Friday, February 13, 2009

Gearing up for the concert tour

Gettin' ready...

It's really been fun preparing... scooting to school with the guitar on my back on my cycle to play for Music Appreciation classes, elementary kids at Lascasas School, and my own guitar rep classes. William, my cat in the photo has been my constant audience while I practice. He's a good listener but offers very little feedback.

It's not easy playing solo classical concerts. Especially when there are so many variables involved that could affect performance. Things like temperature, humidity and even more importantly the right hand fingernails. Classical guitarists produce their sound with right hand nails and the health and shape of the nails is paramount. Right now, my nails suck, but the show must go on so I'm using false nails cut from a ping-pong ball glued underneath the damaged nail - a common trick of the trade of classical guitarists. Unfortunately ... this is the first tour I will be using ALL fake nails. Usually, it's just one or 2.

This type of performance is not like a writers night or a bar band gig. The University concert series circuit is bit more demanding. Few performers know what it's like to walk out on stage with just a guitar and fingernails, no amplifier, no band to blend in with, no bar chatter, 100 guitar players and music students in the audience sitting in the dark in dead silence watching my every move under the bright lights with great attention while I'm being paid as much as $1000 an hour to play and get it right while my professional reputation is riding on every difficult passage I play. The technical difficulties and level of scrutiny are what separate this type performance from others. Confidence and preparation are everything. My attitude is that I can't be consumed with caring about mistakes, more so, I care about expressing the art of music, connecting with my audience, and having a good time. I can't wait to check out that University car and hit the road.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I watched the Brazil Guitar Duo from about 15' away (through a 300mm zoom). After every piece they played, one or both of them would be sanding their nails with a small piece of emery cloth or something. I don't know what it's like, but I got a fair idea. Best of luck.