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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000876.txt from 2001/05

Subj: Re: [kl] Performing/non-performing
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 07:20:31 -0400

In high school and college, the band and orchestra played regular concerts,
but even then, most of our rehearsals were for their own sake, or so it
seemed to me. High school marching band (unfortunately, not optional for
band members at my high school) was always working on the half-time routine
for football games, which evolved from week to week, pointing toward the
state marching band contest.

In college, I also played in the (non-credit) Gilbert & Sullivan orchestra,
which was geared to performances. There was a sense of purpose there that
didn't exist in the band, but I enjoyed both.

I played for several years in a pretty good woodwind quintet that got
together mostly for its own pleasure. The flutist was more ambitious, and at
his insistence we played about four concerts a year in living rooms (no
admission charged) and nursing homes (no pay). I would have been perfectly
happy not giving concerts, but it did put us on our mettle to play in front
of an audience, so it came out about even. Most of the string players I know
get together to play quartets with no thought of a concert.

Some of the best music-making I have ever been around was in the apartment of
the late Josef Marx, beginning at 8:00 on Saturday nights and continuing
until 2:00. About half the people came after performing with the NYC Opera
and other professional playing gigs. Nobody even thought about public
performance. We played for ourselves.

At the other end, I just finished reading Jack Brymer's book "From Where I
Sit," which describes his life as a performer, with rehearsals as just that -
a quick preparation for performance.

I'm not that kind of person. I suspect few people are - perhaps only Tony
Pay on this board does it that way very much. I know I'm not like that. I
play for my own pleasure first, then for the pleasure of making music with
other people, and relatively little for public performance.

Each has its own validity. It's not either/or.

Ken Shaw

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