Monday, June 29, 2009

If Practice Makes Perfect ...

Here's the rough situation: Leader has two Sunday morning bands, Band 1 and Band 2. I'm in Band 2, playing the acoustic guitar. Band 1 was the band for a while, but there's plans bring in mixable prerecorded tracks for the choir, where you can say "we have a guitarist and a drummer, but we don't have a horn section" so the rhythm section plays to the track like the choir but the horn hits are from the tape. This will require them to have more practice, thus Band 2.

The setup was you play Sunday, you get your chord sheets and a mix CD, you learn your parts, you spend one Sunday off, you practice on Tuesday and you show up again on Sunday. But our glorious Leader had his vacation and so we cancelled the Tuesday practice. So the first time we played some of our songs together was soundcheck/warm-up.

Last Sunday, the Band 1 lead guitar guy had a family wedding in Texas. So, in an effort to be useful, I volunteered to play electric. Not just to get out of the tuned-percussion ghetto, honest, but while I'm parked here, if anyone can tell me how to get rid of the sizzle and quack of an undersaddle piezo without ripping it out and slapping in half a K worth of Fishman soundhole pickups, you will have a friend for life.


So, the building is busy, so Tuesday is cancelled. I get the song list on Wednesday night, I do what I can Thursday and Friday, I go to Sweetwater on Saturday and Sunday morning, I again have my first time playing some songs during soundcheck/warm-up.

To a certain extent, I am OK with this. Seriously. I have played Wednesday night and have regularly had my first time hearing a song be right before I played it in front of people. It isn't where you want to be, but if you can begin to handle that, I think it's a good thing. To the extent I can say I'm a good player, I'm a good player because of that pressure. The best way to learn to play music is to play music, preferably with other people and in front of other people. But let's be honest, Wednesday night is not the show. Sunday morning is the show. (I haven't made it too explicit, but I play in my church. God bless you all.) That's the point where you want to do it right.

I think it worked out well. We have some good players, some good singers, and while I may feel I threw enough clams to open a seafood restaurant, I on the whole feel I did well. We did well.

But it feels — I don't know, irresponsible? — to play a show for several hundred people without an hour of practice to make sure things are together.

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