Last week was a whirlwind of long rehearsals and stressful “cram” practicing for a couple of gigs. The first gig was for a play development center that has developed works by great playwrights such as Rajiv Joseph, author of the Broadway hit Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo currently starring Robin Williams. I was also going to be working in a series of vignettes starring a certain well known actress both on the screen and on the stage, and, one of the short plays was written by the aforementioned Rajiv Joseph. It seemed like a really big deal and a great opportunity so I did some schedule shifting and made myself available for the rehearsals and the performance.
When I got there, rehearsals proceeded as normal. As I sat at the piano listening to the cues and playing through the music I realized, this is like a million other rehearsals and performances I’ve played for. I’m as prepared and am playing this music just like any other rehearsal/performance situation.
My second gig was not as glamorous. I played a junior voice recital for a NYU student. The pre recital banter was a little embarrassing as everyone thought I was a NYU student myself and found it hard to believe that not only was I over the age of 20 I also had a master’s degree in piano… but whatever! Accompanying provides extra cash, keeps me playing, and there were some great Faure pieces in the program so I was pretty happy.
The music was definitely a little more tricky and I was nervous for some of the pieces. However, as soon as I started playing I realized, It’s all the same. I loosened up considerably and ended up playing a good program for my singer. She was so happy and her family came up to me after the performance thanking me for creating beautiful music with their daughter.
Yoga Sutra 1.12 “Practice and detachment are the means to still the consciousness”
Detachment is a common theme in the sutras. Detachment for want of power, riches, and fear of failure helps keep the mind even and stilled. Essentially, when the mind is undisturbed by outside events there is more opportunity for happiness, stability, strength, revelation, and honesty to the true self.
So often we work hard for only a specific goal or idea in mind. I myself have experienced this. Uh oh, I have a huge audition that requires me to know how to improvise. I hope I can learn by tomorrow! However, if I am constantly working on improvising (which I don’t always do) I would have a better chance of playing the audition with success. Nothing comes without consistency and with consistency comes progress. In my example of the two gigs the circumstances were quite different but the music was the same- music is the great equalizer of truth. Often times people say play a gig to one person like you would for a thousand. I think this is great advice. Work towards playing music beautifully no matter what and where you end up playing.