Friday, October 26, 2007

I wouldn't make it in L.A.!

I used to want to be a studio musician, playing for movie soundtracks like Disney features and John Williams scores in L.A. For several reasons, I know this is never to be. I won't go into my long list now, because that will just depress me, but I think the main reason I wouldn't hack it is that I'm not a consistent enough player. Do those studio musicians have off days? My guess is that if they show up unprepared or make silly concentration mistakes, they'd never be hired again. I remember a conductor telling us college students about the old cartoon soundtrack orchestras. They had one shot. One take. Time is money, etc. Well, I need a few more shots sometimes. And thank goodness my employers around here are a little more forgiving. I do have off days. Not everything was off last night, but my concentration certainly wasn't at its peak.

Only a few wrong notes, but I'm always frustrated when I hit one. There are so many darn key signature changes in musicals like this. I guess I didn't bring my A-game. (Is that the right saying?) I finally had a reed that played where I wanted it to, and my instrument decided to malfunction. Water galore. Especially in my C key. That was fun, leading a woodwind chorale in B-flat major, where every second or third note was C. "Da, da, da, splat, da, splat, da..." The English horn reeds I'd ordered finally arrived yesterday, and they're a bit too buzzy for my taste. I adjusted them at home and played one for the first few EH numbers, but I gave it up and switched back to my old reed, which is still vibrant and newish. Good old English horn reeds that LAST. I'll probably just play this one for the rest of the set. (Knock on wood.) I'm not great at putting plastic tubing at the ends of EH reeds (and this reed maker doesn't leave much space at the end of the tube), so I use plumber's tape on the end of my bocal. It needed reapplying before the show last night, which I did, but somehow it was worn off and pushed down by the time I switched to my good reed. Another case of good reed, instrument malfunction. I took a breath mid-solo, and my reed came off the bocal. Scramble, scramble. Missed a few notes. Grrr... Then try taking breaths when the reed is so loose on the bocal it comes off every time. Instead of taking my mouth off, I started breathing through my nose. Problem solved at intermission. I also nearly missed one entrance last night (listening to the dialogue on stage...bad Jill..."oops, there was my cue."), and I skipped a line in one number, so I was quite dissonant with the other woodwinds for a moment.

The good news? I had a great oboe reed! I was in tune...too bad a few of my colleagues did not agree with each other...making me feeling out of tune all over the place. I really struggled to find this person and find the next person. Frustrating. I guess we all have off nights.

Pregnancy note: In one eight minute dialogue bit, I decided to listen to my body and go find the nearest dressing room rather than haul myself up three flights of stairs. Thank you, conductor, your bathroom was very nice. I made it back in plenty of time. (Good thing it wasn't a cage pit.) And no, ha ha ha, I did not run out of the show to deliver the baby. (About four people asked that question...seriously?!)

So, no L.A. studio gigs for me. But Des Moines will do just fine for the time being!

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