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Weekend warrior program - a tale

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(@bkangel)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 118
Topic starter  

Wasn't sure where to post this, so figured here was as good as anywhere (unless admin wants to move me).

As mentioned in the New Year's Resolution thread, one of my plans for the new year was to sign up for the local music store's Weekend Warrior program. They get together a bunch of people who have never played professionally, or in a band as such, supply them with amps, mics, and any gear they need, and split them into groups. Choose about 12 songs, refine it down to about 8, have four rehearsals with a coach, and then do a half hour set on an evening at a venue with the other three bands. How hard can that be?

Sunday was the "jam" session. It was a chance to hear about the program, meet the coaches, see who else was enrolled, and play a bit so the coaches could see roughly what you could do, and how you might fit in with the other participants.

As I walked into the room, there were two rows of chairs facing a space that was set up with mics, guitars, amps and a drum kit. The chairs were already full, but I was happy to stand at the back. It was closer to the door.

I have sung a couple of times in public, but have never played in front of anyone. My nerves were in over-drive. Hands shaking. Mind blank. None of this was helped by the fact that we'd had a record heatwave for a week, so I hadn't slept properly for days, and I'd spent the morning with a filthy headache, dry-retching. It wasn't an auspicous start to the day.

Dai, who runs the program, introduced himself and ran through the set up, and all of a sudden a drummer (only one turned up, so she was busy for the afternoon), bass player, and a couple of guitarists were up and playing. It was so quick! I sat there thinking there was no way I should be in that room. But a little part of me knew I wasn't leaving, no matter how scared I was.

Two more groups were put together and jamming some old standards, but I still couldn't volunteer myself. Finally, Dai sat next to me while a group was playing Sweet Home Alabama and apologised that he hadn't got me up yet. I said that I didn't think I'd be able to play today, but that I could at least sing a song. So, he got the guys up there to run through the SHA again, and I sang with them. It was probably crap (couldn't hear myself), but it didn't matter. I had done it!

So, to cut a (very) long story short: we were split into four bands. I was put in with Luke the bassist and David the guitarist. We will have a drummer organised for us, and a more experienced guitarist is going to help us with lead. But, for the most part, it is our responsibility to get it organised, choose songs, and get playing. We're an interesting mix of musical interests, which I am really keen to exploit. I've already been introduced to a new band that I hadn't heard before, that I think are TOPS.

So, Sunday is our first "proper" rehearsal. I can't wait! I will probably start feeling nervous, oh, by about Thursday I guess

Will write up how the rehearsal goes!

What I lack in talent and natural ability, I will have to make up with stubborness.


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
 

Congratulations! YOu did it!

And by the way, that sounds like a great program- let us know how it progresses...

Best,
Ande


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 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

OK, you can relax now . . . it's over . . . breathe . . .
Good for you for seeing it through.
Sounds like an interesting experience.
Keep us posted . . . maybe a vid.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


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(@liontable)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 146
 

Sounds like a really awesome experience, over here we don't even have open mic nights anywhere! be sure to keep us updated on the songs and how it went!


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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Congratulations! I think you are going to have a lot of fun. I can't wait to read more.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Congratulations! :D

And keep posting!


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(@boxboy)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1226
 

What a cool project to be involved in. Great idea.
Looking forward to Chapter 2.
:)

Don


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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1885
 

That sounds like a great program.
The music school my kids attend has a similar thing for teenagers over the summer, but nothing for old timers like me.
I'll have to look around some more...

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

That does sound like a hoot...and a great idea/program. You're another step ahead of me. Singing in front of others. that takes some nerves, as I'll find out first-hand in a month.

I wasn't sure after reading this. Are you playing any guitar with the group or doing the vocals or both?

Hopefully we get to see some footage from rehersals, or at least the final performance at the live venue.

Do you have your song list yet?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@joehempel)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2418
 

Sounds like fun, wish we had something like that around here!

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1309
 

Hi. I'm Doug, and I'm a performer.

Bkangel, please be careful doing this. Performing for an audience is highly addictive, and it only takes one or two instances of experiencing the euphoric rush of a successful performance to leave you hopelessly enslaved to performing for the rest of your life. There is NO known cure for this addiction.

You seem to be quite committed to experimenting with performance, so there's only one thing I can say to you:

Rock their faces off, girlfriend!

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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(@bkangel)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 118
Topic starter  

We have a rehearsal on Sunday, so I'll be able to give a better run down on song lists.

Our lead guitarist is a singer as well, so I'm not sure how the split is going to go on the singing side.

I anticipate I will sing a couple (but not play at the same time... I haven't the coordination as yet) and do some kinda "fill rythm" on other songs where a little extra guitar noise would probably help

And I take heed of the warnings of the addictive nature of performance. For me, this kind of thing equates to someone else doing a bungy jump because they're afraid of heights... I'm sure the enjoyment will kick in eventually

What I lack in talent and natural ability, I will have to make up with stubborness.


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(@bkangel)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 118
Topic starter  

Well, we've had our first "official" two-hour rehearsal.

We ran through three songs: Take it easy -- The Eagles; If it makes you happy -- Sheryl Crow; and Like Wow, Wipeout -- Hoodoo Gurus.

I have to be honest and say that, out of the band, I am probably superfluous. If we lost any other member of the band, it wouldn't work, but one of the two guitarists sings better than I do, so it feels kinda weird singing lead with her in the background. Just a bit "floaty" I guess. But that's ok. It's about the experience, not being "the best" at anything.

Something else I learnt today: it is damned hard for me to sing in tune when I can't hear myself and the music being played isn't what I'm used to hearing as a backing You think you know a song... until you try to sing it under those conditions

I squeezed myself in playing some basic strumming on my acoustic during "If it makes you happy" as the guitarist sings that, so I was happy to do that (first time I've ever played a guitar in a room full of people... just because noone could hear me, that's not the point )

All in all it was a good session (I think) and I'm already looking to the next one. I've asked our coach to squeeze me in wherever he can for basic three-chord strumming, as part of the reason I wanted to do this was to become comfortable just "jamming" with other people. We will look at another three songs next week, and no doubt refine the three from today, or decide to drop some of them.

It is a confronting process. There are many reasons why it has taken me over 40 years to even dare to do this (and that includes a decade where I was married to a guitarist and really could have sung any time I wanted, if I hadn't been so shy, so self-conscious, so "down" on myself, and able to just have fun and do it.)

So every time I make rehearsal, pick up a guitar, and pick up a mic, it's a good day, even if it isn't to the standard others might hope for

What I lack in talent and natural ability, I will have to make up with stubborness.


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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Sounds like your doing good and having fun.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@apache)
Reputable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 301
 

Sounds like a fab program, well done for having a go and keep it up :-)


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