The view from the piano bench
Posted by keithosaunders on June 10, 2010
With the impending move to San Fran my mood has taken a turn to the south. It’s hard enough trying to rent our apartment while organizing our move west, but all of a sudden, in an ironic twist of fate, I’m having my busiest June ever gigging almost every night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about this plethora of gigs. Just that it will be hard to go from crazy-busy to sitting by the phone.
That being said, here is a small sampling of my hit parade of gripes. Think of it as a premier in how-to-deal-with-muscians 101.
The majority of songs that I play are 32 measures long. Sure, there’s the odd Cole Porter 64 bar marathon such as In The Still of the Night, but for the most part the songs are fairly concise. I am almost never more than 31 bars from a natural ending point. Now let me ask you something: Why in the world would you want me to stop in the middle of a song, when in mere seconds I can reach the end? Are you a fan of resolution? If so, then LET ME FINISH! I’ll be happier, and you may not believe this, but so will you.
Now here’s something: Even though the area around my piano is lacking four walls, a desk, and a phone, this space constitutes my office. What would you do if I walked into your office while you were on a business call, and made a request to invest in penalty-free annuities? I thought so. Look. You can talk to me. I’m not a delicate genius that requires absolute silence while I’m playing. (Keith Jarrett) You just need to find the right time to do so. Here’s an idea to get started: Between tunes.
Finally: If you insist on talking to me while I’m playing please do not be offended if I do not talk to you. You see, contrary to what you may believe, my fingers are actually moving in a prescribed order — I’m not just wiggling them in time. Making music requires concentration. If you frame your question so that a simple yes or no will suffice, then sure…I’ll answer or nod. But if you come over in the middle of a song to discuss quantum mechanics, don’t get your hopes up.