelling more growth as a player.  I also can't lie, I get a kick out of performing.  It is great fun, a rush, a sense of achievement when done.  Definitely worth plucking up the courage when you reach the appropriate level, which is about where most of us are at the end of a dilligent completion of the Beginner Course I think, and saying WTx.

And without further ado (HA HA I think of ado'ed way beyond being able to say that :), here the videos ...

Had to come back and add what I forgot ...

Am seeing in the video how I need to work on mic technique.  I reckon this will come only with experience (NOT practice).  So the signal to noise ratio is a little low, leading to background hiss when you turn the volume up.

No more, I promise :)











« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 08:52:35 am by DavidP »

Offline close2u

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2019, 09:47:19 am »
Listened to all three and really saw you morph in to a musician when you grooved that guitar as the harmonica skated over the instrumental.
You are so right about rehearse - rehearse and also 'live is different to rehearsal'.
A great write up.

Offline Balamuthiah

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2019, 10:23:10 am »
Watched all three videos David. Knockin' on heaven's doors shows what an amazing live performer you're turning into. Good dynamics and sync with the harmonica player. Great vocals too. I love that you're so comfortable in your playing. I hardly noticed any mistakes. Amazing stuff. I'm sure you'll become a crowd favorite soon! :)

@close I think we need a thread for just sharing open mics and live experience. I feel we could discuss more on how to prepare and pull off live performances. Or do we have one already?

Offline close2u

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2019, 10:48:26 am »
@close I think we need a thread for just sharing open mics and live experience. I feel we could discuss more on how to prepare and pull off live performances. Or do we have one already?

Good idea

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2019, 11:25:34 am »
Great stuff David, you definitely looked more relaxed this time around and your playing/singing was spot on.
You should be very proud of yourself, you've achieved so much in such a short time!
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Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2019, 02:35:56 pm »
Richard, Bala, Darrell,

Appreciate you guys taking time to watch my set, and as always being so encouraging.

I know I am a bit of a stuck record, but really this Community plus Justin's lessons makes it possible for people like me to learn, practice and slowly become able to become musicians, live the dream.

And for sure, without getting ahead of myself, losing perspective, I am delighted by my progress and how my playing and singing is coming along.

Offline pkboo3

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2019, 05:18:54 pm »
Wow, David!  I’m so very proud of you and happy for you. Great job!  Such a neat place to perform. You are a real musician now. Loved the guy with the harmonica joining in.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2019, 06:22:45 pm »
Thanks  so very much, Pam, appreciate your support and encouragement

Offline embishop

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2019, 09:13:35 pm »
... for those true gluttons for punishment, of course take in all three. 

It's a treat to watch you play and sing, David! I quite enjoyed all 3, it's a different vibe playing live even when compared to the one-take concept of the July-Aug-Sept competition.

For the playing / singing my one comment would be on the phrasing for Nobody Knows You, it follows the strumming pattern a bit too closely maybe, it could be more distinct or something. However, easy for me to say since I'm not singing these days!!! :)

Nice choice for the 3 different songs, and very nice use of dynamics throughout the entire performance. Loved the harmonica too, maybe one day that'll be you adding some harp :)

Really happy to see you out there performing, doing great, and clearly having fun. Getting into the zone now :)

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Offline redrhodie

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2019, 10:04:37 pm »
I watched all three, and it was an enjoyable 11 minutes. What stood out to me was how much you relaxed when Eddie joined in. I could see you connect, and how happy that made you. I hope we'll see Lesley up there with you soon.

I thought you handled the little bobbles really well. I probably wouldn't have noticed any of them, actually.

Your wall of text is really helpful and informative. Anyone who is getting to the point of an open mic will appreciate what you've written.

Good job leaving out the sheet music. It looks much better without it. I would suggest you bringing it with you so when you get those pre gig moments and can't remember the words, you can glance at it.

Knowing now what you didn't know then, what will you do differently next time?

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Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2019, 07:52:08 am »
For the playing / singing my one comment would be on the phrasing for Nobody Knows You, it follows the strumming pattern a bit too closely maybe, it could be more distinct or something. However, easy for me to say since I'm not singing these days!!! :)

Mari, thanks so much for taking it all in and such encouraging comments.

You make a good point about the strumming pattern and phrasing of the lyrics...definitely too often tightly connected.  No idea which one is leading, I think sometimes my strumming follows the phrasing  :D  And the more challenging the song, from either a playing, singing or both perspective the more that happens.

I have noticed improvements in my singing from a phrasing perspective but a long way to go.  I guess for me quite often I still need to concentrate more on the playing than is ideal for playing and singing together.  And then my singing is not as "good" as my playing.  Put the two together and I think you get a multiplying (rather than adding) effect.

