Have you found contentment in your playing?

Have you found contentment in your playing?

If not, why, and if so, how?

I play the box, several arrangements, and have for years, as well as the fiddle and the guitar. Not always for trad. I personally am sometimes content and sometimes discontent, I suppose as suits my mood.

As always I intend to improve, and that’s why I ask. Watashiwa shoshinsen no motte imasu.

Cheers lads and lasses, I look forward to hearing from you.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

I think I’m always content when I play, especially surrounded by just the right people at just the right moment in a session or around a fire. I’ve been playing the pipes for a year and a half, which is a lifelong dream come true, and every time I strap myself in, I’m always so excited. It’s truly a magical feeling, occasionally made less so by tuning issues etc. But that’s fairly rare. Similar feeling with the whistle when you’re in the flow, but less so than pipes. And similar with a nice guitar that almost plays itself.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Now and then, but it is elusive.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

My bar is not as high as Michael’s, but I’d say only about 50-75% of the time. Chet

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

I love to play and find great joy in it, especially when my hands are cooperating. Such is not always the case because I have lost some sensitivity in my fingers. I now play a silver flute with a wooden head, about which I have posted here. Not having to cover holes, but rather use padded keys helps but there are many challenges. The transition is taking much longer than I anticipated, but when I’m on, it is very satisfying and fun. I’ve been playing many years and have some of the finest flutes out there, but they may be in the past for me, as they are of the 19th century design and my hands can’t navigate them well. But I always used the Boehm for all other styles and so I won’t let the situation get me down. It’s working better every day and contentment is an understatement.

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Most of the time, I do find the contentment. It was a multi-year battle to find it, though. For many years, I only found contentment in my playing when I was playing with a few select players that always made me feel like a better player. And then they disappeared from the session scene, one by one, for various reasons. I felt like I was floundering for a few years, but during that time, I started to focus my attention more to my own playing and try to find the inspiration from within, instead of from other players. It was a painful time, but it made me a better player…

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

If the great James Kelly considers fiddle a lifelong endeavor of learning, who am I to feel content?

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Yes, mostly yes, until I’m not. That’s when I have to remind myself that I’ll never be "best" but I am "enough" and that makes me content. That, and I am most happy in good company.

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Why be content when I can constantly move the goalposts and hold myself to unreasonable expectations?

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

‘Contentment is Wealth’
-its also a great CD!

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Sweet clip, i should learn that tune, already play the mooncoin.
(I was referring to the Matt Molloy CD.)
As long as there’s a whistle in your pocket and .. err well the better part of a fiver for a pint at the session, you aren’t poor.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Yes.
But only in the last couple of years, ( swapped flutes, and learnt how to breathe )
I play a Pratten now, ( easier to fill ) and I no longer try to emulate studio sounds, AND I breathe properly.

Been playing 30 years.
Quite a journey

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The only thing that really gets on my wick is the times when i get nervous and my rhythm goes.
I think that’s a ‘focussing on a narrow sample of the next few notes’ instead of just relaxing and playing the tune.
If only there was an elixir of the gods that comes in a handy drinkable form that makes me not give a feck and just play the tune…
There’s nothing better whatsoever than when you’re flying, especially playing with others, when you are just playing spontaneously & for the love of it. And variations just happen.
Paradoxically, it doesn’t feel like something you’re trying to do. More like something that happens to you. like grace.
or guinness.
(tho guinness happens to me more than musical inspiration)

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Aren’t there two questions here? Most of the talk above relates to the question of whether we are content *with* what we are playing. I would hope that anyone actually trying to make music would always be a bit wobbly on that - sometimes it’s pleasingly good, or improving in a satisfying way; but sometimes not. Improvement is always a possibility.

But when I first saw the thread I understood being content *in* our playing was perhaps a bit deeper: are we content to be on the long and sometimes difficult journey to becoming the best player we can? Does being on that journey bring satisfaction and contentment to our lives, even when we are at a frustrating stage? Hopefully most of us can answer a clear "Yes!" I know I can.

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

At times but it is always replaced by curiosity about what is round the next corner.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

On a good day, yes. A good day is when playing doesn’t feel like a struggle, or perhaps when practice comes good and I realise I am doing something I used not to be able to do. I’m in the flow, timing is good, and I can relax into enjoying the tunes.

Discontentment is when my fingers don’t do what I ask of them, and all the tunes seem too fast, and left and right hands will not coordinate with each other, and … and …

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Like everyone else here, probably, it comes and goes.

I’ll never be content with my actual level of playing or repertoire. However, there are many times when I feel content enough that I’m enjoying my music and playing reasonably well taking into account my knowledge, skills, and experience.

