What makes a musician?
For me it has become to be this feeling that I need to play for other people, to perform with music. Sometimes in the busy stages of life you maybe wish that you didn’t have to do some gig just right then because you don’t feel at your best or have other interests. But at the end, those periods when I didn’t have anything else going on, I was looking for possibilities to perform and especially to play with other people.
As you can see on the page of performances, I’ve been taking apart of many concerts with The Finnish Navy Band (Laivaston soittokunta) during my military service. In January I got two other gigs as well outside the service and I want to tell a bit about them.
The first one was kind of a dream. It was organized by one association and all I had to do is to come on the concert day in the morning for little breakfast and then we had rehearsals in the Turku concert hall. All the notes were ready on the stand. I just had to play. After rehearsal we had a free buffet lunch and couple of hours to get ready for the concert. The hall was full of people and they seemed to enjoy it. The musicians didn’t get paid but we got a little present to take to home. Everything was very well planned and took only one day of my life.
The other gig was almost in every aspect completely different. I got a call from a private person on Sunday (yes, be ready for the work calls anytime anywhere) to come and play in a private event on Saturday. She asked what would I like to have as a reward. I feel this is always somehow a difficult question for me. But I have been talking with other musicians and have somewhat same ideas of what to ask. On the phone I first didn’t gave any answer because I didn’t know if I would come alone or with someone else. The clarinet many times feels lonely so I wanted to find out if there would be anyone else to come to play with me. I used all the week to find the fitting material for the occasion and to find some to play with me. Finally I got one pianist to come with me. We agreed what to ask for a reward. One day before the gig we had one rehearsal and then the lady called me and told me that there is no piano available. We made agreement that I will bring my old keyboard. That is better than nothing and I wouldn’t have to cancel the gig for the pianist. First the lady promised that someone would pick me up and then on the gig day she sent a message and told me to take a taxi. The performance itself was quite fine, but the other parts of communication didn’t seem to work. As if they were upset with us with everything we did but I felt it was their responsibility to plan and lead us but they left us without any guidance. It also seemed that they thought they were paying us to work only 10 min for them. I think many other musicians have experienced this too. I spent 3 hours on the venue on my free day and prepared already at home. I find that I was working several hours also during the week. I was first quite excited about this gig but afterwards I was chagrined. And anyone I told this experience were as surprised as I was. I have been playing the clarinet for almost 20 years and I believe I have already quite an experience in the music field and I am able to call myself as a professional musician. But maybe they didn’t expect professionals…
I can only try to learn from this and get prepared that next time I will have to explain where all the costs come from.