I played at a small bar/cafe a couple of weeks ago and the show was quite successful and very satisfying. The “states” I went through from preparing to performing were quite intriguiging and examplified how the mind takes over control of the body in critical situations.
I though I’d share my experience here…
I have been a studio producer for the past 5 years and before that I played guitar in a progressive rock band. This last show was a start to playing live again since I love to improvise and do something special for the audience and make music on the spot.
While getting ready to go to the show, I started getting mental tunnel vision where my mind totally focussed on the task at hand (creating song-lists, getting equipment together, etc.) and shut off processing of other inputs (phone calls, chores that always haunt you, etc.). This was quite remarkable and something similar to what an athlete experiences.
When I got to the venue, I had a lot of setup work to do and that was quite geeky and I really liked it. Again, my mind was only focussing on the setup and communications with the other musicians and ignoring or minimizing things like the host asking me what I would like to drink.
During the show itself, I was focussed on the music gear and the production and playing aspect and only connected with the audience a few times. The feedback from one of the instruments was really distracting and so I could not get into really playing the guitar.
I’d definitely like to change that part because I love to interact with the audience a lot and I guess more experience and prep work will automatically free the mind a bit more.
Anyway, the gist of it is that the mind does a great job of orchestrating things when it is in challenging and/or stressful situations. I guess this is a survival instinct that also extends to enhable us to do remarkable things, and now somehow we need to tap that potential through mediatation or some other practice/discipline. Suggestions welcome…