Other times, I might be nervous and make mistakes, tired, or just "fall apart". There might be a variety of reasons for this. Some can be addressed over time but others just seem to happen.
The last couple of years haven’t been great due to the general situation which everyone has gone through. Also, illness intervened too as it has on different occasions over the years. Not all the same conditions, of course, but such things happen to everyone.

Usually, I get over these hurdles eventually. I’m much more content generally since late Summer onwards although I still have "off days" and a few "can’t be bothered" days. Again, I’m sure this happens to all of us.
🙂

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Yes, two questions, bex! I’m at my most content while playing, surrounded by friends, in a nonjudgmental environment where we can share energy and come and go as we please out of the weaving sound. It’s why I do this stuff.

But am I content with how I play? No way. I’m getting past the stage where I beat myself up over "mistakes," but I try to learn from them. I feel I’m getting closer to playing the sound I want to hear, but what’s in my head improves with more listening and learning, so I hope to continue to grow for a long time yet.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

What’s the name of the second tune in the Mary Bergin clip? Driving me nuts trying to remember it.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

john knoss asked:
"What’s the name of the second tune in the Mary Bergin clip? Driving me nuts trying to remember it."

I think it’s Langstrom’s Pony:
https://thesession.org/tunes/61

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

@john knows - Second tune is the Mooncoin jig (it’s listed in the title of the video as well)

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Mary Bergin first jig Contentment is wealth and The Mooncoin.

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

I’m with bex here in thinking about the original question(s). I have certainly found many many hours of peaceful contentment in playing this wonderful music. It soothes my soul. Am I content with my level of playing, my technical command, my feel, heart, lift, nyah? Absolutely not!

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Thanks gooseinthenettles. Them old brain cells totally confused.

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I live for those moments when I am content with my playing. Sometimes everything just comes together and it feels (fairly) effortless. Most of the time I’m not content and feel like I’m reaching for something elusive. But the times when I AM content are the moments that make all of the other ones worth while. I will say the longer I play the more "content" moments I have. I’ve been playing guitar the longest and I’m largely satisfied when I play. I’m not the greatest guitar player but I can do what I do decently. Flute is a different prospect because I’ve only been playing a few years and it’s not quite second nature to me yet. On flute, I just have a "good embouchure" day I’m pretty happy!

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Ditto joe fidkid and bex.

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I haven’t read all the comments, soz, so maybe this has been covered.
If I’m playing on my own at home it’s usually quite neutral. Enjoyable, but neither too enjoyable or a chore.
In sessions, to me, it depends who I’m playing with. Or who is in the pub.
If the other players appear at all judgemental, whether they are good players or not (" ‘better’ than me" - or not - whatever that all means - that can be very subjective….) …I don’t enjoy it. In fact I would sometimes make an excuse and leave. Fok it. Or if the pub is too busy with loads of shouty people. The other week there were people talking very loudly over some really excellent music…then at the end of the sets, applauding. Not sure why. They weren’t bliddy well listening. (Apart from that it was a great sesh.)
Then there are supremely inspiringly sublime moments, often more than just moments. It all clicks. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. A bit like any other addiction, I suppose. Chasing that moment….

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Occasionally. Generally speaking , no. Got my first guitar at about 15. Learning ever since. Lots of "that’s ok" but always thinking "where next?"
Got my first g banjo aged 25. Same story.
First electric guitar aged 40. Same story.
First fiddle at age 40. Same again.
When it all feels uphill I go back to the songs and tunes I first learned and take cover in there.
And then I say to myself "Did you ever think as a child, you would ever be able to play a musical instrument?" and I thank God for the little bit of talent he has seen fit to grant me, and yes, I find contentment in my playing then. 🙂🙂

Edit: I’m now 71

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

On the whole, yes, or I wouldn’t bother to keep on playing, especially in the face of rapidly declining hearing.
But not complacent: I can always do better.
And quoting Ross Faison, who pretty well sums it up for me: "Yes, mostly yes, until I’m not. That’s when I have to remind myself that I’ll never be "best" but I am "enough" and that makes me content. That, and I am most happy in good company."

