06. June 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Yesterday evening I joined the Lincoln High School Chamber Choir to play and record a work for oboe and choir. I love playing the work. I hate recording. And I don’t care what group I’m recording with, I still get nervous! Recording is one of those things that drives me nuts. Suddenly every little thing is more difficult. Going quickly between the top line F and a minor third below D is miserable because of the octave key and half hole movement. I hear all my little inconsistencies. And I get annoyed.

To add to that, we had to turn off all the lights and air conditioning in the Studio: (a church with pretty nice acoustics). Easy enough for the singers; they memorized their music and they have good enough eyes to see the conductor. Me? I’m an instrumentalist, darn it! I need my music! And I’m old, too, so I need my music glasses to read the music, but the conductor was miles away so I could barely see him. Someone managed to hook up a piano light, but it was behind me so my body blocked some of that light, and the bottom line of music wasn’t in the light at all.

So I’ll be curious to hear if the director manages to get a recording at all. Having only done recordings in real studios, I know the magic of studio work; they can snip little bits out and put better bits from another take in. A little reverb does wonders. And we all usually have our own microphones so they can raise some levels and balance things wonderfully. (I think particularly of http://www.stilesanddrewe.co.uk/the_three_musketeers/index.htm">The Three Musketeers; I think George Stiles did a great job with putting that recording together. And … well … I’m actually happy with my playing, which is rarely the case.) This recording? I suspect it’ll be a one take baby and that’s that. So while I still say I’ll be curious to hear it I’m not sure if I’ll have the nerve to listen!

It might surprise some of you to know that I get nervous when I’m playing for a high school group. But I get nervous for all sorts of things! I get nervous playing at church (although I’ve not done that for years) and most everyone there doesn’t really hear what I’m doing at all. (Listening is, I think, an art that is being lost. Listening is not easy. Listening takes concentration. Most folks won’t bother.) It’s not that the people I’m playing for make me nervous. It’s that I make me nervous. I don’t care as much about what others think, aside from my colleagues. I care about doing my very best and doing my very best isn’t always easy. Some would think I could relax my standards when playing for church or a school but to me that’s very wrong. It leads one down the “close enough” road and that’s not a road I want to take. When I hear a fellow musician say, “Oh well. Those people don’t know anything anyway,” I’m bugged. Whether or not the audience can hear the problems isn’t the point. At least not to me.
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