I think the fundamental problem is this. The more confident I get with my playing, the more I want show off. I have this narcissistic need to make some kind of grand personal statement when I’m playing. The result generally winds up sounding like crap! Recently I was practicing for a gig with a really talented singer songwriter. Her music is intelligent, powerful and well crafted. When I got home and listened to a recording of our session, I was horrified. I wasn’t playing to her singing at all. I was stomping all over the music. Instead of listening, I was trying to prove that I could play the fiddle. I spent the next two days carefully studying her CDs. I made notes on where to play and more importantly, where not to play. I stuck close to the melody and tried to focused on supporting the singer and song. In great big block letters at the top of the page I wrote “DON’T OVER PLAY”! The result worked. The gig went well. I could tell she was more relaxed, I allowed her talent to really shine and she made us both look good!

“Don’t Over Play”: I think I might just tattoo that to the back of my right hand so every time I bring my bow arm up it’s right in my face.

David Bernard

Author David Bernard

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