Sunday, May 18, 2008

Because most people hate George Crumb

One more gig is history.

My calendar is dotted with gigs in the past and in the future. Good gigs. Gigs with the North Carolina Symphony. Gigs in front of 10,000 people. Gigs that get filmed for television. Gigs that take me to little places in the state that I wouldn't see otherwise.

There is a build up to each one. The anticipation and preparation that come with making sure everything is ready for that call time are a huge rush for me. Some people get nervous, I get excited.

I love the focus that I feel from sound check onto the stage. It is when I feel most capable.

Last night, I had another gig where we were backed up by an orchestra. We used the two arrangements I did in 2004 and I also scored two new ones. It is an opportunity that most "pop" musicians don't get, and I'm grateful for it.

It's interesting, how the orchestra musicians treat "the band." Even though I have a lot of the same training that they do and have a Bachelor of Music in composition, they look down their fretboards at me. It bothered me at first.

Only at first.

Now, I feel a little bit sorry for them that they can't enjoy what they are doing unless it is "serious" enough. A pops concert is below them, and they resent having to do it.

But the audience loves it.

That is one thing I've learned from playing with The Dude. I've learned that being a musician isn't just about the study, the practice, and the perfection of it all. It's about connecting with other people.

I liked being liked.

Mixed in with my training, there were years of dragging myself through the rock circuit only to be met with mild appreciation left me tired and a little bitter. I gave it my all, even when performing in a stupid sports bar in front of a 100 foot TV screen showing a hockey game.

But playing with The Dude is different. People buy tickets and come because they like his music. Then they get to the concert and they listen. Without a beer, a cigarette, and a conversation on the side. They applaud. They even want to talk to you and get autographs afterwards.

It's very satisfying, honestly.

I could hold my own with the orchestra. I have a deep love for modern music that works its way into my "pop" arrangements (yes, Mr. Trumpet player, I was perfectly aware that you were holding a minor second against the horns for an entire measure. I like minor seconds.). I could play it as snobby as the concert mistress did last night.

But where is the fun in that?

What is wrong with putting your effort into creating music that a broad base of people actually enjoy?

Nothing at all.