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  • Writer's pictureRoger Greenaway

Out of practice | getting back to live performance

Updated: Apr 2

What happens when you forget everything you learnt ? I feel the need to write and play songs again, pick up the baton to speak. After following every other distraction that life in the world can put in front of me, some welcome, some not so productive, until I find I can't always play the whole song through. I forget the chords, the touch, even the lyrics... but deep down I know there is a place in my heart reserved for writing and singing songs. I'm simply out of practice. So what to do?

When I started writing songs I threw myself into the muse, I was always motivated, constantly playing on the piano and guitar. I learnt a lot by just playing whenever I could find an instrument and I always had a song ready to entertain family and friends at the drop of a hat. Thus, I progressed swiftly into live performance.

So in that case all it takes is for me to grab the guitar that spends most of the time alone in the corner and start playing. Write some songs and find a gig. Well yeah, but why does that feel so hard now?

Thirty five years ago when I began singing in local bars, I didn't have to think about rehearsing, I was always singing, and always keen to play music. Looking back it feels like I was beamed on stage, it felt so easy.

Twenty years ago I began recording, even that just kind of morphed out of nowhere. But I guess not really, in truth I actually spent 100s of hours practicing, it just didn't feel like practice. Maybe it wasn't as easy as I remember. There were fitness routines that went alongside playing, study, research, and lots of singing. I really had a great time performing, and eventually recording some of my songs. I wonder now why did I stop performing for so long? as Mike LaFontaine in the great folk spoof comedy A Mighty Wind put it...wha happened?

I don't know really. Music just became less important, the expansion of my young family and honestly promoting my music was frustrating and it was taking me nowhere emotionally or financially, on top of that I had become cynical about music and, well, I had a family now, so slowly I started doing other stuff instead.

Then one day, out of the blue it seemed my passion for performing music was reignited. I love Music. I always did, always will, and it just so happens that last summer I was invited to a few concerts, Toto at the summer days festival in Arbon, and in October, I saw Deep Purple on tour in Zurich. Another highlight was seeing Lilly Martin and her band playing as part of the Rorschach Jazz Festival. Seeing these musicians and their passion for performing live tweaked a nerve somewhere, they inspired me and I realized that I missed playing live music, the buzz of an audience, the show. I had distanced myself and I wanted to get back somehow.

Often the first step is the most important. Pick up that guitar and just start playing. Put away all the other distractions, and being out of practice means I have to focus on making space to do just that. Pretty soon I'm getting excited about a song again, how the form works, arranging, finding the right sound...harmonies. How will it work live? The next step is just that, performing live. The encouragement and support I've got from my family and friends to get back into live performance especially my wife and children all plays its part. I have enough songs, I think it's time to go out and perform them, to record them. Me and Sacha Spiegel got an opportunity to record in Zurich, with Louie Greenaway and Kevin was real cool.

It's an interesting time for me to record music again. Digital technology has improved a lot. I think there's some cool paradigm shifts happening on the music delivery front too... I'm excited. I'm looking forward to checking out the best ideas and getting my music out there. So with that said, I better get on with some practice then.

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