Overcoming Weaknesses

© 2010 Vinny Ribas

I made a living for a log time playing keyboards and singing. I was never a good piano player. I hated taking solos because I was a very sloppy player. Worse yet, I couldn’t sing on key! So how did I make a decent living at it for so long? I knew what I did well, and I found ways to get around my weaknesses and play to my strengths.

 One of the most important rules is having any form of success is to have an honest awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have that, you can develop a strategy for removing it as a barrier. Here are some ways that you can do that. 

 Overcome the weakness. This is simply a matter of finding a way to improve on your weakness so that it either becomes a strength, or is at least adequate. Depending on what your weakness is, some ways to do this might include you taking classes, taking lessons, wood shedding (practicing more) find a mentor etc. This is, in most cases, the preferred solution to having weak areas.

 Eliminate the need. For example, if you’re a singer/songwriter but playing guitar is your weakness, you might hire someone to accompany you. That removes the need for you to play guitar.

 Overshadow the weakness. Sometimes you can get away with being weak in one area if your are exceptional in another. For example, an amazing piano player may choose t play one or two songs adequately on guitar to break up his performances. However, he would not necessarily be expected to be as accomplished on guitar as he is on piano. In the same manner, a powerful and captivating singer might get away with accompanying himself adequately, using his voice to sell the songs.

 Employ misdirection. I like to sing songs that audiences enjoy singing along with. When they are wrapped up in hearing their own voices, they were not concentrating on mine. That meant that I could get away with performing some songs and/or trying to hit some notes that I would never try in just a listening room. In other words, I took the focus away from my weakest area by giving the audience something different to focus on. 

 Have alternatives ready. Just as I mentioned in the last paragraph, I had different songs that I know would work in all situations, and some that would only work in specific situations. Develop alternatives to that you can switch to when the situation demands more perfection.

 Compensate for your weaknesses. If there is something that you just can’t master nut it is an integral part of your act, compensate for it by becoming dynamic in another area. I worked with one singer who had his own band and couldn’t stay on key if life depended on it. However, he had a way with winning over an audience. He would sing directly to the women (especially the older ladies), joke with them, get them to sing duets with him etc. We would often play ‘stump the band’ or ‘Name that Tune” and give out drink tokens for prizes. He was so good that he was twice voted California Entertainer Of The Year!

All of this is to say that you should never let your weaknesses hold you back from being successful. The best solution is to eliminate the weakness so that your show is as strong and tight as it can be. But in the meantime, if you get creative, you can always find a way to get the audience to focus where you want them to and to ignore or never even notice the things that are temporarily less than perfect.

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.