Solo Improv Performance
This is a slightly-edited version of a note I sent to my Boogie-Talk friends after I played at an open mic on Oct. 24th:
Not counting BTNW, this is the second time I've played in public since quitting Almost Milwaukie in August of last year, and the first time I've played for people who don't already know me. I really wanted to get an unbiased reaction about what I'm trying to do with my playing. I swore Mary-Suzanne to secrecy and made her promise that she wouldn't stack the deck by inviting a bunch of friends...
I got up and played 12 minutes of "improv" fingerstyle guitar - no vocals. I have a bunch of themes, but no set way of stringing them together; the "improv" comes in finding my way through the various themes as I'm playing. It actually went pretty well even though I rushed a bit; I had timed out my set to 15 minutes when I rehearsed it last week. I managed to reach a graceful and obvious conclusion and received enthusiastic applause for my efforts. The host invited me to "come back any time". All in all, it seems I didn't suck.
I made good use of the "make mistakes like you mean it" principle: If you start wandering off into the weeds, embellish and repeat before moving on.
I was kind of surprised at the attack of nerves... I haven't played solo in mumble decades and forgot what it's like to be up on stage all alone. But I'm looking forward to doing another open mic in a couple weeks, encouraged by my guitar student Kate Mann, who not only invited me to tonight's gig but also played to a very enthusiastic response - she has an amazing voice.
And to the rest of you who have been nagging me all along... Thanks.
Here's a picture from Mary-Suzanne's camera phone: