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PLaying the wrong note was Re: improvisation and performance
I took it to mean that if you play a wrong note, play that next note
again, of course if you make the choice to play a wrong not it's no longer
wrong per se, it's been made right by the fact it was chosen...
Maybe I'm reading to deep....
Back to the chicken broth....
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stefan Smulovitz" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2007 3:17 PM
Subject: improvisation and performance
> I'm a bit of a lurker but the posts on improvisation got me thinking and
> hope some of you find
> these thoughts of interest.
> The importance of being a good performer when playing in front of an
> audience is often forgotten in
> more experimental music. While I don't think there is much to be learned
> by the song and dance
> routine of pop lip syncers - I do think that being aware of one's role
> a performer is very
> Its important to share your excitement about creating music with your
> audience. Equipment
> malfunctions, computer crashes, weird sound glitches - all these things
> that do unfortunately
> happen in a live setting can be part of making good music. You just have
> to have the right mindset
> as an improvisor and performer to make them work. When you are in your
> studio - you can just stop
> and restart, taking 30 minutes or more to solve the bug. When performing
> you have to find a way to
> make these things part of the performance if at all possible.
> There's the old jazz axiom - play a wrong note - well then play it wrong
> another 3 times to make it
> seem like you did it on purpose and make it the right note. I use this
> the time.
> A bass player friend of mine told me about something Charlie Haden told
> him. Feeling bad and just
> can't play in tune on a particular day? Just use it. Play fully out of
> tune and make that what you are
> exploring. The same could be about gear malfunctions. Gear making
> sounds - go with it -
> make your improv about exploring what the heck is coming out of your
> Another big thing is not to tell people that these are mistakes. If you
> then you think of them as
> mistakes and consider it a bad performance. You just need to think of
> as challenges adding to
> the excitement of live improv and part of the process. Often the weird
> mishaps are the most exciting
> interesting part of an improv. For me I always love the challenge of man
> how am I gonna get out of
> this and make it musical.
> For instance I was struck by some bizarre momentary impulse while
> performing at BEMF with Rick
> Walker to use a Bob Marley loop. (My sister's husband is a huge fan and
> was at the show.) It
> completely stuck out and sounded just awkward and weird to me. In the
> I would have just
> yanked it out and hoped that people forgot about it. Now instead I kept
> there and did everything I
> could to make it work. Rick started singing along and it was a great
> surreal moment. If it had been in
> a studio I would have just yanked it out and edited out this "mistake"
> I also think that no matter how you feel after a show it important to
> leave self reflection and criticism
> till after the show and you have hopefully had a chance to listen to
> performance again later. So
> often I listen after a show that I think just was awful and quite like
> given a weeks space. I think it is
> healthy as a musician to always be striving to something better and
> dissatisfied is not a bad
> thing. You can always learn from listening to past performances.
> The issue arises when at a show you let the audience know you are not
> happy with a set. Instead of
> sharing the wonders of making music it becomes about your ego and you
> away from listeners
> ability to enjoy your music. Self reflection later as to how the next
> performance can be better is great
> - but make sure you realize you are performing for an audience and as
> be gracious to them for
> having taken the time to listen to your music.
> These are all performance issues and can change bad improv into good
> improv. Also I highly
> recommend reading the book Effortless Mastery -
> While I don't agree with all the book says it makes some great points
> about how to practice being in
> the zone for performing.