Good morning on the morning after our two Highfield Hall Christmas shows. Both terrific shows and all four of us -- Nikki Engstrom, Sean Brennan, Steve, and myself -- felt like we finished our Christmas season on a high note with these concerts. A receptive, laughing, foot tapping crowd made all the difference, and many thanks to music director Robert Wyatt for giving the audience "permission" to enjoy themselves!
Many thanks also to Rob Pemberton, who was there to do an amazing job on sound and on recording the show. Stay tuned... there could be a live Christmas CD next year...
A pre-concert practice technique that worked:
The morning of the concert, run through every piece, but slowly -- almost painfully slowly at times. Just once or twice, a straight run through all alone in the practice room.
It really, really helps, when coupled, of course, with months of practice on the tunes ahead of time.
Even if you don't perform in concerts, you can try this if you're going to a session and have a few tunes in mind that you'd like to play. Just sit, calmly and slowly, work through the tunes even more slowly than you'd ever do in real life...then watch what happens.
Most likely, you'll feel more confident and secure, and that right there is probably the key to successful performance.
Preparation is 99% of the game. And preparation breeds confidence. And once those two are there, the mind is free so that the soul can fly, and then you're making music for the ages!
This still rings in my head:
"Use what talent you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."