13. June 2008 · 6 comments · Categories: Links, Ramble

I’ve been at concerts where one audience member applauds before that wonderful silence that follows an incredibly moving performance. It’s distressing, but of course not all that surprising. Some people are so uncomfortable with silence they can’t allow it to happen. Others want to be sure they let the rest of the audience know the work is over. Or at least that’s how it feels. And others, perhaps, want the limelight.

Read this and tell me what you think.

Does a conductor have the right or responsibility to reprimand? Should the person be ignored? Are we ruining the rest of the audience’s experience if we on stage react negatively to something like this?

Recently orchestras are getting reprimanded by their bosses and audiences about their on stage behavior. Does it only go one way? I’ve recently read comments from audience members that say we shouldn’t have water on stage with us (Have they played oboe? I wonder.), nor should we have our bags with us (Have they ever had an instrument or reed go bonkers on them? I wonder.) We are supposed to look like we are having fun (Have they ever had an incredibly difficult solo that scares the pants off of them? I wonder.). I realize our appearance is important. I realize we can lose an audience if we don’t look like we care. I love what I do, and I smile when I can, but we are working. Some people forget that. I’m not sure I can get some people to comprehend what kind of concentration is involved in a concert. But whatever. That’s not my job, and if they don’t get it, they don’t get it.

Okay, maybe I’m too defensive. I do know we sometimes need reminders about how we look on stage. We are busy with the music. We forget how much the audience sees (and hears). Or … okay … at least I forget. I can’t speak for others, can I?

But the audience … sigh … we love our audiences … but some people can be so clueless. And yet we rely on them. Without an audience we’re pretty much sunk.

And I’m not sure about reprimanding a person … what good does it do? Did the guy even get it? I dunno.

Ramble, ramble ….

13. June 2008 · Comments Off on · Categories: Links, Ramble

“Many performing artists are underemployed,” Mr. Gioia said, “but one of the stereotypes we’re trying to debunk is that artists are mostly marginal and unemployed.”


I don’t know if my teaching counts as employment as a performing artist. Seems like it should, though, as it’s still about oboing and all that jazz. (Or classical, or whatever ….)

I’ve been at this biz since 1975. I’ve had other jobs along with music (bookstore clerk and then bookkeeper at the same store and, later, music librarian) but really I’ve been mainly music for what seems like forever.

I used to puzzle over this. I’ll never make the big bucks, living here in Silicon Valley, place with lots of money and big buck earners galore. But I’ve never been unemployed long enough to bother with unemployment. Funny how that happens.

I like my work. I’m fine with not being rich. (In truth I’m richer than much of the world, yes?)

Sleeping in is nice too. 😉

13. June 2008 · Comments Off on Betcha You Can Guess! · Categories: Ramble

… and get it right …

Walking into the theatre yesterday in the middle of the afternoon, I was greeted by a strange, strangulated sound. Was it a plastic saxophone? A type of Bavarian bagpipe? I couldn’t identify the instrument.

Read the rest here. From twang twang twang. (Surely a beginning harpist doesn’t sound all that bad …? Except maybe to a harpist.)