The truth about my playing

The truth about my playing

The last two years were insane for me. Since I joined my favourite band, all the extreme emotions flooded my brain and took over. I haven’t really stopped to think about what was going on, neither with myself, nor with my playing.

So recently I decided to take a deep breath in. I reflected on who I’ve became. Faced everything I did right and wrong.

There were multiple positive results of this reflection, like the next text I’ll post, with my conclusions about the ways joining Eluveitie has changed my life.

Yet today’s post is different. I wanted to check up where am I as a hurdy gurdy player. And face the truth about my musicianship and playing. It was not easy. I needed to gather up courage to share it with you. But here I am, giving you the truest truth about me being a hurdy gurdy player of Eluveitie.

My playing: ups and downs

When I joined Eluveitie, I’ve only been playing the hurdy gurdy for 2 years. I started when I was 20, at the time I landed on stage I was 22. I’ve never had a teacher, I learnt by myself from the internet, which has affected my craft in both positive and negative ways. And although I loved it, I’ve always seen it more as my precious passion I spend my free time on, than a potential “job”.

michalina malisz hurdy gurdy

Me 4 years ago: young, djenting and unaware

The biggest positive I see in my way of learning the hurdy gurdy is that I was free to choose, what do I want to play. I learnt on the songs I love. I feel like it boosted my desire to practice times 1000. The perks of this level of motivation outweigh the negatives.But there was still plenty of them.

No technical basics. Learning the hand movements only by feeling. Wrong trompette technique, that I have to re-teach myself now again. No idea about traditional way of playing. No ability of playing a melody together with trompette string.

Yet my passion to practice allowed me to become good enough to join Eluveitie after two years of playing. The repertoire I acquired as a “hobby” became my “job”. I only had to play the songs I already knew. And that’s exactly when I fell into a trap.

Here’s why.

The trap of going too far too fast

Along with joining a metal band, that plays tons of live shows, I faced so many other challenges, that playing became less important for me. I jumped straight into the fire, where I had to acquire how to look good and move on stage, play with in-ears system, play together with a band, how to behave, how to survive on tour and many other things.

michalina malisz playing the hurdy gurdy

This is a constant work in progress.

I focused so hard on this, that I handicapped my playing. I stopped learning. I stopped exploring. I lost the “student” attitude. The things I already knew about the hurdy gurdy were enough. That’s what I thought.

Do you know that moment, when you learn something and you become slightly good at it, and then you think that you know it all and are Lord knows what? It is explained by Dunning–Kruger effect and it’s a pretty miserable moment. I lived on “Mount Stupid” for two years.

dunning krueger effect

I was not a great hurdy gurdy player. I was not even good, as I liked to think about myself. I became the worst one I knew. Admitting this to myself was damn hard. Of course I still loved playing, but I was lost and it took me 2 years to find myself in that situation.

Fortunately enough, now I can think about it as my past. I’m not this person anymore and from now on – I know better and I know, who I am.

11 Replies to “The truth about my playing”

  1. Wow this is a great step as an individual and as a band mate!!! Admiting our weaknesses is hard but gratifying!! Bravo!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, not everyone has the courage to do that. By the way you’re an amazing hurdy gurdy player, I’ve seen you play live and let me tell you something, You were born to do this

  3. I must admit I was waiting for a post like this. Not everything is perfect and joining a band from one day to the other is harder than we think from the outside and your short experience didn’t help.

    This is a very brave post and I’m very happy for you that this is not going on anymore, thank you for sharing it!!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Viky, I’m really glad you enjoyed this post! And from now on – 100% power into the gurdy! 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing this experience. It sounds like everyone in the music business and not only can learn from this. It’s really awesome to read your blogs. Keep on posting them!

  5. If your previous playing was in Mount Stupid… I could live there the rest of me life 🙂
    You are truly an amazing player,
    And a brave person as well.

  6. I think I’m in that point on the piano since many years ago… You really made me think about it. Also, I wanted to make you a question! Did you go to lessons when you realised of the technique problems or you just kept learning by youself to correct those mistakes?

    1. It’s a good thing to know, that this “skill graph” looks like this, every time you learn something new you can be smarter than this and pass the mount stupid smoothly! 😉 I knew that I’ve got technique gaps for some time now, I’ve watched other hurdy gurdists and I realised I’m actually far away from their skills. But I thought that what I did was enough for Eluveitie, so I didn’t bother. Now that I decided I want to be a hurdy gurdist 100% professionally, it changed. I reviewed my playing, had to admit my mistakes and moved on 🙂 I’m happy to hear that text helped you, keep doing what you love and if you ever get discouraged – remember, that even the greatest artists have their shortcomings.

      Much love!

  7. Michalina, I talked to you a few years ago on YouTube and then by email. Must have been right before you joined Eluveitie. I remember you having so much desire to play anything you could on the hurdy. I still see that same passion in your work today. I think you’d be surprised at how many professionals at their craft just learn as they go, despite having lack of skill at that time. You’ve overcome with desire and it’s landed you in the best band in the entire world (I think so). It’s the decisions you make, when you have no time to make them, that define who you are. I’m eagerly waiting for the Rebirth album!

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