Tag Archives: musicians

Why I Use a Music Stand; Or, I Need All of the Stickers, You Guys

In the past couple of months there has actually been video and photographic evidence of Ideal Koala, the band. You may have noticed that there is a pretty beaten-up music stand in all of these. The music stand is there because I finally came to terms with my needs as a performer, and it’s beaten up because some music stand company decided to make a music stand that could become irreversibly bent upon first opening the box and decided not to put instructions anywhere for how to avoid it. But that’s another, not likely to happen, blog post.

I have wanted to be good at memorisation for as long as I can remember. I mean, there are loads of reasons everyone knows. You can focus on the music better, you can maintain a better connection with your audience, you can jump around with wild abandon…oh wait, I’m a cellist. But for as many good reasons to memorise music, the most important one to me was always “no one else uses music stands in the shows I play.” Which is really silly when you think about it. No one else uses a cello in the shows I play, either.

The awkward feeling of bringing my sad-looking music stand on stage kept me from suggesting Ideal Koala perform again for months after our first gig, while I spent all of my time trying to memorise all of our songs so far. As I started to know a couple of our songs by heart, we started going to open mics, where I rapidly discovered that my stage fright would tear out my heart, surgically remove all traces of song, and sew it back in, leaving it beating far too quickly. That’s when I realised that my determination to memorise our songs was hurting the band.

I had crossed the line from reasonable attempts to learn songs into forcing our band practices into two people playing the same songs over and over again because nothing was ready and we can’t start adding to our repertoire now. As soon as I decided to forget about memorisation, our rehearsals became more productive and we started to play in front of people again. And people like us. No one ever brings up the fact that I use music onstage. So I’m going to go with this for now.

Except, as you might have picked up on, I hate my music stand. I have a plan to solve this problem, but I need lots of koala stickers. So many. If you see some nice ones anywhere, please let me know. I want a variety, so the more places I can get them from, the better. Thanks!


My Happy Musician Fantasy

I’ve been spending the past week catching up on all of the blogs that I love but haven’t had the time to read over the semester. One of them put me back into my “grr Amanda Palmer” state by reminding me that she didn’t want to pay her musicians on her most recent tour, and giving me more details that activated the “GRR Amanda Palmer” state. But this post isn’t actually about Amanda Palmer so if you feel like activating your own “grr Amanda Palmer” states, you’re going to have to Google her.

The whole thing made me think a lot about the situation for most musicians, who have to play gigs for free until they get lucky. Then I came up with my own fantasy rules for venues. I don’t think that venues should be completely banned from having bands play for free, because it gives lesser-known bands who the venue might not want to risk a paycheck on otherwise a chance to prove themselves. I like the idea of bands getting live auditions, since even if the venue decides it doesn’t like the band and doesn’t want them back, the band still gets to perform in front of an audience. However, we all know that venues abuse the promise of exposure for free entertainment (which is especially egregious when the band is responsible for all advertisement). I think venues should be limited to say, ten free bands a month, and not be allowed to have the same band play for free more than once ever. If a venue agrees to have a band back a second time, clearly they like the band enough to pay them.

So there you go, that’s my happy musician fantasy. I would love to hear yours.