Saturday, September 12, 2009

100 Days of Practice, Day 73: When we redefine practice.

The Wicked Witch of the Inside says:

"No time to practice? Why, because, in just the last two days, you have had two classes to teach, three courses to edit, one chapter to provide feedback on, a tune to transcribe, a couple contracts to send, and three gigs? And one three year old? No time to practice? Preposterous! What is wrong with you?"

Well, for one, I am tired. That's definitely wrong.

For two, I am blogging when I should be sleeping. That, also, is wrong.

But other than that... many things are right.

Just experienced two incredibly tired days, wracked with fatigue-induced self doubt, yet three of the most wonderful gigs I've played in a long time. Some math doesn't add up.

Yesterday, it was a 20 min performance with Caravan at a Ramadan observance feast at Bridgewater. At the end of our last tune, I had had so much fun playing that my heart was jumping out of my chest and my hands were shaking. I believe they call that adrenalin. God bless music. They gave us a standing ovation.

From there, Soul Mama raced to Falmouth for a jazz big band gig with Stage Door Canteen. It was uproariously fun.

Then tonight! A gig at the Wilbur Theater on Tremont Street in Boston. Someone did my makeup for the gig. The hell with the music, SOMEONE DID MY MAKEUP. A professional. Have I arrived? No, but wow, it was so neat to have a full staff of event coordinators, a personal monitor, impeccable sound, a dressing room, fancy schmancy lighting, and a full house. And a terrific band to play with.

This event was a 9/11 memorial, featuring singer Pauline Wells, who is a policewoman and detective in Cambridge. I was fortunate enough to join the backing band, Devri, a wonderful collection of souls I am so glad to have met. Among them: Declan Houton, Kevin Uh-oh (that's English for Gan Ainm) on fiddle, Larry Flint on bass, Steve O'Shaugnessy on drums, Chuck the Man (also Gan Ainm) on guitar, and Caroline O'Shea on whistle, alongside the Boston Gaelic Pipe Column, and the NYPD Emerald Society Pipe Band. Singers Wendy, Kathy... and an incredible pianist. Some names escape me (it's a tired thing).

Drove home in the rain, at midnight, blind behind crappy wipers. That part wasn't fun, but I'm here now and so happy to know that the two people I love most are sleeping peacefully upstairs. And I get to join them... right... after... this... beer.

Hm. Can we redefine practice to be not the physical act of repeating scales for an hour, but rather, to at least sometimes be the metaphysical experience of living a life of one's passion? That's a practice in itself. Not enough for every day, but more than enough for today.

It seems to come back to this, always: Music is a blessing.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Ages ago, Chris and I went to a Zen monastery for a weekend. One of the things we learned was called "work practice," where you take your meditation to whatever task you're assigned. I think that's what you just did!

Peig said...

day 73/74

had a very quiet weekend with MBB out for most of it. Spent alot of Sat importing cds bought in Ireland to my ipod. Kept me in touch with both our trip and my music. Played alot this weekend. Worked on all of the old stuff and one of the new jigs I got on holiday. Poured over the recent purchase of music books and still marvel at the old players and what they were able to do. What a haven music must have been for them in thier sturggles and hardship.

I had a very interesting conversation with one of my cousins while visiting. We were talking about how he thought the isolazation of Ireland during WW11 kept them poor and in the dark. How they had not the opportunity to adavane with the rest of the world. I thought as he spoke, how elese could they have done it? How could they have escaped the war and being bombed? I wondered as well if any of this music or players would have come to be if things had been different then. Would they have had the time, would they have had the passion, would they have?????

Funny how things happen. Me, I am still over the moon from my trip and sad to see our 100 days come to an end.