Welcome to the Machine

I recently played a concert of my own design and I wanted to share that experience.

As I often write about, I look for ways to get outside my comfort zone.  I look for mountains to climb.

This particular mountain was a show of electronic music at a local concert venue.  A few of my friends at UofSC have composed works for flute and electronics and I wanted to perform them.  I also decided that I would try my hand at composing some electronics and wrote adaptations of some Pink Floyd songs.  To round off the concert, I collaborated with a DJ who would play the last set of the show.


Without going into too much detail, the concert was not without its hitches.  Murphey’s law is strong in the electronic music world.

Additionally, I felt extremely vulnerable on that stage, more so than I usually do.  To tally up the list of things that were new to me, I was

  • performing in a new type of space
  • performing my own compositions
  • performing with electronics most of which I had set up
  • paying for the venue
  • I had charged admission
  • I decided to play a piece with a click track that was technically demanding
  • AND I was performing for people I didn’t know

Each of these things on its own is not a big deal but it added up to be quite a lot.

Despite all of that, I felt that I played well.  But at the end of the night, I didn’t get the rush of cathartic pride that I usually get when I play well.

I learned 2 things:

  • Sometimes it is better to scale down
  • BUT it can be just as good to shoot for the stars

Coco Chanel was right when she famously said to look in the mirror and take one thing off when you leave your house in the morning.  If I had taken one thing away from that show, it may have been more successful and possibly more impactful.

Conversely, there is something to be said for walking through the proverbial fire.  For me to face that level of vulnerability on stage and realize that it didn’t kill me was an invaluable experience.  I think sometimes you have to set your sights too high.

In the end, I did have fun setting the show up, collaborating with my friends, and performing.  I am now excited to do more similar shows and, in the future I will be armed with a breadth of knowledge and experience that I got from doing this concert.


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