Seven Deadly Bardic Sins – Part 4

by brendanthebard

4. Staleness

Don’t just do the same few pieces over and over and over.  Learn something new.  Isn’t that what we’re all about anyway – learning new stuff?

Confession:  In one of my old shire newsletters from the early 1980s there’s a cartoon.  A character is looking up at a distinctive round-backed guitar sailing overhead (I still play that old red Ovation) and saying, “Looks like Brendan is playing Jethro Tull again.”

(In fairness, we didn’t have YouTube.  Heck, we didn’t even have the Web.  If you wanted to search the Internet, you used Gopher or Archie – text only, and you had to know what you were looking for and where it was stored.  Most of us did a lot of Steeleye Span, Silly Wizard, Pentangle, and Peter Paul & Mary, because that was what we had access to.)

Yes, learning new repertoire takes significant time and effort.  But you really don’t want to get tagged as a one-trick pony.  You don’t want people to wince (or worse, walk out) when you step up to perform.  (“Oh, dear gods, it’s Lord Blech.  I’ll *die* if I have to hear That Song again.”)

So stretch.  Try different forms.  If you’re a singer, try reciting poetry (think of it as lyrics without music) or telling a story (might be really hanging it out).  If you’re a poet, try singing (a poem with a tune, if you can carry it, and some people just can’t, and that’s ok.)  Or try telling a story (think of it as free verse).  If you’re a storyteller, try reciting poetry (think of it as plot and characters, with more structure to the words) or singing (ok, adding music *and* rigid structure might be be really hard for some people.)

JUST TRY SOMETHING NEW.  (See “Bardic Safe Zone” in previous posts).

If you’re just not able to add genres – some people truly *cannot* sing – then just add to your repertoire in your “home” genre.  Learn a new story.  Write a new poem.  Learn a new song.  Stretch.  Grow.

It helps you avoid… (see next post)