I started taking cello lessons in October 2011. As a music teacher, it’s been a long time since I’ve been a beginner on an instrument. But I figured it was important to experience a little of what my students are experiencing. Cello was the right instrument to choose. I have never played a string instrument before, and am not fluent reading melodies on the bass clef. I do indeed struggle like a beginner.
After four months of working with a private instructor, I was invited to participate in a strings recital at my music school. Of course I agreed to participate, even though I’d be the oldest by about 15 years (and likely the roughest sounding on my instrument—especially for my height).
I’ve been working really hard in SmartMusic, and I’ve heard from both our customers and our marketing materials that it is perfect for accompanying during recitals. I thought I’d give it a shot. (Hey – this will make a great blog post, right?)
I was delightfully surprised to find that the recital performance was very anti-climactic. I showed up about 5 minutes before the recital was to begin (running late as always), and found that I was first on the program (Murphy’s law). I opened the SmartMusic tuner and tweaked the knobs on my cello until SmartMusic told me I was in tune. I didn’t need to connect to the internet—I’d been playing my recital tune in SmartMusic for weeks, so it was already downloaded. The tune loaded with lightning speed. The sound guy plugged my laptop into the system. I kicked the USB foot pedal and SmartMusic started my intro.
SmartMusic played the way it plays every time I practice. There were no surprises. I played the way I’ve been playing the last few times I practiced. And then it was over. I handed the stage over to the other participants (whom I’d overheard talking nervously about playing with their accompanist). I shrugged, then went out for a beer with my parents. (I suppose that’s unique from my underage co-participants.)
I will say this: later in the evening at a different venue, I performed on keyboards with a live blues band that was a part of a “Rock Camp for Adults.” I was brought in as a ringer to fill in. The guys got nervous and our show didn’t sound half as good as the last rehearsal. I’m a huge advocate of playing with live musicians, but I was glad I didn’t have two rough concerts in one day. SmartMusic was solid.
So there’s my blog for today. Want to learn a new instrument and perform in a recital with no drama? Do it right: use SmartMusic.