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Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette and Bandstand Decorum

Going Viral

Going Viral
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Dear Mr. P.C.:

I've read that vocalists are the greatest threat to spread Covid, since they're projecting their voice and all the germs in their throat around the stage and toward the audience. So I had what I think is a brilliant idea: To quarantine all vocalists and make them use their time in lockdown to learn music theory. It would be a brief inconvenience for them but would lead to a much healthier and egalitarian ensemble vibe in the future. What do you think?

—Cleverland


Dear Clever:

There are 7.8 billion people in the world, and according to Google you're the very first to come up with the phrase "egalitarian ensemble vibe." Your reward is waiting for you: Both egalitarianensemblevibe.com and egalitarianensemblevibe.org are still available, ready to help you monetize your inspiration! Don't delay; snatch up those domains before I publish this and my readers beat you to it. Or maybe you'd rather just quarantine my readers with the vocalists?

You can't copyright "Egalitarian Ensemble Vibe" as a song title, but you can certainly mark your territory by being the first to use it. You could also name your band for it; hopefully Egalitarian Ensemble Vibe Combo or Egalitarian Ensemble Vibe Unit rather than Egalitarian Ensemble Vibe Ensemble. If your ensemble includes a mallets player, I urge you not to call it Egalitarian Ensemble Vibe Vibes Ensemble.

There's such promising material for lyrics.... if only there were a rhyme. Heartbreaking, really.

But back to your question. Here's what you're missing: The vocalists in quarantine would themselves have an egalitarian ensemble vibe—being equals in a group and having a shared feeling of distress. That much I know. What I don't know is what would cause them the most distress: their quarantine, the Covid virus itself, or being directly exposed to music theory.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

When you're set up really tightly in the corner of a room and it's so crowded that some of the guests walking around try to squeeze in between you and your music stand, what's the best way to stop them? They almost knocked over my keyboard!

— Defending My Territory


Dear Defending:

A few well-timed productive coughs should do the trick.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

I'm in a band that tries to make in-the-moment choices, so we depend a lot on visual cues. Now that we have to wear masks, a lot of times the cues are missed or misunderstood. What are we supposed to do?

—Cueless


Dear Cueless:

I'm trying to follow your logic here. Do you normally cue with your nose and mouth? Or do you receive cues with your nose and mouth? Or, perhaps, both?

For now just stop wearing the mask over your eyes and you should be fine.

Have a question for Mr. P.C.? Ask him.

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