Last night was my second “hourly” performance at Border’s in Simi Valley.
As the day wore on, I could feel the aura of nervousness creeping through me. I practiced all day. Each time I forgot a chord I imagined how that would sound in front of a crowd of people! When would I have an hour’s worth of music memorized without any mistakes?
I rarely forget chords to my own songs, however, now I am playing “cover” songs that I have not played in thirty years. If I did, I played them too high and now I had to transpose them into lower keys!
My nervousness also reflected that I needed a lesson as to how to set up the equipment. My husband and I left plenty of time to get there so he could show me. He was patient, and I was pleased to see him involved in my musical journey. After months of my playing guitar in the bathroom thinking he wasn’t listening, yesterday I heard him say, “You’d better play more cover songs! People like to hear familiar music.”
I did mic checks and adjusted the amplifier. Now it was time for me to play. There was no announcement over the loudspeaker – the manager was on a break. I announced myself. I looked around. There were lots of people, but everyone was either reading, or on a laptop. How interesting! No one was looking at me.
This was different than playing an “open mic,” where everyone’s eyes are on you. I could play as if I were in my bathroom!
So I played and played.
On one of my lower songs, I croaked – I forgot that after singing a lot, my lower register disappears if I’m not careful. I took a drink of water after that. My back started to hurt and it was hard work! My own music was unknown to this crowd. I remembered my husband’s advice to play more of the familiar songs, however, my heart was not in the “cover songs” at all.
However, to be a good singer I knew that every word I sang counted. Halfway into the show, some friends of mine appeared. Seeing them invigorated me, and really helped get my singing back on track.
I began to play my original songs again, which I enjoyed infinitely better. I ended my performance with one of my favorite songs, You Are My Wings.
Afterwards, I visited with my friends. Linda and Bernie had brought their daughter, who was also an aspiring singer. I told Linda to check out what I’d recently written, because her picture was there, too.
“Do you think this audience liked my music?” I asked her.
Linda smiled and said, “Oh, it went over really well. You’re on your way. I just know your songs will be out there and you will be famous.”
I chuckled. I love my friends!
Message to a friend who asked how my first show last Friday, 7/16 went:
It was fantastic!
It was exactly where my journey has led me, and what I feel like I’m supposed to be doing.
I need practice, practice, and more practice, though. This is a perfect venue to get it. No stage, no pressure, no hurry. There are lot’s of people. Some are reading or in the store. However, there are lots of places for them to sit and watch. My show can be promoted on their website, and my plan is to build a “following” by doing a weekly show.
I was able to play as relaxed as I do in my bathroom. Sure, I made a few mistakes – but I even allowed myself to try out new songs. I sang about 15 songs and five were 70′s standards.
Okay, the other good stuff: Four friends came and Norm and Jo showed up to surprise me. My loving friends and family made all the difference. I think if I were only playing for strangers, it wouldn’t have been the same. I’d better get used to that, because friends aren’t always going to be there.
One hour was exhilarating and exhausting. I know it will be a piece a cake after I do it more and more.
Once again friendship propels me. I have moved so far from where I began in February. When I get a message on my answering machine like this one, I want to cry.
Click the blue link to play audio:
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