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Gulp, Playing In Public


Helen
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Hi Everyone,

 

I missed you all. I was off work for a long time, sick, went back to work for two weeks and fell and broke my leg. Off again. Now I am back at work and back at C.net.

 

I only played my concertina hidden away in my house with the dogs as an audience. But now I am hooked on playing in public. I am in a band at church. Yes at church. A Quaker Church, at that.

 

I thought that I would start by playing with other members in a LARGE group at someone's home. That changed to me doing a solo at the church the very next day. I recommend not having time to think. It worked for me.

 

I played Amazing Grace. Everyone clapped. I was shocked. And hooked. I joined the band and am having the time of my life. How could I ever think playing alone at home was the only way to go.

 

So, how did the rest of you start to play in public? What was your first instrument to play and what tune?

 

I know everyone is far ahead of me, rushing right out to play with others. I was a bit shy. I'll talk to strangers, but playing was a big leap for me.

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I have been playing the violin/fiddle for about 7 years now, and I only started playing with people 2 years ago. It was on my friends fiddle, around a bonfire at a historic event. They convinced me to play a few tunes, and since there were several oher fiddlers there, we ended up passing it around and playing a few tunes each. Great fun, I'll never forget it. After that, I got [somewhat] over my great terror of having others hear me, and I've since enjoyed making music with people every chance I get. ^_^

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Welcome Back Helen! :)

 

 

My first public performance on the concertina was my instructor's recital when I was 10. A wheezy East German, mother of toilet-seat Scholer and the tune which I also sang was "I don't want her you can have her, she's too fat for me". I don't remember her name, but I remember her bee-hive hairdo. :D

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Hallo Helen WELCOME BACK.

This place has not been the same without you.

My first sort of performance was at The Black Horse sing around Nuthurst in Sussex. I loved ,at that time, New York Girls and started off the song expecting that everyone would finish it,imagine my horror when everyone waited for the second verse which I did not know.My next effort was at The Anchor Folk Club in Horsham same song and by now I had learnt the words.I started singing with no problems , when suddenly I was completely out of breath.It was just as if between verses I had run around the block and returned to sing again. I was gasping for breath and how I finished it I shall never know.It probably started my problems of performing in Folk Clubs ,but I shall crack it one day. With my Concertina playing I had not had the instrument long and turned up for a Weekend

Morris Ale with The Broadwood Men and no other musician of ours turned up until later. I had mastered Shepherds Hey and I was bullied into playing for most of the morning for the dancers.I suppose when the pressure is on you rise to the occasion.(as they say).

Good luck with your solo and band future Helen . Have you played your PA for them yet.

Al

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So, how did the rest of you start to play in public? What was your first instrument to play and what tune?

 

I know everyone is far ahead of me, rushing right out to play with others. I was a bit shy. I'll talk to strangers, but playing was a big leap for me.

Hi Helen,

 

When I saw your sub-title, I was fearing that I would need to go out and buy, or rent, a dog!

 

I've probably posted this elsewhere, but in my case, it was the need of my local Morris team, who were therefore very supportive. As we all know, people go to watch the dancers, never to listen to the musician, so whilst the musician might be nervous, it's possible to "hide" behind the dancers.

 

Many of us are shy, but that doesn't stop us being good musicians. You just have to have enough ability, and make that leap of faith into becoming a performer. Both as a singer, and concertina player, I first performed many miles from home, at places where I was not likely to return. So, complete strangers were not to know how good I was, and a sub-standard performance could be put down as a "one-off". Fortunately, my first performances went well, which built my confidence. Performing has much to do with confidence.

 

When you make that leap into becoming a performer, that it itself brings confidence. Growing confidence enables the performer to try more, and also more adventurous, things on their chosen instrument. It's very much a building cycle.

 

So, my first concertina performances were with the Wheatstone Anglo which I've had since 1982, and my first performance "from the stage" of a Folk Club saw me play Planxty Irwin. As I left the stage, I heard someone say "Nice to hear a concertina played properly". It was quite a good performance, so I had bluffed well.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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So, how did the rest of you start to play in public? What was your first instrument to play and what tune?

 

/quote]

 

First public performance. In '66 I arrived at Middlesborough Folk Club with guitar and three chords, thinking to do a floor spot. The guest, John Foreman, hadn't turnd up. I got paid a fiver for singing, "Where have all the flowers gone". "Mary Ann", (can't remember that one now) "Bottle of wine". and the like for half an hour. To about a hundred people. It was like that in those days.

Wonder if they'd have me back?

 

Concertina debut was playing, "Sally Gardens" at a garden party around '93. (Although I'd had it since '72!) Bloody thing was out of tune.

Well I didn't know. Thought it was soposed to sound like that. :blink:

 

Chas

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Of course I performed publicly on brass instruments from the age of ten, but my first go on concertina was on the out-of-tune red clowncertina I got at a boot sale in 1992. It was about 1995 I suppose, and I played and sang "The Good Ship Calabar." I could do much better now, but the audience didn't know how a tuned concertina should sound, any better than I did!

 

Ken

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I missed you all. I was off work for a long time, sick, went back to work for two weeks and fell and broke my leg. Off again. Now I am back at work and back at C.net.

 

[snip]

 

So, how did the rest of you start to play in public? What was your first instrument to play and what tune?