I think LBro is correct when he suggests that some focus on singing ... lessons, coaching, deliberate practice ... would probably give me the biggest return in terms of performing live.  But for now, my mindset is more on the finger-picking techniques when it comes to learning and practice.

But all that said, I am moer than happy with my progress and how it is going.  And there'll always be room for improvement.


Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2019, 08:07:55 am »
I watched all three, and it was an enjoyable 11 minutes. What stood out to me was how much you relaxed when Eddie joined in. I could see you connect, and how happy that made you. I hope we'll see Lesley up there with you soon.

I thought you handled the little bobbles really well. I probably wouldn't have noticed any of them, actually.

Your wall of text is really helpful and informative. Anyone who is getting to the point of an open mic will appreciate what you've written.

Good job leaving out the sheet music. It looks much better without it. I would suggest you bringing it with you so when you get those pre gig moments and can't remember the words, you can glance at it.

Knowing now what you didn't know then, what will you do differently next time?


Lynn, thanks so much for listening, the encouragement, suggestions and questions.

LOL ... I think being more relaxed when not having to be playing and singing plus the focus shifting to Eddie, underlines how much extra concentration it takes to play and sing.  And of course Justin suggests being able to play and hold a conversation before trying to sing and play ... as if I could do that.  I do sometimes try to play songs and watch TV at the same time, which helps build this ability to play on "autopilot".

Good idea to have some lyrics available for just in case ... though in the end it was fine.  So I may also concetrate on not over-thinking before my slot.  I think maybe sooner or later more of a mess-up would be helpful.  I remember when starting rock-climbing, I was able to complete the first few climbs without falling.  And then the person teaching me instructed me to let go, effectively to fall on purpose.  She said it was essential to know and trust the rope and belayer, so that when it got more challenging there'd be no fear of that unknown, that a fall is safe.  So might help to mess-up big and then carry on, to know from experience that at an Open Mic it will be fine.

For my next performance what is most on my mind is where to position the mic and to concetrate on getting closer to the mic.  There was a lot of hiss on this recording and that may well be due to my (lack of) mic technique.  Chatting to the experienced folk there, they say that the biggest issue for nearly all the people new to live performance is singing live with a mic. 

I think it is made "easier" when confidence in playing is enough to play totally without looking at the guitar.  I see I am still looking, even when I am quite able to play without looking, which is a habit to break.  Of course, I like to make it harder, so have picked songs that involve some changes that involve moving up a couple of frets rather than staying safe with open chords in the first three frets.

But it is fine ... as Justin told me in my Skype session ... nobody will die if something doesn't quite work out as intended  ;D

Offline Garfield

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2019, 07:07:56 pm »
Good work David. Particularly liked knocking on heavens door. I know what you're saying about about singing and playing. I can always do each better independently. It must take years to get so good that each doesn't effect the other.

Good man for going again. I thought you covered the flub well. Keep going surely like anything it must get easier.

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Offline batwoman

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2019, 03:38:24 am »
Leaps and bounds Mr P. LBro gave me some singing into a dynamic mic advise, he said "It's like you almost eating it".

You really get into the groove with Eddie playing harp, you relax noticeably and there's a fuller tone in your playing and a real groove to your timing.

It will be interesting to see what changes when you an Lesley take to the stage. I suspect you'll be so busy looking after her you forget about your nerves and the demons with have no chance.

Good job mate!
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Offline kontenda

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2019, 10:30:59 am »
I watched all three David - thought they were all good performances - Knockin' On Heaven's Door was a great finish. Also appreciate your tips on how to approach live performance - very helpful.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2019, 11:11:31 am »
Gareth, Maggie, Paraic,

Thanks so much for watching through, taking time to comment and for always being so encouraging and supportive.

 
Good work David. Particularly liked knocking on heavens door. I know what you're saying about about singing and playing. I can always do each better independently. It must take years to get so good that each doesn't effect the other.

Good man for going again. I thought you covered the flub well. Keep going surely like anything it must get easier.

I think you've called it right ... years and years  ::)

And it does seem to get easier ... at least the second time was "easier" than the first.  I'm rehearsing for my third which will hopefully happen this Thursday.

It reminds me (without wanting to start the debates about talent and practice) that The Beatles honed their abilities in those hours and hours on stage in Hamburg.  And if I recall the story and timing correct, by the time they "burst" onto the scene, they had all that learning and experience under their belts.

