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How To embarass yourself...

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,947
Last night was the annual Vorspiel (pupil's concert) for my music teacher. Decided to chance my arm with Midnight in the Naked City from Pete's playalong book, with a very simple verison of the solo from the Wrigley's ad in the middle instead of improvisation. Practiced like crazy, got it about right, but realised I was on the limit. Notified the teacher of the title - and he really didn't believe me, but let it ride. I kept the whole thing from him, as I've done in the past, so he really had no idea what I was about to play when I stood up.

These concerts are for music school pupils, mostly kids, and with a couple of adult pupils as well. And the audience is.... parents and grandparents and as this was targetted at the pupils liiving in and around our village, they all know who we are. No anonymity playing in front of strangers, so there's a little pressure there.

The kids went up, did their bit and sat down. All arranged in ascending order of ability and (probably because of my age) I was scheduled almost at the end, directly after a duet between my older son and the music teacher. The kids up till then had played well, and were well supported by the captive audience. My son then played a very creditable duet with the teacher. and was rightly well applauded.

Then up walks Dad with 2.5 years of lessons under his belt, thinking dangerously negative thoughts about the kids' talent and his own skills - and stupidity in tackling a piece that was tricky (at least the simplified solo bits). Well despite years of public speaking, and being a public speaking trainer, I pretty much psyched myself out of it before I started. I tred telling myself it was going to be good, and the young kid who'd opened on alto would see what a tenor could really do.... But I wasn't very convincing. And knew it.

So I set up, put the notes on the music stand, adjusted it as high as it'd go, made sure I had my music glasses on, made sure there was a peg on the notes to stop the paper folding over/falling off.. And listened to the usual chat from the teacher - this time about the tune being about the goings on in our village at night.... Laughs duly obtained he started to walk off, but then decided to read the notes to see what I was actually going to play (and guess whether I'd blow it or not). This just added to the nerves, as I really wanted to get it over and done with.

Silly me, I didn't realise just what was about to happen.

Well the first note came out fine - only it was a C, not an Eb - nerves were getting to me really well and my little finger was on the wrong key..... So I stopped, cursed under my breath (at least I hope it was under my breath) started again (the first pupil of the evening to have to do it....). And realised the music stand was set too low and I couldn't see the notes past the neck of the tenor. And there was the darned octave key bouncing up and down on the neck right in front of the notes.... I tried moving around (couldn't stop again...) trying to see the notes, but couldn't really get it right.

Then I realised the top of my head was burning. I'd had to set up between two very low hanging, hot lights, and in moving sideways to try and see the notes I'd moved under one of them. And it was HOT. My head was only about 6 " below it and really burning. Tried moving sideways away from it. And couldn't read the notes again, so it was a toss up between roasting and reading, but it was too late. I got so lost in the solo I couldn't bring it back - so I stopped again. Read and restarted. Eventually coming back to the header which I played from memory, trying to disguise a couple of flubs as variations. Cue very polite short applause. Hangs head in shame and walks off.

And afterwards, when there'd been a couple of superb accordian pieces to follow me, one lovely old lady came up to me and asked -"Was that Jazz you played?" I was still to dazed to be able to answer properly, but managed to say, "Yes, but it should be better". Still I think she liked the tune, Pete...
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Kev,
Promise you I was NOT thinking evil thoughts. :) Reminds me when in the middle of a folk set the 5th string tuner on the banjo broke. I'm certain dying next time will be easier. >:)
 

Saxade

Senior Member
Messages
287
:))) No I should not laugh.... but your rendition of the events .. So reminded me of a Mr Bean event... :)))
I do understand & I think you a very brave... for doing it & for telling us..:))) Thanks!!

Adrian
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
Kev, entertaining story. Ya know what man, we all have gone through that.
I don't know how old you are, or how often you play publicly, but you say you're playing 2 1/2 years? It takes time to adjust to that type of environment. I was told a long time ago to get in front of an audience as much as possible and pay your dues and they are paid the hard way. It's all necessary for the experience.
I used to do gigs where I actually paid to play so I could get the experience and get over stage fright.
Stage fright can make ya think all you have in front of you is this useless hunk of brass that suddenly has become so foreign.

