Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Musicians Helping Musicians

There is something I want to say and I don’t know how to say it succinctly.  So I will ramble.
The recent Vivaldi recording went more easily for me than any other previous project.  And I don’t mean the playing was easy (though there were a few blessed moments);  I mean that the burden of much of the work surrounding the project was lifted from my shoulders, hands and mind.
This was because this time, I had a full, honest-to-god support team in addition to my trusted longtime engineer and musical crew of players.  I also had my cherished repairmen, faithful copyist plus all the people who helped at the sessions, including tuners, instrument builders, photographers, videographer and caterer.
At the heart of the support crew were three of my students who all stepped into new roles... they went from being my attentive students to being meticulous librarians, reliable drivers and schedule enforcers, equipment movers, food deliverers, helpful production assistants who discovered wrong notes in the scores,  notated all of the corrections, figured out how to print complicated files, troubleshooters who solved problems without bothering me.  I   And my superstar recital partner definitely took on a new role.  He put down his instruments and took over all of the extra work involved in helping to move harpsichords, driving our conductor, feeding the musicians, planning the last minute party.  He was extremely annoyed with me when I cut my hand washing a wine glass the night before the recordings started; he said that was his job!
And though I was the one who had done months of preparatory work in arranging the recording sessions, sending contracts and schedules, booking venues and musicians, ordering the facsimiles and all of the other technical work, it still made a world of difference to have everyone helping me at the actual event.  It made it possible for me to grasp at most of my musical ideas, to have enough reeds to get through the demands and to be able to be present in the moment (whatever that really means).  In all of my past projects, I have had to do much more heavy lifting, including setting up the chairs & stands for the orchestras, preparing all of the music, delivering instruments and driving conductors... it was strengthening to do it, but at the same time, I was always in a lot of pain afterwards.
These recording sessions (6 hours of rehearsals, 16 hours of recording) made me briefly tired, but then I bounced back.
So now I have experienced the true pleasure of being assisted in achieving my goals.  The fact that I paid almost everyone is important, but they all deserved to be paid much more.  Without their help, I could not come close to doing this.
And it makes me realize that if musicians wanted to help each other more, there are endless possibilities for people to use their different specific talents to support others in their goals.  It take such a complex array of skills and insights to make projects come to life... it would be really amazing if we could think of more ways to facilitate one another’s visions.  We rarely have enough money, but we have oceans of talent.

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