28 Aug

Why I hate performing in front of friends and family*

*Not a technical blog, you’ve been warned.

Over this last weekend we had our neighborhood block party.  This year, my contribution was to plan the live music portion of the event.  For this I was able to get 2 solo acts and a 3 piece band to commit to playing for “all the hot dogs they could eat.” 

In the end one of the solo acts and the band couldn’t make it due to family emergencies.  To fill the gap I decided I’d play a few tunes even though I previously decided to leave myself out of the show.  I told myself it was because I hadn’t been practicing for a year of so, but there was more to it.

I enjoy playing music.  I like going down to an open mic with some friends and belting out a couple of tunes, and I always had fun performing in the band I was in a few years back, but I was really dreading playing music for my neighbors.  It wasn’t the crowd, and it wasn’t my neighbors friends, it was my neighbors that I didn’t want to play in front of.

It’s not that my neighbors are judgmental, mean, or anything like that.  Quite the opposite, they are all great people and  I knew the would be supportive even if I bombed.  I couldn’t ask for better neighbors.

So why did I dread playing for them when I was perfectly comfortable going into a bar and playing for a bunch of strangers who always left an awkward silence where the polite applause are supposed to go?

There’s 3 reasons I hate playing for friends and family:

  1. I respect their opinions.  If I didn’t respect their opinions, they wouldn’t really be my friends would they.
  2. I don’t really trust their compliments.  I know that if I bomb they probably won’t tell me, they’ll focus on the positive unless I press them for an honest opinion.  I did that once, it confirmed what I already knew but it really sucked to hear it from someone I respected.
  3. I’m going to see them again and again and again.  The nature of strangers is that you rarely, if ever, see them again.

So there it is, that’s why I hate performing for friends and family.