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Riley Music Academy Music Cast: Bringing the ‘A’ Game

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Bringing the ‘A’ Game

10 years ago I was on the road a lot. We were playing around 90 shows a year and I remember feeling like I was in another world. Playing so many events was odd because everyone in the audience always looked so beautiful and glamorous. It seemed like every time I went out I would see people dressed to the nines, with perfect hair and looking amazing. It started to alter my reality. Is this what people are really like?

Of course the answer is no, but perception can be a powerful thing. When we experience an event often enough we accept it as the norm and it can make it difficult to see the truth.

10 years on and I’m much more selective about the gigs I take and how much time I spend away from my family. I’m more grounded in some ways (really not in others!) and spending time with my wife makes me realise that life is real. When we go out (which is rare), her beautifying regimes can sometimes preempt the occasions by weeks – not that she needs it! On the day itself once I’ve showered and thrown a shirt on she’s just getting started.

On the flip side, I also see her with her makeup off day to day (she actually doesn’t wear it all that often), mucking out a stable in overalls and maybe I shouldn’t mention* witnessing child birth!

*I think Boo does subscribe to this blog, but she never reads them, so I should be safe!

Anyway, the point is, it’s real. 

I organised a gig last night and was lucky enough to sit and watch. All the players were on top form and its hard to imagine that they once struggled with scales, made embarrassing mistakes, tried in vain to read a C flat on the page. It’s also hard to know what they were thinking. Were they nervous? Did they enjoy the music? Was it working for them? Did they feel adequate?

Here’s a shot from last nights gig featuring Geoff Eales, Fred Baker, Ben Waghorn and Neil Bullock

They sounded amazing and although inspirational, it can be hard to motivate yourself because sometimes people are just sickeningly good! All that preparation and practice is the equivalent to my wife’s ‘going out’ rigmarole. They are showing their ‘A’ game and you have to remember that when you perform, you do it too.

A scene from a TV show has just popped into my head. It could be from the Cosby show. This guy was stressing out because he had been asked by his 8 year old cousin to teach her basketball. He was terrible at basketball and although he practiced, he couldn’t sink the ball through the hoop. When the time came for his cousin’s lesson he showed her how to throw the ball; it hit the hoop and bounced off. Looking down in shame he was about to apologise when she said: “Wow! You hit the hoop all the way up there! I could never do that”.

I think we all know that we are not always as good as someone else when we judge them on their ‘A’ game. You may be surprised though that you are an inspiration to others for doing what you do.

In this age of ‘look how perfect my life is on Facebook’ in can be hard to see through the sheen. Who wouldn’t want to show off their good side?! But underneath the facade is a real human being with real feelings and real aspirations trying to make themselves as good as they can be.

My advice would be to knuckle down, do the work and then absolutely kill it when you present your ‘A’ game!

Got any advice on how to raise your game? Any beauty tips?! Post them below:


4 Comments Add a Comment
  1. De
    April 14, 2016

    Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
    And try contacting your local Avon representative. They can work wonders.

    • Jay
      April 19, 2016

      Thanks! I will.

      Great quote btw

  2. David DUQUEMIN
    April 19, 2016

    i love Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits, I saw a tab for it in standard tuning and listened to a video of it then set about working it out, thought I’d nailed it and played it one night, Dan from Ocean Colour Scean said it’s close but try it in Open G tuning, I have only ever used standard tuning, though I would give it a try and my brain just couldn’t get around it, I watched a young girl play it in open G and suddenly I had the shapes locked into my head, I play it every day two or three times and I have now nailed it, also I’m finding things in this tuning that are really amazing, my tip never feel your too good to let someone else show how to do something, and try different types of music and tunings, fear nothing new.

    • Jay
      April 19, 2016

      Thats funny, I was working with a guitarist last weekend who has just started to explore open g tuning. He says its like being a beginner again but he’s kind of excited about the door that is about to open for him. Great advice there. Thanks for posting your comment

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