27. July 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

MANY years ago a university student I was teaching — one who wasn’t practicing, failed her scales, and really didn’t like me — wrote to another oboe instructor in our area during spring break. She asked him if he would be able to teach her. She told him it could even be on weekends, and she could find a room at the university that he could use. She did this without my knowledge.

Sort of.

His response to her email was to suggest she contact the oboe instructor on campus, and named me.

He also Cc’d me on the email!

No, he didn’t know she was going behind my back. He didn’t deliberately cause her harm. But it sure DID cause a problem. I wrote to her and asked if there was an issue. She never returned my email, and she never took lessons again.

A few years later she would up at the other university where I was teaching! She pretended not to know me. She wasn’t studying oboe at that point, as she’d moved on to conducting. But one day she emailed me to see if I could play for the orchestra and I responded by asking why she didn’t just play in it herself. I suspect she somehow thought I’d forget who she was!

The music world is small. What we say and do, even when we think it is in secret, usually ends up getting known. Silly behavior done out of anger may come back to harm us. Vindictive behavior nearly always will, or so it seems to me. I wish more younger musicians would realize that. They do and say things that cause them great harm. I witnessed this recently and I can only shake my head.

And yes, older musicians do this stuff too. But they should know better so I roll my eyes rather than shake my head.

Careers can end quickly. It may be frustrating to have to hold one’s tongue (or fingers if one is using social media and writing things they shouldn’t). But it has to be done if you want to navigate safely through our tricky business.

Think, dear musicians. Think!

27. July 2019 · Comments Off on Acknowledge the Listeners! · Categories: Ramble

I’m currently watching a wonderful video of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons by a trio. I won’t name them and I won’t paste the video here, but honestly, I’m enjoying it tremendously.

BUT (You knew it was coming, right? That’s why I won’t post the video here: I don’t want to berate the group in such a public way.) they finished one season with flair and the audience really applauded. Clearly they loved it.

The trio didn’t even LOOK at the audience. Not even a smidge of acknowledgement. Perhaps they didn’t want the audience to applaud until they were finished with all the seasons, but the applause made sense and was well deserved. I think not acknowledging the audience dismisses this group of people who have paid money and come to enjoy and be entertained. Without them, after all, the trio would be playing only to themselves.

Oh. Wait. That’s what it looks like they are doing!