Title: “Don’t lose the joy”
“Let’s do it one more time.” The voice came loud and clear through the monitor speakers. It was Frank, our lead guitarist. We had just finished our second take of his original tune, “Diggin’ Mr. Fox,” a funky blues tune with a killer unison riff at the top. It had been a productive day so far, with one tune already ‘in the can’ (as they say in the music industry).
My bandmates and I were now about to lay down the tracks for a third take of “Mr. Fox,” and I felt the nerves fluttering down into my fingers, as they hovered over the keyboard. Within the interior of my stomach, a bevy of butterflies had suddenly taken circular flight. Although I had practiced my solo for this song about 37 times the night before, trying to play it live with everybody- not to mention with the Record button depressed- was completely different than jamming it alone in my basement. I took a huge breath and exhaled. “Don’t mess this up,” I told myself.
Suddenly I heard the click of the drumsticks. Okay, it’s go time. I leaned over the keys and prepared to play.
And it was then that I remembered- wait a minute… this is fun. This. Is. Fun!
Yes, all the hours of practice and lessons, rehearsals and performances, arpeggios and scales – all of these had led me to this recording studio moment not so that it could be ‘perfect,’ but so it could be fun. Many of us, perhaps, forget… when we focus so much on getting it ‘right,’ we sometimes allow all the joy to trickle out.
As the song progressed and my solo approached, I felt myself connect with the spirit of this music. And gradually, the recording became more about delighting in this experience and allowing a creative spirit to flow than nailing a flawless musical execution. Here came the hits into the break- it was my turn…and you know what? I let that spirit flow.