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Thread: Utter Rubbish?

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Utter Rubbish?

    Sometimes as a church organist you are asked to play what you may regard as the most awful trash. It has always puzzled me as to how well-meaning people such as clergy, Christian congregations and organists can so strongly disagree about quality. Aren’t we all aiming in the same direction?

    You will probably have your pet hates, as I do. Snobbery comes into it, and I cannot pretend it is otherwise with me. I am rather like Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, who was always late, but could not stand lateness in others. In my relationship with music, I can’t stand laziness – even though I shan’t get through this post without a break for coffee, or to look at some fascinating new recordings online.

    The best advice I have ever heard to retain my sanity when forced to play something I despise, is to pretend the piece is the greatest music ever written, and play it as such. That way, you distract yourself from the awfulness of the thing, and focus on being the best musician you can be. Imagine you are your greatest hero playing at their finest: what would s/he draw from the piece?

    Another trick is to call it something other than music. It’s amazing what you can put up with if you give it a neutral name such as “sound effects”, or “wallpaper”. The neutrality diffuses the disgust and insult felt; calling something “cat music” is not only an insult to an animal that prevents humans from having heart attacks and nervous breakdowns, but also brings on the aggrieved feelings that might actually give you a heart attack!
    Last edited by Mat; May-17-2015 at 15:22.

  2. #2
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Albert's Avatar
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    Weddings are notoriously filled with nonsense music or the latest "fave," For a wedding in the near future, I am learning to play Pachelbel's infamous Canon en ré mineur as the entrance music. No doubt a certain wedding of English royalty has resulted in this, and I am stuck with the most boring music. To top it off, the instrument is a Hammond B-3. Oh well, it is the bride's day, not mine. I plan on using lots of slushy vibrato and watch the procession closely so as to skip a bunch in the middle to end at the right time. Somehow people don't realize that processionals should have a length suited to the length of the aisle ... I'm going to follow your trick of renaming the music. I might still be sane at the end of the day.

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