This is a quick revision to my post Creating New Outputs – A New Practicing-Performing Plan.
I was discussing this new project with my good friend Cathy Mitro; she had a wonderful suggestion:
She thought that my set lists were too rigid…I agreed The original plan was to perform one 45-minute set list over and over until I was ready to create a new set list. Over time, I will have accumulated a number of sets that are performance ready.
Cathy suggested that I incorporate randomness into my set lists. The best way to do this would be to “pull songs from a hat.”
So I’ve written down each tune in my repertoire on a small piece of paper. I’ve put them all in a small cup beside the piano. Just before my performance, I take out three pieces of paper and perform those tunes in an order of my choosing. I then take out another three and perform those too. If by this time 45 minutes have elapsed, I call it a day. Otherwise, I take out another one!
In addition, I’ve also written out every tune that I hope to perform. These are either tunes that need refreshing, or tunes that I want to learn. I’ve put them in their own, separate cup. When I’m not practicing-performing, I’m working to move all the tunes from this cup to the first cup!
Things get interesting when I perform for live audiences. The cup could be a novelty item from which audiences put out tunes and determine my set lists.
When I’m really comfortable and have a more extensive repertoire, I’ll be more creative with the information on these pieces of paper. Instead of just a tune title, I may include a choice of keys and tempi. Audiences can decide!
The random element will keep things fun and fresh. More importantly, it’ll help me get more comfortable with the unexpected. It’s still disciplined and rigid but on a higher level, and likely won’t stifle my growth and creativity. I’m excited about this…