The Big Conclusion…

At the start of the month I set out on what I titled ‘The Big Share’ which was to capture and document the activity of a guitar player using my own experience as a case study. In August I performed live to an audience on 3 separate occasions which is slightly less than average but is representative of where the projects I am involved in are at in relation to what they have planned. The total time in front of an audience amalgamates to 1hr and 45mins from these 3 shows, and with only one of these having been in London where I reside I’m already aware that I spent more time travelling than performing. Early in the month I devised a practice routine which I managed to be faithful to, this saw me on technical work and repertoire for a minimum of 2 hours a day and in truth I went over this amount on most days, either in an individual sense or band practice/writing sessions that would usually yield about 4 or 5 hours of playing, there were several of these. So on any given day I’d spend more time on preparation than the entirety of my performance time within the same month, now that’s an interesting statistic, even when factoring in the fact most months may have a couple of extra shows than this it’s still likely to be the same. Rehearsal and practice of own technique and repertoire as well as with the band also needs to consider writing; riffs, progressions, solos, song-writing; top lines and melodies, as well as harmony and arrangements, etc. Alongside this how much time and thought is given to the inspiration that fuels this need to communicate a message and if this is even something which can be tracked? Experiences and responses to the human condition are a constant, even in dreams, we’re collecting stories to use as part of the writing process. This month I spent 6 hours teaching/coaching guitar players in a private 1-2-1 setting and likely about 2 hours preparing content for these. Filling out funding applications took approximately the same amount of time, this ‘Big Share’ has rejuvenated my passion for this coachinguitar idea and I’m looking at future projects and ways of implementing these. I attended a day long workshop on entrepreneur methods and have a coaching course coming up this weekend, this is a new use of my time this year and I feel that this development is vital; investing in the self and learning how to do new things keeps a practitioner motivated. I always spend an hour or two each week researching around the topic of performance technique and the preparation process, I look for seminars on business, coaching and teaching methods wh8ich I could attend. And so what else and where to draw the line? Does shopping for stage clothes count as being a guitar player? How about chatting with band mates arranging rehearsal and just as importantly discussing what’s going on in Game of Thrones! Networking and connecting to other musicians or session providers to arrange future opportunities is a key investment, planning the future however takes time. What about when I’m listening to CD’s or watching live performance videos or TV streams, reading Guitarist magazine and subsequently trying and buying new gear, and to sustain this pedal obsession; looking for paid work? In search of finding out what a guitar player is I’m now acutely aware that it’s not someone who spends most of their time on stage with cool lighting and sound mix and adoring fans, well, not at this level it’s not. I spend more time in an individual practice setting than all other activities combined. A guitarist is isolated and self-regulating, they motivate themselves and invest huge amounts of time and energy to planning and preparing for an outcome that, in time measurement is but a fraction of what is invested. However if as a guitarist you’re like me this process is rewarding, the feeling of committing to something and honoring that with hard work makes me feel resilient and that I’m giving back to an art form which has given me so much. And for those fleeting moments when it is ‘show time’, sharing your creativity with others and having it appreciated makes it all worthwhile. Big thanks to all involved in the ‘Big Share’ process, especially my band, students and promoters. I have found this motivating and very insightful as a means of reflection and I look forward to getting my next project ideas out there.

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