When it all goes wrong

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Glenn
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When it all goes wrong

Post by Glenn » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:40 am

Living in the real world it often happens that when playing for friends, family or even in public, things go wrong.
What are your mechanisms for coping with this (highly unlikely ;) ) event?
1) Ballone Burini 46C (4+5) cassotto (LMMH) 3/3 PA; 2) Accordiola Piano V (5+5) cassotto (LMMMH) 3/3 PA;
3) Roland FR8X; 4) Hohner Vox 4k (LMMH) 3/3 CBA

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JerryPH
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by JerryPH » Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:33 am

Give us an example of how things went wrong for you, please?

Once a long time ago we were in Pennsylvania playing an Octoberfest event. We were in a semi-outdoor environment, a big place with no walls but a high ceiling. It had been raining off and on all day and in the course of a couple of songs while we were performing, it got dark and stormy.

Out of the blue a bolt of lightening hit somewhere nearby and knocked out all power and all electronic amplification and electric instruments went out leaving only the accordion, trumpet, sax and drums being audible. We didn't stop, playing through the song for about a minute when the power came back. The people just started applauding, we finished off the evening without further interruptions. The only change I made was move from supporting instrument to main melody and played as loud as I could, when the organist regained power she took up the melody and I switched back to being harmony.

In that case, we just pushed through it and moved on, that is about all that could be done. I suppose it depends a lot on what happens and you deal with it the best you can. Basically unless it is a catastrophic event, "the show must go on".

This is the nice thing about music, at it's worst, if something happens, no one is hurt and no one dies. The music stops, and if it is possible, it begins again, perhaps after a short break to sort things out, restart things or do what is needed to get things going again. :)

Another time I was called in to provide some background music for a dinner function. I was very tired, having had a super hard week, and I just blanked out in the middle of a song that I was playing. I just restarted the song intending to push through, crapped out in the exact same place. I smiled, laughed, and moved on to another song. Inside I was mortified and wanted to die, but the world kept moving irrespective and nothing bad happened other than the music stopping twice.

Wow, I had totally forgotten about both of these events, thanks for bringing them back for me! :D
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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debra
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by debra » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:24 am

Glenn wrote:Living in the real world it often happens that when playing for friends, family or even in public, things go wrong.
What are your mechanisms for coping with this (highly unlikely ;) ) event?
What can possibly go wrong?
Here are some of the things I encountered:
  1. Before the start of a concert (with orchestra) we all stood up to "greet" the conductor. I had actually stepped on the cable for the microphone of my bass accordion and the cable was pulled out of its plug (broken). How to cope: I quickly reached for a (regular) backup microphone, placed it on my music stand and was ready before the first piece of the concert started.
  2. During a concert (with orchestra) a pallet from a base note (bass side) fell off (the glue that held the felt of the pallet in place had not been strong enough). I stopped playing my part and after the song ended we injected a 10 minute break into the program to glue the pallet-felt back on. We had more such small incidents like the air-vent button getting stuck (that's an easier repair), a bass button getting stuck (typically because it is bent during transport, so it can be straightened with small pliers)...
  3. During a concert (with orchestra) between two songs one player fell down from the podium, with chair and accordion. It was about a 2 foot drop. All three were unhurt (player, accordion and chair) so came back up and we continued.
  4. During the preparation for a concert (with orchestra) someone stepped on the a plug of the bass accordion microphone and it broke. I took out my backup cable (with plug) and the concert took place without a problem. (Unfortunately this was on a trip away from home and the next morning someone broke the backup cable before a small informal play-along, so no amplification there.)
  5. One day I got a phone call from a friend that their orchestra was setting up for a concert (about 20 minutes from where I live) and the bass amplification did not work. I rushed out to the venue with a repair kit (including soldering iron, spare cables, 9V battery...) and after replacing the battery in the bass accordion (they didn't even know there was a battery inside...) and cable everything worked out and the concert started on time. I stayed to enjoy the concert but unfortunately it was not my style.
  6. Another day we were playing outside and it was getting very very cold. Our fingers were giving up and some reeds as well. We moved inside and continued the performance there.
You see, many things can go wrong, but when you anticipate it and bring backup gear and repair kits a true disaster will become very rare.

