This weekend the Virginia NATS association (National Association for Teachers of Singing) is gathering for their annual festival/competition. I went the previous two years to accompany singers from Virginia Tech and enjoyed working with all of the singers. But there was one thing that inspired quite a deluge of anger from me and that continues to bug me. The association has a rule that the pianist must play from original music, not photocopies, for the auditions. If a pianist fails to do this, the singer will be disqualified from the competition portion of the weekend and can only receive written comments.
Well, when a pianist is playing for up to ten different singers, what does that mean? It means a lot of things. It means the pianist...
- has to lug around all of the books and keep them organized (I had about 20 books one year) or they have to rely on the singers to remember to bring the books themselves (never a good thing.)
- has to deal with page turns.
- has to grapple with books that won't stay open on the piano, which can often be uprights, which don't make particularly good music stands
- has to transfer markings made in their own copies to the original music.
In other words, it's a whole lot of fussing around instead of doing the job that we like to do most...support our singers and play beautiful music.
OK, I'll stop for now. The reason I brought this up, actually, is because I came across the most wonderful haiku that a fellow collaborator, Billy Whittaker, wrote and posted on her wonderful blog, "Good Company." I believe it is written by Billy and I do believe she's been to NATS one or two times herself, judging from the haiku.
Dear NATS: your rules on
'original copies' means
I play with one hand.
Ha ha! Just reading it makes me feel better. And need I say more?
If you're interested in reading my earlier rant on this whole topic, feel free to read the post, "Copyright Law and Sheet Music - why it can wreak havoc for an accompanist/collaborator."