I joined a student society two weeks ago at their casual performance event held at one of the on-campus restaurants at USYD – cue two weeks later and I am representing the Pop Music Performance Society at the Postgrad Ball with my ukulele and voice (despite being at a beginner level for both)!
As an incredibly self-reflective person, I realised after the first person that I was not accustomed to playing and singing solo in front of a crowd (I also perform classical piano solo but it’s quite different as I don’t have to look at the audience and my only other gigging experience was in a five-piece band) so I invited another member to accompany on the guitar which helped boost my confidence but also enabled us to build up more repertoire and present a variety of styles in our performance. My guitarist was also quite timid and unsure of himself, despite being incredibly skilled. At the completion of every song, we would give each other hi-fives which just helped boost the camaraderie and the ensemble sound. We had 5-6 hours of rehearsals during the week to prepare four songs for this gig.
Despite a fair amount of preparation, you can never be too ready – a few things were quite unexpected on the day – I woke up with absolutely no voice in the morning (which I have now found out was the beginnings of the flu), my mic stand kept falling so I ended up ditching my beloved ukulele for one song, the audience were engaged but were also extremely loud so we couldn’t even hear ourselves in the playback! However, we just always have to be prepared for anything to ensure the performance continues on and remember that we were representing a broader society.
Although I am not looking to enter the pop music industry as a ukulele player/vocalist, these moments of problem-solving during the performance and being able to work in a team with the other members and having an event to work towards (I have been playing the ukulele for about three weeks but have been using this event as a motivator to improve) have made me immensely appreciative of this opportunity.