In six weeks from now I’ll be performing at the 12th Annual Westcoast Guitar Night (WCGN) at Vancouvers East Cultural Centre. The exact date it Sept. 23rd, 2010. This is a performance put on buy a great guitar friend of mine named Les Finnigan. Les is a fabulous finger style player similar to Don Ross or Peppino d’Agostino.
WCGN features a few of Vancouvers very best acoustic guitar players with styles ranging from fingerstyle jazz, classical, rumba flamenco to Brazilian guitar. In the past I tend to play a lot of my own compositions from my cd’s however this year I’m going to push my own performance comfort zone by adding a few pieces by Vicente Amigo and maybe a little Chick Corea.
I’ve had a lot of guitar heroes in my life but the two that top my list are Steve Morse and Vicente Amigo. I’ve been drooling over Vicente’s guitar playing for years now and it’s time to push my own personal envelope and include a few of his tunes at this years WCGN.
This is always a very scary thing to do as I’m very much a perfectionist were I tend to not play music were there is a chance I could screw it up. However with age comes the wisdom of knowing that whatever happens I’ll get through it and the experience will be wonderful. Also I know that taking risks and facing your fears head on is what this game of life is all about!
I began playing the guitar when I was 9 or 10 years old. I just had to play it and always dreamed to one day be in a rock band. So sure enough the day came and there I was in the band and soon after, the moment arrived to play my first pro gig.
I remember this day very well. I was performing in a group called Legend. We had a few original tunes from a 45 record that the bass player and lead vocalist recorded and then we had a handful of cover songs. I remember getting on that outdoor stage at the Grandville Island Music Festival, looking out over the audience and feeling so sick I thought I’d vomit all over my shiny new Gibson Les Paul.
We began playing and I remember my shaking hands fumbling over my chords and solos however, after a few tunes and I began to settle down that night was one of the most exciting moments ever! By the end of the gig I was on such a high that I didn’t come down for days.
So even now, a few years back I decided I would learn to play solo flamenco guitar and again I remember creating a house concert in my own home we’re I invited friends and family to the performance. This was a sit down theatre style performance rather than a house party. (I highly recommend this type of performance for anyone starting out to get used to a live performance setting)
So again I was completely nervous for fear of making a mistake. I remember my leg and right hand trembling as I began. But as before, a few songs pass and the hour turns from shear terror to total euphoria!
Even today, I know by playing the same old stuff I’ll slide into a depressing rut even though I’m playing guitar doing what I love. It’s important to continue to push your comfort zone, grow and live.
So, six weeks from today I’ll be once again sitting on stage surrounded by hundreds of silent people, starring at me, in the silence, my hands shaking, I’m about to vomit and ready to take a private little personal journey to heaven on earth.
Do what you love, live and don’t look back.
Btw… I do make mistakes, lot’s of them! I don’t look at them as a failure. I say to myself afterwards. “That was interesting” then I forget about it. I don’t beat myself up over them any more.
Also, I practice and pre pair as much as possible before the performance. On the day of the performance I trust that I know the music and just play. I sing the music in my head as I play and never think about what’s coming up next. Because that’s the trigger to messing up.