I did a gig recently that I have sworn I will never do again. I was freezing the entire time. I was so cold that my body ached from being so tense. One player was so sharp and one so flat there was nothing to do about pitch. (They didn’t seem to notice any problem.) The music was mediocre stuff. The conductor had beat patterns that threw me until I figured out what was going on (6/8 was two bars of three, some other mixed meter portions were just messed up). Everyone was as nice as can be, though. So there’s that. And people who attended loved it.

The thing is, I’m guessing I’ll be asked back. So will I be able to stick to my “Say No” plan? I wonder. Sometimes I need the work and that causes me to cave. Especially at certain times of the year.

What to do about these tough jobs? We musicians who don’t play in full time orchestras can’t just turn down everything. Sometimes the jobs get us frustrated. Sometimes angry. Sometimes just exhausted. And sometimes embarrassed.

So I try to decide which are worth the extra effort or energy.

There are times I take a job because I know that the audience will love it, despite my reservations. I have to go in with a good attitude. Being down on a gig is just a bad way to begin; it means I’ll be uptight the entire time. Going in with a snobby attitude is especially detrimental. The funny thing is that I sometimes then end up playing poorly and that isn’t a option. No matter what gig I take I have to play the best I can play. This doesn’t mean I should play the best that some of the other musicians play … I have to play my best. Period.

Okay. Thoughts done for the moment. This is probably coming across as egotistical or something. Saying, “This gig just isn’t good enough,” probably sound awful (and of course I would never put it that way to whoever wants to hire me). But it is something we have to deal with on occasion.

1 Comment

  1. It’s not being egotistical. It’s being practical. The gig risks your instrument from cracking. Need you justify any further?