Preparation: A Cautionary Tale

I played a show this last weekend, which was fun. I had my full band there (drums, keyboard, bass and background vocalist) and, alongside of us was a six piece string ensemble (two cellos and four violins). It was great, and the show was going extremely well…for the first several songs, that is.

Once we arrived at the second to last song of the set, I remember thinking that I didn’t know how to sing the song as well as I wish I did. But, we had rehearsed it that morning, and it seemed to be just fine. Well, it wasn’t.

When my drummer counted us into the song, by clicking his sticks together, his tempo was way too fast, about twice as fast as the song’s original tempo. He caught himself by the third or fourth click, but it was too late by then. On top of that, he came into the song with the wrong feel, the wrong drumbeat…and much too fast.

My bass player had the opening intro riff, which he played at the correct tempo, not matching what my drummer was playing at all. It was cacophonous, disastrous from the start.

But it gets better. And by ‘better’, I mean worse.

I was fine playing and singing this song earlier that day, when queued by the right tempo and intro riff, but I didn’t know the song well enough to begin singing over this mess. I was simply unprepared and too unfamiliar with the song.

So, I started to sing the words but with a completely different melody and so fast that the words were barely distinguishable. I then backed off the mic and continued to play my guitar along with the rest of the band, including the string section, whose bows were about to catch fire from the speed. The song started to sound like a Yellowcard tune.

What’s the point? I think you know. Things go wrong. They just do. It’s part of life. But the more prepared you are the better you will be at navigating the waters of others’, or your own, mistakes.

I hope this is helpful, and thanks for reading!

Comment below if you have ever been unprepared and things didn’t go the way you wanted…whether it is in a singing performance or any other area of life :-)

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