Confession of a Perfectionista

Confession of a Perfectionista

Greetings all,
I’ve been thinking about this lately, so I thought i’d put this thread out there. How many of you would consider yourself a perfectionist? How does it affect your playing?

I am a b*stard of a perfectionist, I am beginning to admit to myself. and it definitely affects the way I approach the music. for one, i often won’t play a tune in a session unless i know it really well. I don’t know lots of tunes but the ones i know i play freaking well. however, i won’t go to sessions because i don’t know alot of tunes. i know in my heart of hearts that i am very critical of others (playing) as well as my own. and as far as what counts as perfection: i have purist predelictions.

i suppose i get alot of this from my teacher. he was always nice during lessons, but there wasn’t much that could disguise the death look of disgust when he thought i was playing like trash, which was most of the time. he set a ruthless and uncompromisingly high standard.

while it’s not an altogether happy or healthy way to live, it’s my impression that there are alot of us perfectionistas and type-A-ers out there in ITM and it affects people in various ways. if fact, ITM seems to attract perfectionistas. any testimonials? anyone had any interesting encounters with perfectionistas? anyway, just wanted to see what others had to say on this.

nota bene: less than perfect replies will be summarily deleted by Jeremy!

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Unless you got to one session all the time where you know what the sets are (or have played the tunes since birth and know all the variations) and have played them all the time, I think everyone is entitled to having less than perfect tunes. I’m an mechanical engineer by trade and there is always an "oops" lurking in the shadows… Don’t let my employer hear that… ;-)

Must be the philosophy department getting to you; so how did Derrida’s death affect you (WAY OFF TOPIC!!!!)

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hey there mr. b. so what bridges have you helped construct that i should now avoid? ;)

derrida….a bit of a surprise, actually. (but it usually happens that way with pacreatic cancer). derrida was brilliant though in producing texts in which one among a number of legitimate interpretations of some of what he wrote was that that it possesses absolutely no meaning at all. however, don’t despair: his legacy will continue in the capable hands of derridians.

and now back to the regularly scheduled programming…

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I think you need to ask yourself why you are this way. Is it because you assume that other people would be as critical of you as you are of them?

"it’s my impression that there are alot of us perfectionistas and type-A-ers out there in ITM and it affects people in various ways"

Is that what motivates you to strive for perfection? Or is it that you just want to feel good and like your own playing, and be able to tell other people so?

"I don’t know lots of tunes but the ones i know i play freaking well"

Or is it simply that you want to be a better player for yourself, nobody else?

If that’s the case, why are you telling us?

"it’s not an altogether happy or healthy way to live"

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Ah, but would any of you "do a David Beckham" and play a bum note deliberately? Maybe, to put the bodhran player (or someone else you didn’t like)off his game. :-)

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I would comment, but this thread has some imperfections.

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It is rather purile to mess about and play silly chords just to put the bodhran player off.
Thats why I do it.

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You seem to imply in claiming that you can put them off that they are actually listening in the first place ;-)

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that’s what I like about this group, Derridia and bodhran bashing in one thread

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Hi Brendan, where are you?? Are you back in "Windy City"? Still down ‘south’?? If you’re about, bring back "The Mossy Banks’ to Nevin’s. Perfection there is always in short supply :-)

Sandy

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Ha ha ha, sandy! gawd, i love that tune. still south of the border. funny how being away from the ole scene makes you think. how things back at the nevin’s homestead?

dow, wish i had good answers to your questions. sometimes on good days perfectionism is a healthy striving for excellence, other days it’s about trying to prove something or trying to measure up. i donno. any freudians out there?

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Perfection.
A strange notion in a music where one tune can have many interpretations, and one instrument can be played in many styles….

Personally I don’t think that ‘musical perfectionists’ and sessions make very comfortable bedfellows. Hyper critical people make everyone else edgy and actually make the music worse, because people don’t play in a relaxed fashion if they think their every note is subject to criticism.

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I just found an email from one of my trusted friends and mentors. This person has a lovely house session where all the players are top notch and very experienced. I’m the new kid on the block in regards to Irish Music so I used to get so nervous going to this session. When asked what tunes I was working on, I could feel myself shaking and my face turning bright red while playing my new tunes. Here’s what I’m going to copy and paste from an email sent to me by this person on 4/3/03:

"You’re at a level now where it’s time to stop being shy about playing - just jump in there and give yourself permission not to play it perfectly."

Presently, I’m really comfortable with these people and when I’m asked to play I just do the best I can (knowing that I have worked hard on this tune(s)). I don’t worry about making mistakes or playing perfectly anymore. And I have noticed that no one else really plays everything perfectly anyways.

Brendan, it took a lot of guts to post this thread. I admire your respect and love towards the Music. But make sure that you are doing what truly makes you happy. I don’t think traditional music is meant to be played perfectly :-)

I wish you the best, and really mean it!!

Joyce

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thank you for that kind post, joyce. house sessions and that warm, welcoming atmosphere: that´s what i miss the most at the moment. and a decent guinness!

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We are good at house sessions here in the north country of Vermont, especially during the long winters. Brendan, if you or anyone else is in the area, I’m sure I could get together a nice warm house session.

Joyce

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"There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." - Norman Vincent Peale

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Do not be awe struck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can.
Norman Vincent Peale
:-)

Norman Vincent Peale inspirational thread

heh heh

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You wrote.

>I am a b*stard of a perfectionist, I am beginning to admit to myself. and

The word "and" after the period should start with a capital "A"

Also, you should not begin a sentence with the word "and" — though if you have are writing creatigve prose you have license to do so.

—Eliot

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Creatigve prosgve, LOL

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"That is precisely the sort of errant pedantry up with which I will not put." - Winston Churchill (I know I know — it’s not exactly what he said)

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Thanks for the invite joyce. i look forward to taking you up on it.

ottery, what’s this business about your preferred or non-preferred bedfellows? perhaps you got this page mixed up with *another* site, hmmmmmmm?

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I said ‘comfortable bedfellows’, not preferred(!)
Bedfellows is a wonderful word, not used nearly enough these days….

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Nevin’s is rollin’ right along as usual, a good mid-level session hosted by top level players who will occasionally tolerate perfection.