Monday, July 25, 2011

True or False?

I am a traditionally trained, classical bassoonist with an orchestral background.  I am head-over-heels crazy about performing solo art music.
I love clothes.  I love glamorous gender-ambiguous dressing. I would play a concert in my underwear if I had the courage (I don't) or fabulous-enough lingerie (I plan to get some). I love designers though I only know the names of my local, one-off designers since I don’t seem to perceive mass-market appeal in clothes.  Am I aloof from the whims of fashion or a slavish slave? 
I love wood. I love working on reeds.  I think that I can build my sound from the reed up and live with a bit of excitement based on the fact that it is challenging to align my performance values with my reed-making skills.  I shape my cane by eye using a sharp knife, files, sandpaper and easel... no templates, no machines, lots of sawdust.  Maybe I waste too much time in this pursuit.
I love baroque music and historical instruments.  But I am a modern player and feel no shame in making this music work in a way that suits my instrument and time, thus appealing to neither market (early music or modern instrumental practise)... maybe I am wasting my money on my many recording projects.
I love teaching yet am constantly baffled by the institutional process, always feeling at odds with the demands of the schools and the core needs of the student musicians (loads of repertoire directed towards tests, juries, auditions and not towards pure concerts, not enough time to learn the craft of reed-making or tone production), yet I stick with it and even support the structure as the best option we have for the time being.  Maybe I am cancelling out my own best contribution.
I love performing for audiences large and small, meeting countless new people, but the only way to get there is to have hundreds of hours to myself.  I love performing live but it is almost a physical need to make recordings, an isolated craft with different existential parameters.
Are contradictions fundamental to my craft or merely to me?  


2 comments:

Andrew said...

On your last point:

I, too, enjoy performing and connecting with people through music, but I wouldn't see the recording process as a hindrance to that. I just recorded for the first time this past June and that process, although long and difficult at times, helped me understand the music I was playing as well aspects of my own performance much better than a series of concerts would have done. From reading your blog over the past year, I've noticed that you too have noticed your development through recording.

Is the development of a strong sense of self just as important as the connections we make?

nadina mackie jackson said...

Very well said, and yes, I agree completely with you!

The admission of self (and strong development of said self) is essential.

The recording process has the appearance of being almost solipsistic, yet, as you say so well, it absolutely enhances our understanding of the music. I encourage students to begin this process very early... even the retakes and editing are essential to this growth.

Thank you for writing and let us know when your recording is released!