And we missed you. Good to have you back. Do you know, in the time you've beeen away you've dropped from, I think it was second most prolific poster after Jim to just eighth. I hope you're going to do something about that ...

 

I don't remember my first instrumental performance, though logic clearly says it must have been playing Lass O'Dallowgill for the East Saxon Sword on melodeon sometime in the early '70s. I do remember the first time I sang at the public at the second Wadebridge Folk Festival around about 1974, when I accidentally (no, really) let myself be called up to give a couple of songs at a singaround hosted by Mervin Vincent, a man for whom the phrase "larger than life" was expressly minted. Well I got through it, and if in retrospect the applause was basically polite, it was enough to get me hooked, and I've been making a pest of myself in public ever since.

 

Chris

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Hi, Helen. Welcome back. I certainly missed you. I see that even with your long absence you are still up there (at number 8) among concertina.net's highest posters (click "my assistant" at the top of the page for access to this kind of stuff).

 

Like Ken, my first public performance on an instrument was in an elementary school orchestra, in my case on the cello. Also some solo performances on that instrument as the years went on.

 

But there is a wide range of things you can do that is more public than playing for the dogs and less intimidating than performing on stage. Find others to play with (and play for their dogs :) ). Go to places where musicians meet regularly to play. Spend a week over the summer (or other time) at a workshop.

 

In the early 1980s I started playing the hammered dulcimer with friends and by 1985 we had formed a band and started a series of contradances in New York City (it only lasted one season--I moved to Albany that summer).

 

On concertina, my first public performances were as musician with the morris dancers here. I had started playing with them on other instruments and one of the reasons I went for the concertina was to have something loud to play with them.

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...

 

So, how did the rest of you start to play in public? What was your first instrument to play and what tune?

 

...

 

My first public musical performance was in a piano recital when I was eight or so. I've since done clarinet and voice (with varying degrees of other people taking part, and more often when I was still in the throes of a formal education); my first public concertina performance (thirty years later) was also one of very few solo performances (unless you count the six guys in front of me with bells and hankies--I was playing "Mrs. Casey" not very well at all for my morris team at an ale in western Massachusetts). I'm now aiming for my second public performance to be on the next open band night at the English dance series my wife helps organize in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA)--I need to improve a bit before I can play reliably with others, but I have a month and a half to practice.

 

jdms

 

(edited to correct the morris implement--memory seems to be a trifle spotty...)

Edited by jdms
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Playing in Public ?

 

My first attempt was some 27 years ago playing 'John de Paris' for a Morris side in Oman, the least said about that the better. Since when I have played more regularly for a Ladies Clog dancing side here in Aberdeen with varying degrees of panic - it' s kind of nice when the Dancers sing the bits you've forgotten or messed up.

 

However, I still get attacks of the jittery fingers when I play with others at Sessions - the only cure I've found is to attend regularly and get to know the other players before launching in with that new tune you've peformed brilliantly at home.

 

They say it gets easier the more you do it but I still find it's like attending the dentist ! But the 'buzz' when it works !!!

 

Steve

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The first time I performed, I was part of a lineup of different acts performing for the INternational Students Festival in a cafeteria of one of the University of North Texas's dormitories. This was nine years ago.

 

I played a horrible rendition of Star Wars. I kept messing up. Big ones that I couldn't cover up, but everyone was so overwhelmed by the novelty of seeing a concertina and hearing the Star Wars theme that the applause was thunderous.

 

Still, I was crushed and embarrassed. I had to stop halfway through the song. What a nightmare. There must have been at least two hundred people watching.

 

Still, they loved it, but I left in shame immediately.

 

After that initial experience, performing in front of people has become as easy as eating cake.

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I played a horrible rendition of Star Wars...

 

The first time I ever heard a concertina played was at a presentation in middle school. The player--I have no memory of his name, but this was in Berryville, VA, in 1982 or thereabouts--did a Darth Vader impression with the air button (followed by an excerpt from Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"--both of these were demonstrations of the instrument's inherent coolness).

 

jdms

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I played a horrible rendition of Star Wars...

 

The first time I ever heard a concertina played was at a presentation in middle school. The player--I have no memory of his name, but this was in Berryville, VA, in 1982 or thereabouts--did a Darth Vader impression with the air button (followed by an excerpt from Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"--both of these were demonstrations of the instrument's inherent coolness).

 

jdms

 

That's awesome. I did just learn how to play the imperial death march. I will experiment with the air busom for maximum effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, I loved everyone's stories. Sorry, I fell off the internet for a while again, but I am back.

 

Someone asked if I played PA for the church. Yes, I have. The concertina is easier to lug around. The PA has a little more range though!

 

I think the coolness factor has a lot to do with people liking me playing in church. (Wait, no, I mean the coolness of the concertina; certainly not me.) Also, I think they feel if they encourage me, I'll come to church more!

 

The playing with others in a group was why I hesitantly approached these guys in the first place. I was planning on being lost in a group playing folk or bluegrass music at someone's house. However, the thrown in at the deep end type of playing certainly worked for me.

 

I was surprised that people liked it and astonished that they applauded. In church. So, yes I got hooked. I like the camaraderie also (did I spell that correctly?).

 

You guys are so brave who kept at it when you felt the whole experience went wrong. I might have hidden for good. Here's to you.

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