There comes a moment as a guitarist when you think:
“Hey, I’d like to get out of my house and play somewhere in front of people!”
Then the survival part of your brain thinks:
“What are you crazy!? Everyone’s going to laugh at you!”
and so you just sit there in the same place and do nothing while playing that same song over and over again. Well guess what? There are several places to play that don’t jump start your heart.
Today’s the day that I’m going to tell you about five safe places to play.
Imagine being stuck all day in the same place with just boring reruns to watch on T.V. You can see your favorite concert is playing at the theater down town but for some reason your body is telling you no were not going there today. Just like it has been for the past 3 days. Then you hear it, a new sound to this gloomy environment. A pleasant frequency to hearing aids everywhere. What’s this? There’s a live concert just down the hall!?
Believe me, there will be spare smile’s passed around. Those people in misery will come out and sit down around you. Their family members will tell you thank you, and their children will be excited and yet calmed by you. They are not there to judge you because they have something more pressing on their minds.
They will sincerely appreciate your performance, no matter what you think.
So pickup that phone and call that Volunteer office at your local hospital. They will get you a badge of acceptance so your not taken out by hospital police. This subject is close to my heart as it proves the principle of “cross bridging” careers and hobbies can lead to greater things. As Dr. Robert Gupta on Ted Talks says:
“The synchrony that we hear in music compels us to remember our humanity.”
2. Retirement Homes
I can think of no better place to go where they appreciate you and tell you repeatedly how much they enjoy you being there. I can remember when I played for an elderly lady and she kept telling me that her daughter played violin. But you see her daughter had passed away and she hadn’t heard a live musician in ten years. Much like patients in the hospital these residents don’t have the capability to venture out by themselves, but unlike the hospital patients they have been in the same area for several years. They may request age old songs from the 40’s and 50’s but you can always say.. Well how about I play this one?
The wide open expansiveness of the park will give ample room for you to walk around and practice amongst the birds and bees. Your music will drift into the ears of two lovers having a picnic in the park and maybe they’ll ask you for your card afterwards. Passer-bys will stop to ask you what song is being teased out by your fingers. Animals will slowly walk toward you and then nibble on your toes… ok maybe just lick them. But you will blend in with mother nature and become the background melody to the wonderful scenery that surrounds you. Much like that famous guy in central park you can provide even the homeless a chance to feel normal.
Overall parks are:
- A good accompaniment
- Expansive enough for you to find a seat
Really? Yes, I’m going to go there and say it. A small group of friends can be your best transitional audience. They can tell you what parts you played too soft and parts you played too loud.
(Hopefully) they will be considerate and yet constructively critical of your performance.
After dinner or lunch is a good time to strike up a couple of songs. With full bellies they will say “Sure, I don’t mind listening to a few tunes.” Then afterwards make sure you ask them what parts they liked and how the song made them feel.
Once you play regularly your friends and even their parents will start inviting you over to play. You may even get a free meal out of it!
5. On Your Front Porch
Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps… Just like in “What about Bob” you may need to only venture just a little farther than your comfort level. Sitting just outside your front door may do the trick. Enjoying the sun on your face and the neighbors waving high you can easily play a couple of motivational songs. Your family members will get to enjoy your playing as well. You will create a serenity in your neighborhood. Often it happens that one of my neighbors plays an instrument and comes over to join me, because music is a social draw. I’m just betting one of your neighbors plays violin or guitar. So drag your favorite chair out to the front of your house and sit their confidently playing.
Now that you’re armed with these 5 safe places you just need to pickup that phone or walk a few feet. You can do it. Todays the day you take a stand against your own inhibitions and become the outgoing musician you were meant to be.
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