As I was teaching one student this week she did some “telegraphing” that needed to be stopped. When she got to a high note or two her body language told anyone watching, “This is so darn hard and I don’t like it!” I’m right there with her when it comes to high notes. I don’t really enjoy them. Perhaps it’s because I was an English hornist for so long. Or because my voice isn’t a high one. Or maybe I’m just lazy. But I find high notes to be a pain sometimes.

Still, we mustn’t let the audience know that what we are doing is something we don’t like to do, or that it’s awfully difficult. When an audience member comes up and says something like, “WOW. That looked SO hard and I was worried the whole time,” I’m not excited about it, despite the fact that they may have been trying to pay me a compliment. If I made them that nervous, I need to change how I’m doing things.

Body language is important in music. We shouldn’t cringe when we make a mistake, and everyone knows that. (We shouldn’t cringe when someone else makes a mistake either. Nor should we turn at look at the individual who made an error. I was playing in an orchestra recently where one player actually turned and glared when something not to the player’s liking occurred. It was awful to see.)

I’m not saying it’s not work, this music making that we do. Believe me, it is. I get home and I’m exhausted. Sometimes my body is sore from the work. Really! But I just don’t really care to see people telegraphing all their thoughts of how hard something is (and how they don’t like what they are doing) via body language.

Maybe some disagree with me. But that’s how I feel about it.

Speaking of making it look easy … this violinist looks like she’s having fun, and all those fast notes just look easy as she plays, as if it takes barely any effort. What fun! (I’m sure great effort is put into her preparation which enables her to look more relaxed in performance. Ahhh … preparation! I wish more students thought about that more frequently.)

When I was younger I simply couldn’t stand the sound of Baroque instruments. It puzzles me now, as I really love them. I wonder if it’s just that I was so busy trying to refine my (modern) sound I couldn’t deal with other sounds. That might be it, since I was also SO harsh about any sort of tone other than the American sound.

These days I just love it all, as long as it’s musical and in tune. Variety … it’s not a bad thing.

This video was a fun listen. The d’amore player is Emmanuel Laporte, in case you are wondering. The group might be the Ricercar Consort, since I do see Philippe Pierlot playing.

If life were longer and time weren’t an issue I would so love to learn Baroque oboe … or maybe the Baroque d’amore, as it is quite lovely!

You’ll hear some speedy tempi here …

12. June 2015 · Comments Off on Jury Duty and Musicians · Categories: Ramble

It’s happened: I’ve been called to jury duty and I actually don’t have any rehearsals or performances so I don’t even need to reschedule for another week. I do believe in doing my civic duty. Really I do. But jury duty for a musician who is also a private instructor means income loss, should I end up on a trial.

There’s simply no way to reschedule all the students who will miss lessons if I have to cancel. For summer I am teaching Wednesday through Saturday. Should I end up in that jury box I will be canceling at least ten students’ lessons. We are generously (sarcasm detection alert should be on) given a whopping (more sarcasm) $15 per day AFTER the first day at the court. We are paid 34 cents per actual mileage traveled from the second day as well. At the same time, they request we take public transportation because they don’t have enough parking.

Somehow it all starts to feel like punishment. For some people that may mean they are angry enough to punish the person they are ruling on from that jury box, don’t you think?

In any case, I will do my duty, but I will also explain the financial hardship it causes. During the summer our only source of income, aside from the occasional odd performance job that might pop up, is from my teaching, since Dan doesn’t get paid at all in July and August.

That being said (or whined about, really), I’ve only been dismissed the last two times I made it far enough to be questioned by the attorneys. I’ve been told the prosecution isn’t too thrilled with musicians. I guess they think we are all too much like criminals.

Or something. ;-)