Of course the other thing that can go wrong is mistakes due to nervousness. But that is easier to overcome: first of all practice, practice, practice. Make sure you know the pieces for 200%, not 100%. Make sure you can play everything 10 to 20% faster than you will perform it. Even when using sheet music, try to learn the music by heart as well as possible. And should you make a mistake after all these precautions, just pretend it didn't happen. Chances are the audience will not even notice.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

george garside
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by george garside » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:12 pm

Some things go wrong from within and some from without -so to speak.

Things like power failure or amplification packing up are difficult to deal with in a concert setting other than by carrying on and perhaps increasing volume if this can be done without ruining the dynamics etc. On the other hand there were bands and orchestras long before amplification so perhaps best to just carry on and let the buggers relearn the art of listening!

In a dance band situation with sound system failure I have taken the band into the middle of the dance floor which has worked very well.

The most common going wrong when solo or in small group with 1 or 2 playing melody and the rest accompanyment. In this situation the essential trick is to carry on and treat the mistake as a new arrangement! The punters will probably not notice but if all else fails use a big handful of bass to cover the mistake.

Again if working from memory rather than the dots it is not unknown to play the verse ( A part) of one tune followed by the chorus (B part) of a different tune. If this happens simply repeat the "mistake'' next timethrough

and whatever happens don't panic!

george

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Glenn
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by Glenn » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:09 pm

Wow, I was more thinking of a bass run going wrong or your music falling from your stand not being struck by lightening whilst hot - gluing an accordion repair on a rickety stage. :lol:
1) Ballone Burini 46C (4+5) cassotto (LMMH) 3/3 PA; 2) Accordiola Piano V (5+5) cassotto (LMMMH) 3/3 PA;
3) Roland FR8X; 4) Hohner Vox 4k (LMMH) 3/3 CBA

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debra
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by debra » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:18 pm

Glenn wrote:Wow, I was more thinking if a bass run going wrong or your music falling from your stand not being struck by lightening whilst hot - gluing an accordion repair on a rickety stage. [FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY]
Well, Murphy's law dictates that anything that's possible will happen...
Yes, music falling from its stand is something many of us have experienced. A music stand breaking and hitting an accordion is another thing we experienced. More common is starting to play from sheet music and then realizing you only have page 1 and there is also a page 2... (been there, done that, and actually experienced I could play page 2 by heart). Traveling with the accordion laying flat in the booth/trunk of the car and then hitting a bump... I have seen (and in one case had to fix) that happen as well... there are just so many problems waiting to happen. I'm sure I have not even experienced half of what is possible.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

Matt Butcher
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by Matt Butcher » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:28 pm

(I've probably told you this before but) I pulled a smallish Hohner bass accordion in two during the final note of a competition piece. There was a big crack and the pins gave way and so did some of the wood. Since we are also looking for solutions, well, it was lucky it was the last note, a local carpenter glued the Hohner together and I got a new bass accordion.

We were playing at a school fete. We were heading towards the end of a piece of music with lots of sections when the DJ further down the playground decided it was time to start his set and dropped Usher's "In the Club". What could we do but play along?

On the other hand, when I hit the button next to the one I should have hit, I try and put in a little run to the right note - it's got to the point where it's sometimes automatic, but it still sounds wrong.

And don't put your chair on mud or you will sink into it.

george garside
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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by george garside » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:35 pm

[quote="debra"][quote="Glenn"]Wow, I ...

More common is starting to play from sheet music and then realizing you only have page 1 and there is also a page 2... (been there, done that, and actually experienced I could play page 2 by heart).


AKA as 'playing by ear'!

george :)

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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by Pianoman1 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:52 pm

I started performing as a singer about 45 years ago so lots of mishaps

Never forgot my music always well rehearsed

Doing a gig in my local town Walthamstow the lights went out in the theatre - the pianist played on and kept singing - eventually they came back on and the crowd applauded One night the pianist flipped the music onto the floor and kept playing one handed while I kept singing picked up the music and normal service resumed

Serious one this - one day singing at a club my ulcer went bang while singing Granada with a high b flat finish Felt it go on the top not took a bow and was violently sick backstage bringing up blood Spent two weeks in hospital for that one

It happens just go with it

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Re: When it all goes wrong

Post by JeffJetton » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:41 pm

Sometimes you get a bad page-turner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJkCMjhCbFA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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