Delivering Music

  Musicians are all over the world. They play instruments, sing, and so many other things. The magic in all of this is that its all a process that just comes together on stage and seems so easy. I am here to tell you that it is certainly not, but it can be worked on diligently to make it seem so. I am fascinated by what it takes to perform on stage, yet I do it like I am lifting a toothbrush up to my mouth most nights. This not to say that it is not a struggle at times or that I am some sort of master, I have just done it so many times.

   This posting was inspired by a great friend of mine named Jeri Silverman. She and I have known each other for quite some time and I fully support her journey. She is most definitely a talented artist who is relentlessly pursuing her dreams and I respect it. I watched her closely a few nights ago as she played with her band at a local club. I was playing closer attention than usual on this particular night. I wanted to give her my honest opinion from one musician to another.

   When I entered the club, I did not see her or her band members. I was told to be at the club at 7:30, and I was on time. The door man told me that they were running a little bit behind. I know all too well how things can go awry right before a gig in a city like this. You have to shoot way ahead of everything that could get in your way. It is always possible to be way ahead of everything and then say get caught in a slow moving train. New York demands that you be way ahead of it or else.

     I enjoyed watching her joy as she saw people who had come out to support her. This feeling never gets old. When someone takes time out of their life to just sit and watch you hone your craft, it is surely magic. I make a point to do this for others as much as humanly possible. I also noticed that her boyfriend was filming the show which is always extremely smart no matter what. Video is one of the best teachers that a musician will ever have. I say this because we hardly ever get to see what we are actually doing on the stage from the audience perspective. When we do see what we are doing, we then have the ability to adjust it.

     So she finally arrived and she was smiling and happy as usual. Her greeting to the audience was warm and genuine as she expressed her gratefulness that everyone had made it out. I watched the musicians and they seem a bit disconnected in my opinion. Expressionless, yet playing with as much precision that they could muster up in the moment. I feel as though I am spoiled as it relates to musicians looking happy as they play. Almost all of the bands or solo artists that I have seen in my lifetime have almost all been so happy to be there on the stage. Either that or they had just become so good at faking it.

     I concentrated on the songs a bit deeper than normal. In my mind I thought of how she wrote all of this songs and played with them as well as taught them to these two other fine musicians. The process of rehearsing, over and over again, until they knew them by heart. By the way, there were no music charts in front of them at all while they played. This means that they really internalized them before they brought them to the stage. I have so much respect for that. I also noticed that at a certain point in one song, she seemed to be a bit frustrated with when one of the musicians came into a phrase at least twice in one song a little bit late. Did he mess up or did she just happen to make a face at the same place each time? I wondered this to myself.

      When musicians play small clubs and only about 10 or so people show up, each piece of energy counts. As artists, we are there because just being on stage and connecting with our instrument of choice is a feeling that cannot be properly explained. I mean can you really describe jumping out of an airplane or the feeling when your heart beats ridiculously fast for another human being? I just pulled those out of my head randomly, but I think you get my point. The set went by so quickly, that  it was insane! Before I knew it, the show was done. I enjoyed it, so that is what happens when you are fully engaged and present.

      This brief show was a class in dissecting the process for me. I know how many things Jeri does in her life and she stays vigilant as she gets closer and closer to her goal. I have played on stage with my guitar and a couple of original tunes maybe twice in my life. The rest of the time I have been preparing in private or singing the songs of others in public for years. The thing that happens when I see certain people perform is that I replace them with myself when I am drawn into their energy. This is not because I am bored with them, its more because my soul feels so on track with what they are doing that we just merge into one right on the spot. That happened the other night. I am so grateful for my good friend. I am off to write some lyrics. Follow your inner voice right now. Be well



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