Been Out of the Loop for a While, so Now What?

When you are out of the loop for a while, how do you get back into it?

In January I had to go into the hospital for yet more heart issues. And without going into details, the waiting period before, the anxiety leading up to a date, the actual procedure,  and then the recovery just put me out of the loop.

Now by out of the loop I mean, not much contact with my network or very little playing of the Stick. I did some lyric writing, a jam session in Lachute with some unknown musicians and some work programming my pedal board but that was about it.

Now when it comes to getting back into it, the first thing I found was how stiff and awkward sounding my Stick playing was. Man it was discouraging!

So how to get back to it?

  • Play through the rough parts
  • Play what was an easy piece and get back to basics.
  • Looked at some new material and attempt it (at least there is no previous reference so a little less frustrating.
  • Listened to some older recorded things I did, just to prove to myself that I was capable.

And what i learned was:

  • Practice everyday is crucial to get back into it
  • Focus on a bit at a time
  • Be easy on myself, things get better when you do the above.

Now what happens next?

Here’s one of the first things I ever recorded on the Stick.

Some Live Gig Observations

If you are not doing live gigs, then selling music online and trying to be a professional musician is a huge uphill battle. Mainly because if no one has heard of you why would they even listen to your music, not to mention even have heard of you?

Bernie practicing the Chapman StickIn todays music industry, live is the fastest way to some level of success. Playing live is not for the faint at heart, but it can be overcome.

If you have never played live, an open mic is probably a good way to start.

Performing solo is the most logical way to start, and that was the case for me. I can sing and accompany myself so that is how I started gigging in this new music business model.

So here are some observations I have seen…

  • Memorize at least 6 songs of varying tempos and keys so you can do an open mic.
  • Challenging yourself is the best thing you can do to improve quickly.
  • Stick around after an open mic and network with the other performers.
  • Practice singing with a mic on your own and looking up at the crowd (even if they are not theatre when you practice.)
  • Use a tuner and tune before going on stage.
  • Arrive early.
  • Bring business cards, post cards and other items, because some people will want your contact info.
  • Know your instrument and set up requirements. Be in control of your sound as much as you can before you are connected to the sound system.

Now this is not an all inclusive list and I will add more items in a future post.

If you have any observations, please feel free to comment.

PS: always be prepared to listen and learn!