I used to teach/jam with a co-worker back when the guitar was my weapon of choice (and the uke spent a lot more time hanging on the wall than it does these days…that situation has now been reversed). One of his favorite comments when something untoward happened while we were working on a song was, “I didn’t know you didn’t know how to play that!” Guaranteed laugh every time.
Fast forward to last night’s rehearsal and I found myself thinking, “I didn’t know I had that (mostly) memorized!” There are a couple of the familiar (to many of you) tunes that we’ve done a few times, but I was always playing some sort of instrument and never actually sang the things. Imagine my surprise when I found how much of the song had found its way into the cavernous empty space in my head and stuck there. Of course, having Susie mouth the words is essential, but she’s pretty good about doing that.
And if she doesn’t I can always carry the tune and sing “watermelonwatermelonwatermelon” until I find my way again. Who’s to know?
A little time listening to Chorus Connection and practicing and paying close attention during our last (!!!!) rehearsal before the concert and I bet you’ll find you’re in the same boat: you really do know it well enough to get through it without the music. So here’s the thing…the only way to find out is to not have that music in your hand. If you’re holding it, even if you have the best intentions, there is simple no WAY not to peek. Trust me. So take the leap and give it a shot, I suspect you’ll find all is right with the world AND you can spend more time looking at Susie AND you can make eye contact with the audience AND you can move with the beat a little bit…and you’ll never hear anyone say, “I didn’t know you didn’t know how to sing that!”
(And you always have a watermelon in your pocket if you really need one…)
Additional note: if you’re not looking at your music you won’t see the big note you made on the page to remind you that THE FIRST VERSE IS A SOLO SO DON’T SING. Best to have that in your mind for the songs that feature that little wrinkle and hope that Susie makes some sort of big director-looking move to remind you if you don’t. But you will.