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Have fun and learn something

On the auspicious occasion of my 12th college reunion, I once again returned to campus to play with my college band. We hadn't played in two years, which was also the last time I played on a stage, so it was 24 hours of intense preparation before the show went off. Thankfully, we tempered our ambitions a little bit and didn't add too many songs (A notable exception was the quick-and-dirty cover of a recent Cee-Lo Green hit that absolutely demanded a spot on the setlist.). Overall, the show went really well for the band, and for me personally. How do I know? Because I set two goals for myself: have fun and learn something.

There was no doubt that I was going to "have fun" overall (Playing shows beats sitting in traffic.), but in the context of performance, this goal was more about maintaining a positive attitude and steadying the ship if I/we started to make mistakes. I know I did OK with this because I don't really remember any specific gaffes (Well, there's one that I saw on video, but it was small, and we all recovered quickly.), so I know they didn't dominate my experience of the show. I also realized that my energy was flagging a little in the second half of the set, so I rstarted concentrating on interacting with people more. This really helped my attitude, as I had started to drag a little. Interesting that a little shift in focus really picked up my spirits.

What did I learn?

1. It's better to turn the volume up and play lightly. This saved the skin on my fingers, which almost gave way due to playing so much more than I'm used to. It also allowed my hands to relax, which helped my playing.

2. Focusing on putting out energy to connect to people was a good way to enjoy the show and not focus on playing perfectly. In the past, I'd have a great time, but if I got tired, I faded without knowing how to stop it. I was just a little more aware of my energy for this show, and was able to direct it positively.

3. Everything's easier when you have a great group of people to play with (but I knew that already).

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