taking a flute out in public

taking a flute out in public

So there I am, all happy to be attending a session (my first), listening to music and wondering whether there’s any point in getting my instrument out. (this is a French session, very little irish getting played and I know almost none of the repertoire). Suddenly, out comes morisson’s. and I think "hey, I know this". Out comes the flute and I completely mess up. The embouchure isn’t there, the bottom lip is trembling a bit, si I overcompensate by blowing way to hard and end up unable to breathe! (having to breathe almost every bar :/)

But this morning, with familiar acoustics and no "audience", it comes out with no problem.

bweh!

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Re: taking a flute out in public

That was your first time. Next time it won’t be your first time, and it will be easier. We all had a first time. It can be frightening. Look forward, not back!

Re: taking a flute out in public

Heh heh, welcome to my flautist’s life. When I’m playing on my own, it sounds like magic. But it’s enough a good flute player to be present next to me and I start having serious problems, struggling to get to the end - embochure gone, fingers stiff, pain in the shoulder - not to say anything about playing in session with other musicians. And this after 10 years of public performance!

Playing with others is very different than playing alone. What I found helpful (being vain as I am, I want to improve faster than just from session to a session) is getting a friend musican to meet with you for a few tunes every now and then. It’s not as stressful as an open session, you don’t spoil everybody’s music, and the training is much more versatile - like if you want to repeat a part a few more times, or a tune or improve something, you can solve it on the spot.

Best of luck in your struggle upwards.

Re: taking a flute out in public

Wot’s all this about "performance" !?

🙂

I don’t know if the comment I’m about to make will be any comfort, but even after a couple of decades of session playing, when I’m about to embark on a new set of tunes to attempt to introduce them into the session’s common repertoire, I know I’m going to fluff it a couple of times somewhere. So what’s the point of worrying. You get nervous and that’s it. Just play through it. Don’t fall into the trap of getting nervous about getting nervous - you know you are, so go with it, and when that mistake comes along try and play through it. Just keep focussed on the music. There are times when the other people in the bar, players and non-players might be more supportive by not talking over when you play, or at least not too loudly - but then, just you and deathly silence is scary as well. If it helps, close your eyes - some people here are bemused by this, but try it to see if it helps you.

Re: taking a flute out in public

BTW, this refers not just to flute playing - box or whistle also in my experience.

Re: taking a flute out in public

Yeh, same thing betimes but I often find it helps to listen to what people beside you are playing and go with that.

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Re: taking a flute out in public

I used to be very concerned about this, but then I noticed that the musicians I admired in the local session had the same problem. They’d try to play some new tune solo and flub it up a couple of times. Thing was, it didn’t really bother them and I realized it didn’t bother me either. You’re probably much more aware and concerned about your shortcomings than anyone else.

Re: taking a flute out in public

I remember once being at a big music party where all types of traditional music was being played. I was in a room with a group of old-timey fiddlers and launched into Little Beggarman (aka Red-Haired Boy) because both trads have that tune in common. Now, I’m pretty confident playing that tune, but the fiddlers formed a circle around me and, instead of playing the melody with me, started playing a pizzacato backup, so I was the only one playing the melody. It sounded great, and was generous of them to feature me, but I was scared stiff! Made it through, but I remember constantly thinking, "PLEASE don’t f*** up!"

Sometimes it’s good to get thrown in the deep end. Teaches you pain and humility, which I’m told is character-building. Not sure I buy that, but thought you’d enjoy the story.

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Re: taking a flute out in public

Hey There no need 2 be worried next time u go 2 a session u will c sum1 dat is exactly like de way u were believe me i speak 4m experience!!!!!

Re: taking a flute out in public

Hey A Nice Calm Day

I am a member of the club also. Actually, I get stressed when there is a certain other musician who is like fingernails on a blackboard, but rams through the music.

Herself tells me to get over it. And in my day job, I have done alot of public presentation work so know how to handle myself in front of people. But the lady player still drives me to distraction.

Like Aillen said…you get into your mind that you a screwed up and are afraid your going to do it again. Fear that you are going to be afraid. Strange concept.

I’ve started the eye closing on the box. Since we play blind any way (no jokes from anyone about box players sounding like they are playing blind!) it seems to help. But you have to look for the leader for cues.

I’ve even been told eating bananas before playing helps. But they don’t go well followed by Guiness!

and ROISIN. Please cut out the text message stuff! I have trouble enough figuring out what my kids are sending out.

Re: taking a flute out in public

thanks for the words of encouragement. :D

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