I have a recital coming up next week, and this week, while on spring break, I sought out performance opportunities everywhere I could. I want to talk specifically about one: serving a volunteer in the “healing arts program” at the Medical College of Georgia hospital.
The biggest part about playing music is enjoyment. Some people play only for themselves, which is fine–there’s something to be said for the discipline it takes to be a so called “hobbyist” player. I can’t work like that; I need a goal or something to work towards. So I do recitals, etc. But as someone who has a hard time crossing over from the practice room to performance (crazy nerves), I realize the only way to get better is to do more performing.
But finding some place to play or perform is not easy. There’s a few standards that can work: coffee shops, open mic nights, etc. But looking outside the beaten path yields more options.
Volunteering your time as a guitarist is a great way to get some performance experience and do something great. In the past week, I was able to play my recital program about six times in three days. I played in one unit at MCG for an hour then moved to another, playing about two hours/day for three days. And it was awesome. Nursing homes are also great place to volunteer some performance time.
Look around! there’s tons of opportunities out there. As someone who has a hard time performing for free, I looked at it this way: I’m getting a lot of practice, helping some people out and find a way to be of service doing nothing more than playing some guitar.