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I am profoundly content with my playing. Over the years, I’ve accomplished a number of personal musical long term goals, as well as musical milestones; The ultimate milestone being truly admiring and respecting my own playing. With that being said, contentment and ambition are not mutually exclusive: I believe that one reason why I am so deeply content with my playing is because I have undoubtedly done an excellent job at accumulating and cultivating learning resources. As far as I’ve come, there’s still so much further I can go. There’s always a class I could take. There’s always a book I could read. There’s always a skill to practice. There’s always someone who has done it longer, and can do it better, and that presents a longevous learning opportunity. Even still, with the way that my family, friends, and peers respond to my playing, I can’t help but be content. As many flaws, shortcomings, or otherwise issues with my playing as there may be, I have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of myself in any way. And it is time that I acknowledge such.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

LuckyNumber, しょしんせんは何ですか

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Another ditto to Joe FidKid and Bex.

There are two completely different questions the thread title can imply.

1) Do you have/have you felt a feeling of contentment while playing?

Yes indeed! Playing is just part of me, a part I can’t imagine living without.

2) Are you content with how you play?

No indeed! I think it’s a rare thing with many people who create (musicians, composers, artists, writers, actors) to finish a piece, step back, and be fully content with it. You perceive flaws that perhaps no-one else can! You are convinced that it’s not the best you’re capable of. It’s that feeling of striving towards your best that keeps creative people hungry, it’s the feeling of not accomplishing all you believe you can that keeps creative people humble.

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No—I enjoy it and get a lot out of it but contentment? No—not even close. I think fundamentally I’m n0t really a good musician—people who don’t play think I am but I feel like I don’t have anything original to say. I’m a B student. The good thing about being a B student is you are always challenged, whereas mastery can lead to boredom

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

I suppose it depends what you mean. Does playing make me happy? Definitely. It fluctuates of course, but if it didn’t make me happy I wouldn’t have kept doing it!

Now am I content with my playing? These days yes, I think I am. I spent a long time feeling a kind of imposter syndrome, and comparing myself to other people. Nowadays I’m happy with my playing. I don’t feel the need to say “well I play a bit, but I’m no Kevin Burke”, or whatever. I don’t have to be Kevin Burke. I can just be me. Which is to say, not as good as Kevin Burke, but good. And interesting. And worth listening to.

Having said that, I see plenty of flaws in the way I play. I’m always trying to improve and progress. I can even get quite frustrated from time to time when something just isn’t working. But that’s what practice is for. And sometimes you just need to chill out and see how you feel a few months later.

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

"but if it didn’t make me happy I wouldn’t have kept doing it!"
There you have it. Nothing to add to that, personally.

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

God I love music. Thank you. Were it not for this great art, I’d have had to figure out how to spend all my life. 🙂

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Pure joy while playing. It’s the happiest space. Especially amongst friends.

Contentment “in” - always striving to improve. But if I’m going to judge myself I’ll be a kindly and sympathetic one. There’s plenty of others to knock us down. I’m likely good enough for my stage of the journey (5 years in). Lots of room for improvement. But I’m not aiming at an absolute standard. Or deeming myself to be 26% on the road to “Matt Molloy” and in a rush to >75%.

We are all looking to do our best. In real life we teach, do IT, nurse, drive taxis, farm, manage businesses or any variety of careers. When we play we become something special - musicians.

Max contentment is the tune space. With congenial company. And chat. And a couple of pints. And the Bucks of Oranmore.

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Playing music is a compulsion…I need to do it. It’s like I’m a fish that needs to swim, or a bird that needs to fly. And I lose track of time. Yesterday I was playing and glanced at clock and it was 12:16! I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch at 12:30… I said ACK! and ran out the door. This happens a lot!

I don’t really think about whether I’m contented with my playing..or really judge at all…but I will work hard to fix things that I did wrong, and improve, learn new things. Feel like I’ve got to do it, to make the music better.

PS Jerone, impressed by the Japanese there! Although I have no idea what you said 🙂

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Yes, I have found contentment. If I’m not content with what I’m doing there are really only two choices. The first is to find a way to do it where I am content. The other is to step back, take a moment, try again later. Later may be only seconds or minutes. Sometimes that is all in takes. If not I wait until the next day, usually with a bit of well needed rest I find it’s better.

しょしんせんは何ですか

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Cancion, what I said in Japanese was a response to LuckyNumber’s comment, “Watashiwa shoshinsen no motte imasu”; which is actually Japanese, but in Romaji form.

Ironically enough, what I said in Japanese was, “What is shoshinsen?”

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Never

Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

How do you find contentment, Kellie?

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Re: Have you found contentment in your playing?

Sometimes. I play as a hobbyist and part of my interest in playing music is therapeutic. I battle depression, often deep depression, and playing music, the whistle, sometimes helps lift me up. When a tune begins to come together, it can relieve some of depression. And when I can play a tune off the page it is very encouraging. The difficulty is depression often zaps the desire to practice and this feeds the cycle of depression.