I was thinking of this idea while trying to come up with something that would inspire a group I teach as they approached their first gig as an ensemble…
It’s important that you not think that playing your instrument well is the goal of your performances; that it’s the goal of all this hard work you’re putting in. No. The ‘goal’, for lack of a better term, is to deliver an emotion. Pure and simple.
So, think of your instrument (in my case, drums) as an ’emotion delivery system’. And don’t mistake it (drums, guitar, etc.) as the goal for all of this work that you’re putting in. The goal is to deliver an emotion, at a given point in time, that connects with your audience.
Audiences will remember best how you made them FEEL, not how well you executed some challenging maneuvers on your instrument, as laudibel as that may be. Other musicians are the only folks who care about that stuff, and you and I both know that your audience does not consist entirely of a bunch of musicians like you and me.
This is why some drummers are wonderful, even though their technical expertise may be limited. Think of Meg White with the White Stripes. Not a great technical player, but the emotion she delivers while playing onstage is totally amazing. No drummer–no matter how technically gifted they are–can duplicate that vibe, that emotion that the White Stripes deliver live. Meg is EXCELLENT at that, and she’s a huge reason why that band is so amazing.