Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I love Betsy S's bassoon blog. I found it googling for intonation, and have been captivated by the writing and the first person photos of the orchestra experience. The original post I found, this one, was very encouraging to me. A pro with a job, she still frets about being in tune. She's got the same tuner I do. I felt a little less silly, spending my practices doing nothing but playing intervals into the tuner. She will even leave it on during rehearsals, wired into her horn. (I don't have a pickup like she does, but I spent a few minutes looking for one online.) Hey, I'm not so bad, if a pro worries about the same thing I do! Then later, I clicked on the sidebar, and listened to her play Devienne. Instant depression. Incredibly beautiful, totally out of my league. I There is a huge gulf between an amateur and a pro, even a good amateur. It's true in almost all areas of endeavor, really. A pro is working. It's got to be right. If I muff a note during my concert, and I certainly muffed a few, so what. Even if someone noticed, I'm paying, I'm there to enjoy myself and have fun. There was a pro or two at my concert, one a bass player who just showed up for the show, and sight read every note. I noticed quickly he was solid, secure in every note, and I started keying off him, for entrances and intonation. He was working, I was playing. I was paying, he was being paid. Kind of like the hunting guide, who helps the client track and find the animal, and may even take a shot at the same time as the client, ensuring the hunt is successful. If the client misses, so what. Two shots, and no one every knows which one really took the animal down. But the guide can never miss, and never gets credit. At TS's show the other day, I spent most of my time watching the drummer. He was very serious, every drum hit a solo, picked up by every singer in the choir, dozens a bar for more than an hour, hands and feet. Professionalism.

1 comment:

  1. I love watching professional musicians work. I get the same feeling about it as watching people work in Emergency. Working in a team, all real time, all exposed, all right. Mostly right.