Author: Daniel, Bert


How many times has this happened to you? You're in a jam with mostly strangers and you start into a solo of a tune that you thought you knew cold. Your break starts out OK but along the way you lose the thread and your solo begins to fall apart. In the past you've saved minor missteps like this, but on this occasion the whole band starts to fall apart with you. The rhythm falls off and your mind starts to think about how your messed up instead of the flow of the music. You can tell that everybody else is self conscious too. That is, after all why the music is breaking down in the first place. It's a classic train wreck and you know in your heart that it didn't have to happen. The pickers were up to this tune, including you. It just didn't happen like it's supposed to for some reason.

Life imitates art, doesn't it? Few of us have jobs where we can go it alone most of the time. Most things turn out to be a group effort and you have to be able depend on your coworkers if you're going to get anything done. If a temporary worker shows up for one day, you might really miss your sick colleague with whom you've worked for many years. The temporary worker may be very well trained and still not nearly as effective. It's just not the same as working with good ol' Joe or Jo.

Of course the temporary worker may turn out to be even better than your regular coworker. That's pretty rare however and more than likely a result of the temporary worker being exceptionally good at their particular skill.

Getting back to music, It's rare that I ever have the opportunity to jam with such an exceptional person. Someone who is just so professional that you can mess up a little bit and still get back into the flow before it becomes a real problem. If you're practicing at home with a record, the other players are always right there, unaffected by your minor inaccuracies. You can take some chances, let it hang out a bit. They'll always be there for you, right on time, with perfect backup as if they never even heard your little mess up.

I wonder what those same musicians from the record would play like if they could actually hear how bad I sound some times! And how much worse would I play if they were standing right next to me in the room? Would I be worrying about what they thought of me or would I be concentrating on playing music closer to their level? It's good for us to be challenged like that. And if we surprise ourselves a little bit and nail a few good licks, it's a real rush isn't it?

But it all starts with trust. If you're a part of any group effort you have to relax, concentrate, do your job the best you can and depend on everybody else to do their own part. Trust.

Posted:  11/13/2011

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