Think less, play more

Sometimes thinking gets in the way of playing. At some point you just have to trust yourself to know what to do.

The other day I was playing at the Wednesday night Lamp Shop (formerly Radio Bean) session. It’s been a while since I’ve played at a session so I had to dust off tunes that I haven’t played in years. Some came back quickly and others were a bit of a struggle to try and remember.

The session started at 6pm and was scheduled to run until about 8ish so the next band could to set up their equipment on stage. There were lots of people milling about. Wait staff were busy bussing and waiting tables, people were chatting at the bar, passers by stopped to look in.

At one point someone started playing a tune that I knew very well so I picked up my fiddle and started to strut my stuff. But then I started thinking about something and suddenly lost my place in the tune and couldn’t quite find my way back. And the more I tried to remember the notes, the more they escaped me. I started to get flustered, and frustrated, and suddenly I couldn’t remember even how to play the fiddle. This was a tune I knew like the back of my hand, why wasn’t my brain cooperating?

I took a deep breath. I stopped playing for a minute. I cleared the thoughts in my head and then put my fiddle on my shoulder and just let my fingers go. The tune came back. But it wasn’t until I relaxed, cleared my mind, and just let my fingers do the walking that the tune came back. My body knew where to go, but my thoughts got in the way.

The rest of the evening I tried to let my thoughts go and just play the music I so know and love. Sometimes it is just best to think less and play more.

So, for this week’s tune. Here is the tune that I got lost in and found my way back. I’m going to use it as a reminder to practice as much as I can and then when it comes time to play it in public, trust myself to know where to go.

Trip To Durrow: Tune 41 of 52

Join me next week for tune #42 from A Tune A Week. After that only 10 weeks left. Which tune should I learn next?


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