Building Confidence


When I listen to myself playing I just don’t sound confident. I realize it is because I don’t thoroughly know the tunes I’m trying to play. But the more I practice them the more I know them. And the more I know them the more confident I sound when playing them.

It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. I’m glad that it is still enjoyable. And I HAVE been enjoying myself. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. It is frustrating sometimes though. One day I might be working on a tune and think I’m sounding pretty good. The next day I might suck on that same tune. It makes me so angry. All I can do is continue. One day all will finally become firmer and I may sound like I know what I’m doing.

I try to choose a couple of tunes per week. I try to commit all of them to memory, including chord progressions and melodies. I have never done this before. I have always depended on reading from the real book or sheet music. But being only vaguely familiar with the chord changes, I never sounded very good. It was good enough for the work I was doing at the time. I was in the military.

One of the good things about being in the music program in the Navy was that you were on your horn, playing, nearly every day. So, I could always get by half-assing jazz tunes. Most times when I was playing jazz in the navy, it was with a small group; usually a quartet of drums, bass, piano and me on sax.  It was usually some sort of military cocktail party, or something similar, and we were tucked away in a corner barely being heard. Now that I’m not in that situation I can’t go out and play in front of people and not know what I’m doing.

So, I’m doing some work. If I ever do go out and play in front to people again I want to sound confident, and I want to sound good. I will continue working out until I gain the confidence I desire. I still believe I can become a really good player. I still think I can get great gigs if I develop my craft. My desire is to be one of the best.


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