Given Open Mic at this stage is a 15 minute performance, once a month, going to take a while  :o

Leaps and bounds Mr P. LBro gave me some singing into a dynamic mic advise, he said "It's like you almost eating it".

You really get into the groove with Eddie playing harp, you relax noticeably and there's a fuller tone in your playing and a real groove to your timing.

It will be interesting to see what changes when you an Lesley take to the stage. I suspect you'll be so busy looking after her you forget about your nerves and the demons with have no chance.

Good job mate!

I hope Lesley will join me at the next Open Mic.  My first was a recce, and with any luck she'll see that it is quite safe and we can begin to think about performing together.  Of course playing together is another whole ball game, a step up on sitting back and playing the chords while a "pro" takes the lead.

I watched all three David - thought they were all good performances - Knockin' On Heaven's Door was a great finish. Also appreciate your tips on how to approach live performance - very helpful.

I hope my experience encourages you to explore this step yourself, Paraic.  From what I have seen, you have the ability, just to get through all the head games.

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2019, 02:14:55 pm »
Cool beans, DP! You're well on your way. Dig it. You played to the audience this time and I think it took your performance up a couple of notches.

What good is all this practice and focus on playing and gear if we don't play for and with other people? It's a healthy and natural progression. Glad to see this new forum showcasing this topic, such a great idea!

DP, thanks for sharing that you went a little dark while waiting for your turn to play. I want to hear more of these performance details from folks as we begin to fill out this forum. You knew what to tell yourself. It has to start with being self-aware enough to know what we need in order to perform. Stage fright is real, and the other side of the coin is the genuine high that comes after a performance.

Really enjoyed the growth of your musicianship and thoughtfulness of this thread. Top notch!

Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2019, 02:37:47 pm »
Thanks very much, Clint, appreciate the supportive, encouraging comments and glad that the extra details are helpful.  I get so much from the Community that has helped me get this far and it is equally pleasing to try and offer members something that may be helpful to them.

Offline oldhead49

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2019, 01:57:21 am »
David, Totally impressive.  Powering through that little blip in the first one was great; didn't lose your composure, just played it like a pro.  When the harmonica started playing, I could visibly see and hear you relax into the song and really start feeling the moment.  Great stuff all around, and you're sounding very good.  I think you were truly meant to be doing this.  Congrats.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2019, 05:30:25 am »
David, Totally impressive.  Powering through that little blip in the first one was great; didn't lose your composure, just played it like a pro.  When the harmonica started playing, I could visibly see and hear you relax into the song and really start feeling the moment.  Great stuff all around, and you're sounding very good.  I think you were truly meant to be doing this.  Congrats.

Thanks so much, Dave.  Appreciate you taking time to watch and comment, so encouraging. 

As Richard observed, I think my years as a Toastmaster have helped me to be somewhat comfortable standing in front of an audience, even if performing music live is a way different kettle of fish to just delivering a speech.  But my style as a speaker is known to be on the relaxed conversational side, with a measure of banter thrown in.

As you say, when taking the load of having to remember and sing the lyrics, it is certainly easier to relax and settle into a groove, helped by a wise choice of song :)  Old Faithful strumming and no more than BC stage 3 chords :)

Much like Bala, I have to say I do love playing and singing for a crowd but "meant to be doing this" ... I think all of us who reach the end of the BC and can overcome the head games have the ability to play Open Mics, where the expectation is not quite the same as a full-on show.  And of course, getting over the self assessment of one's singing  ;D

Offline LBro

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2019, 11:24:02 pm »
Hi,
Boy you are a lot further along on this live gigging than on this end. Good job and good to see you out and about

For me 'Knocking' had you intently staring at the guitar and seemed a little tough to pull off. You did pretty good though. I really like that song and you did it well.

I think the best though might have been "Tears". Liked that one for sure.

Your doing great and keep up the good vibe and work!

Nice sound from whoever is giving you the vids. I would mess around with X-Noise to see if you can't dial in some setting by hand to help with the hiss. You could also try your own saved preset from a similar hiss removal job perhaps... Never know unless you try!

Cheers,
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Offline max_mue

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2019, 09:26:12 am »
Hey David, it's been some time since I've commented on your videos - your progress is astonishing as ever and seeing you already play at open stages is just great :) Instead of repeating what others have already said I'll try to be quicker when you're going to post your next videos - I'm already looking forward to it :)

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Offline DavidP

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Re: Second Open Mic
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2019, 08:02:35 pm »
LBro/Max,

Thanks for taking a look and the encouraging comments.

Busy practicing for tge next one and hopefully get some video footage from my third.

I'll see about using a noise reduction profile from one of my other revordings, LBro.

 

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