Quick Links
« Danger | Main | Rent a Teenager »
Monday
Jan282013

Earphones

I am not a professional musician. Oh, one time I pretended I was. I was flying from California to Pennsylvania to perform in a one time concert, for which I was paid $300.  As I picked up my guitar from the luggage turnstile a stranger asked me if I was a pro.

"Yeah," I said after a pause while I reviewed the precise definition of the word. "I am." 

My self worth went up a notch but it was one of a scant half a dozen times I have been compensated for singing, other than leading regular church services. Those are less about talent and more about steering the congregation out of a droning ditch. I think the meaning of the stranger was more along the lines of "Can I find you on iTunes?"

I did have a run of teaching guitar to children whose parents had hopes of greatness after a session of eight lessons. The prepubescent kids plunked out "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" at the final concert, and promptly parked their instruments in the closet.  If longevity of student playing is the barometer, I was a pathetic teacher. 

One of the things I notice about stage musicians is that they wear earphones. I wondered about this until John explained that they want to hear the vocalists and bass players, lest they spin off in their own orbit of musical frenzy.

"The other people are only a keyboard away. How could they lose track of each other?"

"You'd be surprised."

John and I live in the same house. We eat at the same table and shower in the same stall. We can't each get to our own dressers from the bathroom without a strategy to squeeze by the bed. You would think we would operate in sync without much effort. But it is embarrassing how often we lose track of each other's tempo.

I need to find ways to keep listening to him, lest I spin off into my own orbit.