I, for one, am happy the holidays are over. Not that I didn’t enjoy myself. I took the week off, spent time catching up with my family, read a ton of books, saw some movies, slept more than five hours a night, and decompressed. I even stayed up-to-date on e-mail without stressing out.
But, I was pretty much played out when it came to holiday music. We had a holiday-music concert at the Hard Rock Cafe in mid-December. We do this about once a quarter – it’s a good morale boost, it brings people together and, OK, we love to jam. We have a room in the Compuware building garage (appropriate) where we can practice before/after-hours and it’s a lot of fun. One problem with this concert was that we built a set-list of over 60 songs, which became tedious and boring, especially since we all already knew the songs. However, we practiced diligently and had great dress-rehearsals, which should have been my clue that we’d struggle during performance. The performance went off great, but it just wasn’t as fun as the preparations, which means : I OVER-REHEARSED.
The problem with over-rehearsing a performance, whether it’s playing the piano or pitching your ideas, is that you lose the spontaneity that comes with risk-taking, improvising and riffing on a theme. If you know your stuff and have practiced diligently, you want to let loose during your pitch so that your value, knowledge and enthusiasm comes through.
Every picture that someone took of our performances, I look like I’m ten-years-old practicing, my concentration was that intense. I played well; didn’t make any mistakes; but I really didn’t have as much fun as I should have, and that was my own fault. I was so worked up into ‘getting it right’ that I didn’t communicate the joy that was to be part of the experience. Mea-culpa. I redeemed myself in a church-concert where I totally let loose and took risks, ‘pitching’ with abandon, although it was probably because I didn’t take the time to rehearse. I know better, because I play every week in a situation where I practice a new song ONCE with my vocalist, and then we perform.
“Two Pair of Spandex Pants” on the “Twelve Heavy-Metal Days of Christmas”
Lesson-learned for presentations, especially when you’re ‘pitching’ to me? Know your stuff, but don’t over-prepare your presentation, except when it comes to the financial numbers!