The guests included the jazz singer, Mark Winkler (www.markwinklermusic.com), the jazz pianist Frank Zottoli (www.naxos.com/artistinfo/Frank_Zottoli/4765.htm) and the lovely Pattie Brooks (www.pattiebrooks.net/) as well as my bride, Mark’s partner and some close friends of Chris and Ben’s.
After the dinner, we retired to Chris’s studio and proceeded to perform for each other. It was such great fun sharing what we all do with each other. There’s so much talent in the world it is humbling.
As the evening progressed, Mark and I were talking about the biz and he mentioned teaching songwriting at UCLA, so I offered him this site as a resource and then he spoke of a student coming in and telling him that she had her first gig the previous evening.
Cool, he said, what did you learn?
She looked at him bewildered and repeated, what did I learn?
And that’s the theme for today. When you play a gig, any gig, and this applies to every time, what did you learn?
You address this by asking yourself, what went right? What went wrong? What could have been better? Where did you lose focus? Look at every aspect of it, and if you are lucky enough to have a recording of it, listen to it.
It doesn’t matter how painful or how much you feel like Narcissus in hell, listen to it, or better yet if it’s video, look at it. I know it is difficult, as I get many copies of my shows and I find it very uncomfortable to see how good I am NOT, as compared to how good I thought I was.
Ask yourself those questions and answer them truthfully. This will really help you understand what it is you have to do to put on a successful and entertaining show, because when you go up in that spotlight, that’s the tacit promise to the audience; that is the tacit expectation of the audience; and that is the responsibility of a performer.
It also helps to go and see other performers and then ask those same questions to yourself. What went right for them; what went wrong, etc?
It’s a never ending quest and the journey really is the goal.