Last week, I went to a wind quintet performance. About two-thirds of the way through, I started wondering what the point was of this performance. Further, I began wondering what the point was of what I do, my own musical exploration and performances and those of my musician comrades. What’s the point?
Make no mistake, this came not from a place of desperation, depression or jealousy. I felt very removed in these questions. Why Am I Doing This? Why Are They Doing That? Does any of this matter to people not in our field? Why should it? Who really cares?
Two days later, I found a note from my “Theories of Performance” instructor asking us to read this article on the effect of records on live performances. It’s really incredible. Things I had never even considered! According to this article, violin vibrato was used sparingly until this century when they figured out that you can hear the violins better on recordings if the tone is more alive. You wouldn’t think of not using vibrato in any performance nowadays, whether it was recorded or not. Wow.
Despite my initial detached musings, this nonetheless sent me down the rabbit hole in a fit of self-mortification in which I began to fear that what I’ve spent the last 2+ years chasing is in fact completely useless and pointless. I’m over it now. However, last weekend was no fun. Thanks be for the joy of music and friends, more so for the two in combination. I’d been locked away in the practice room for weeks with rehearsals on hiatus and no creative outlet, dying in my own melodramatic mind. Give me music with friends or give me death!
Freelance bassoonist and carpenter of the reedy persuasion in Tucson, AZ.
Habits of Musicians
Have Bassoon Will Cook
The Pedantic Bassoonist
Double Reed Ltd.