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

Plight at the End of the Tunnel

Plight at the End of the Tunnel
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Dear Mr. P.C.:

We musicians are getting pretty sick of our playing, having to hear ourselves practice day after day. Seems like we're being discriminated against—shouldn't everyone have to get sick of our playing?

This is an important reason for the government to allow venues to reopen sooner. It's the only humanitarian thing to do.

—B.J., Mill Creek
 

Dear B.J.:

Careful what you ask for—once you start performing you'll be sick of your playing both on stage and in the practice room. On top of that, as you said, your playing will quickly make the listeners sick too.

There's nothing remotely humanitarian about compounding and spreading that sickness. It's far safer to keep the venues shuttered and you quarantined in your practice room, where any sickness that manages to escape will be weakened and rendered harmless.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

Everybody's been in or seen livestreams by now. What drives me crazy is when a bandleader lists only their own name and none of ours. Even when they're asking for tip money "for the band." Well, who's the damn band?

—Anonymous
 

Dear Anonymous:

The bandleader is just trying to protect you. If they listed your name and the tips stayed the same—or went down—you'd be devastated, right?

Of course it's a bit insulting for them to assume you add nothing to the value of the music, but that doesn't make them wrong.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

Now that gigs have started back up, I've come to a painful realization: I didn't miss them. In fact, I don't really like playing them. For that matter, I'm not sure I really like music at all. What next?

—Ron the Renouncer
 

Dear RR:

There is music all around you—the songs of birds, the roaring of the ocean, the rhythmic patter of rain on the roof. You could stop playing gigs, stop practicing, even stop listening to recordings, and you'd still be surrounded by it. There's no escape.

But that doesn't mean there's no hope. You know how some annoying sounds like construction work and barking dogs recede into the background the longer you're around them? Maybe music can be the same way for you; if you can't avoid it, at least you'll be able to ignore it. That might be challenging on your own instrument, but you'll be surprised how much better you sound when you're not listening.

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

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