Been there!
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,273
Thanks for the story Kev, i had a vivid vision of your head smouldering as you are trying to concentrate :))) made me laugh although i shouldn't as i'm sure this or similar will happen to me in the future.
Good on you for finishing the peice :thumb:

 

andyb1970

Member
Messages
450
Well done for getting up and having a go Kev. You have to remember most of the audience wouldn't even dare to attempt such a thing. At some point in the future you'll look back at this and laugh about it, and realise it's all part of the journey and something we have or will go through!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
Oh, Kev, thank you so much for sharing your unfortunate story with us. I actually now have wet feet, no I didn't pee myself, but I did manage to spill my drink because I was laughing so much!
I'm so glad you managed to hold your head (if somewhat hot) high as you walked off the stage.

Will you be having another go next year?
 

llamedos

Senior Member
Messages
431
Oh, Kev, thank you so much for sharing your unfortunate story with us. I actually now have wet feet, no I didn't pee myself, but I did manage to spill my drink because I was laughing so much!
I'm so glad you managed to hold your head (if somewhat hot) high as you walked off the stage.

Will you be having another go next year?
And if so will you be selling tickets?

Seriously, Kev, as has been said before it took a brave man to attempt the gig in the first place and a braver man to relate the story in such an entertaining manner for the delectation of what you above all people should know would be a michael- extracting audience. I am full of admiration on both counts.

sincerely, Dave.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Jazz is supposed to be hot Kev. Smokin'.:mrcool

We've all been there or will be there in the future.
Respec' the moderator.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,921
Kev

What a star for getting up there in the first place and more so for sharing it with us.:welldone:welldone:welldone

Thank you.

Jx:blowkiss:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Glad you are still able to post coherently - heart-warming story sharing your embarrassment. My heart goes out to you! Thankfully the only thing that went wrong on my debut in similar circumstances (adult audience of 120) was that I dropped my mouthpiece cap into the open top of the piano. Fortunately that broke the ice for all concerned and my piece "For Turiya" by Charlie Haden went without a hitch, thank goodness.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Since joining the forum I've been warmed by the openness of the many forum members. Many told stories told against themselves, often so we could have a laugh. And there've been a few blogs - one especially informative one from Chris. So I thought I'd give you a laugh at my expense - and show you I'm no superman.

Thanks for the lovely comments. Just reinforces my feelings that we have a super bunch of members here. Take a bow all of you!!!
 
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jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
JUST been there done that. I thought I would combust with the embarassement. Next time, only one quater of the shame, next week I hope I wont even notice. My belief is you dont cross the next threshold till you have made a pigs ear of yourself in public and realised what you HAVE to do to redeem yourself. Und so weite.
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
My heart goes out to you Kev, you tell it so well I couldn’t help laughing, fortunately I’ve managed to control my drink problem unlike that ‘master of the plumbing’, Taz.

I have to admire your dedication to the younger students in your community, you must have been in mental anguish. How many would have had the foresight to see the implications of your intended performance? In the current economic situation those young students could never afford a tenor, and how could they ever go back to their little altos upon hearing your prowess on the tenor? To fall on your sword and sabotage your performance makes you one of the true greats of this forum. :welldone:welldone:welldone

Warmest best wishes,

Chris
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,019
Thanks for sharing that great story, reminds me of when my trousers caught fire on a gig.
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
Thanks for sharing, sir moderator. It's a scary experience to be standing in front of any audience, it gets better with time! I applaud the fact that you stood up to the challenge and took it. Keep it going!
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
I once had to play a saxophone trio which involved two of us coming out of the orchestra (the saxes were at the back) to the front of the stage to join the conductor who was playing the third sax. I left my glasses behind on the music stand, and - stupidly - ploughed on regardless. It was quite a complicated little piece - some classical tango thing - and the result was chaos; two playing perfectly (both much better players than me anyway - the conductor a well-known session player and the other a student at the state conservatory) and me burbling away trying to look as though it was all intentional.

Not helped by some of my mates at the back of the room, i.e. not seen by the audience, signalling that my flies were undone and, at the end of the piece, holding up score cards like they do at ice skating events. That's what friends are for!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I once had to play a saxophone trio which involved two of us coming out of the orchestra (the saxes were at the back) to the front of the stage to join the conductor who was playing the third sax. I left my glasses behind on the music stand, and - stupidly - ploughed on regardless. It was quite a complicated little piece - some classical tango thing - and the result was chaos; two playing perfectly (both much better players than me anyway - the conductor a well-known session player and the other a student at the state conservatory) and me burbling away trying to look as though it was all intentional.

Not helped by some of my mates at the back of the room, i.e. not seen by the audience, signalling that my flies were undone and, at the end of the piece, holding up score cards like they do at ice skating events. That's what friends are for!
Good friends.....
 
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