Why I prefer Playing Solo Shows

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Why I prefer playing Solo Shows
 
Recently I've been approached on seperate occasions by different musicians looking to play Duo or Trio gigs. Although I'm not necessarily opposed to that as a side thing I find myself balking at the idea of  doing it on the regular. I've often been asked about this so I thought I would write about it from my perspective. I was going to post only in FaceBook land but then I thought maybe some of those interested might not be connected with me on FB. Perhaps I can reach them here? Who knows? Maybe nobody will read it or care haha.

The thing is playing solo is everything I love and everything I fear about playing live. If that sounds strange well, I am after all a musician. Playing in a band or group is really fun and rewarding but in a totally different way and each comes with it's own set of benefits and challenges. For me scheduling and booking seem MUCH less complicated when I play solo. The only schedules I have to worry about are mine and my husbands. Simple. Calendar date full or empty? Want to play there? That settles it. Groups require a lot more work to schedule practices, gig dates and then there is the matter of who is going to do the booking and promotions or how it will be divided and such. AND we haven't even started on the actual music yet!

The thing about playing solo is you are up there naked and alone. They will love it or hate it either way it's all on you. It's a huge amount of pressure sure but it's also a huge payoff in many ways. Besides I work best under pressure.  I am free to play any song on my list without worrying about if the group knows the song or if we have rehearsed it. I can totally change up my set list at any time based on the crowd and their reactions. In fact I do so often. I can stretch out a verse or add an extra few bars until I remember the lyric that suddenly disapeared for a second. I can change things up and play it a little differently, circle back to the bridge and repeat the chorus without needing to signal anyone. Which is something I'm not afraid to say I suck at. Solo I don't worry about signals orplaying over each other or trying to stay above the drums or someone throwing a solo in at every vocal pause. Or, or, or.... you grt the point.

That's not to say I don't enjoy playing in groups. I do. It's a lot of fun and can really punch up the level of a song. And even as a front person you can share some of the stree/praise/shame/blame with your bandmates though it's still mostly on you.

Solo is scary, wonderful, lonely at times and at others so warm and inclusive. There is nothing like the connection that happens between a solo act and an audience that is truly feeling the music. Of course like anybody else I have had those shows where I feel like the sound equivilant of wallpaper. Nobody is listening or reacting and it's awful, however I usually decide it's a challenge and amp up my game until I get at least one person to listen or tap thier feet, maybe crack a smile my way. It's what we live for as performers.

Anyhow I hope this stirs some thoughts and maybe you can tell me what you think or what your playing preference is and why in the comments.


Catch the beats and notes along the way. Life is a song!

Pamela

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