A show business paradox

Forgive the indulgent journal entry.

The fact is, that if you sing other people’s songs for a living, the jobness of it starts to impinge on the rest of your musical experience. The rest of music is, at least momentarily, slightly less fascinating because your brain doesn’t quite have the void, the hunger for notes than when you’ve got a more “typical” dayjob.

Having vocationally pursued musical theater for about three years now, it’s a problem I’m used to. Learning music and being surrounded by fellow musicmakers provides the endorphin kick of camaraderie and pretty sounds that keeps me in the business. Even the torturous 16-bar auditions I attend all the time in New York are amazing opportunities to perform for highly trained judges. Even if they’re more interested in the way you look, you still have a rapt, even fixated audience for those 16 bars. The pressure is on to do your absolute best–your Absolute Best!!–and if it’s just right, they’ll pay you to do more, for more people. A girl can get pretty wrapped up in the whole process, and even bring herself to (gasp!) wait tables for 10 years. Fortunately, that phase is over and I’ve joined the ranks of the freelancers, the telecommuters. Those idiots who told me not to double-major were totally idiotic idiots. My “side job” is paying not much less than a Broadway salary, and I can do it from any computer in the world. But I digress.

The trouble with all that excitement is that it’s a digression, in a way, from the music. From creation, from study. At the end of a long rehearsal day, the song from the beginning of Act II is lodged in my ears, and it has more staying power than anything else I’d try to insert. I’ve been singing all day, so I no longer need the release of music when I get home. Now: How do I find peace without becoming complacent?


I’ve noticed this with my job in the gaming industry… I play games all day, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is play games! Fortunately, that means I have plenty of incentive to do musical things after work.

I suspected it would be the same for a professional performer, but it’s interesting to hear you say it, nonetheless!

Written By Steven on January 5th, 2009 @ 11:48 am

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