musings on music and life

April 24, 2017

Professional Courtesy

Filed under: Carnatic Music, Uncomfortable truths — sankirnam @ 3:05 pm

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This situation has happened to me way too many times now, and I need to vent here. It’s just a matter of having basic professional courtesy as a musician. If you don’t have the instrument, or are unwilling to pay for transportation costs, then don’t accept the engagement. It’s that simple.

As a professional, I do this myself – before accepting a concert engagement, I always inquire for the sruthi (pitch) of the main artist and make sure I have access to the correct instrument. It’s amazing to me how so many others don’t do this, and instead hope that someone else will lend their instrument for their use. I have actually had some of my mrudangams come back basically destroyed after loaning them out for concerts.

I do not go to all the trouble of maintaining my instruments just so that others can use them in concerts. This would not be such a big deal if I were living in India (or Chennai specifically), where access to mrudangam artisans and repairers is easy. The mrudangam is an incredibly finicky, high-maintenance instrument, and I don’t put a lot of my own time, effort, and money into maintaining my instruments just so that other people can use them.

The same thing can hold for concert organizers, if they read this: don’t expect one musician to give his/her instrument (especially a high-maintenance instrument like the mrudangam in the US) to another musician.

</end rant>

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