Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love the people I work with, and I love the copious amount of valuable information I have absorbed from them. In fact, I can confidently say that along with my fellow Dance Musicians, we have put in more dance hours than most dance students. Therefore, there are things that need to be aired. Things that I really shouldn't see, and things that shouldn't happen in a dance class. I'll start with the more serious matters first.
1) The Musician Does Not Exist
This is probably the
biggest issue I have with students, because it affects me directly.
First of all, I am a human being. I am not a part of a wall. I am not a
robot. I am not an iPod. I am not a machine. I am a real-life person
playing music for your dance class. Most schools that have a dance
program do not have the resources to pay for a live musician. So you are very lucky to be
able to attend a school that utilizes REAL people playing music for you. Please don't take us for granted. We deserve some respect.
is a list of things that I personally have experienced that proves that
my presence doesn't make one bit of difference to them.
a) The piano is furniture
I find the dancer's schtuff ALL OVER the piano, and piano bench, and
every available space around the piano. One time, I actually picked up a
student's "spread" and moved it across the room. She was so mad at me
that still to this day, refuses to walk up to the piano and thank me
like the rest of the class.
Oh, and yesterday, someone actually stuck GUM on the side of the piano.
b) Attitude (Behavior, not the position)
as a Dance Musician is to communicate with the teacher to get a tempo,
meter, and appropriate music for you. I write EVERYTHING down in class
in case we repeat the same thing in the next class. I know exactly what
I played. Not every Dance Musician does this. I do. I have gotten smartass remarks from a student when I was trying
to talk to the teacher as she was trying to figure out how to count a
certain phrase. I had a student in front of me telling me I'm
wrong. You know, I might be wrong, but I might also be right. It's not
your place to tell me that. It's also not your place to tell me I'm going too fast or too slow. Please tell the teacher, and have the teacher tell me. That's how it works. So I don't want you snapping your fingers in front of me. It's annoying. And RUDE.
I've also gotten
countless eyerolls, the "What a bitch!" under-the-breath whispers when I
nicely ask people NOT to stand in front of me. This has happened in
almost all the schools I have played for. There has only be ONE time
where I didn't mind the look-of-death from a dance student. The only
reason why she got away with it, was because she was 8, and she was so darn adorable. But for the rest of you, you're an adult. Act like it!
c) Sh*t Dancers Say
Are dancers not aware that I am there and I can hear them?
"I hate it when so-and-so plays for our classes because so-and-so plays the same thing over and over again. Sooo boring!"
"This teacher is soooo mean to me! She can be such a bitch sometimes!"
"She keeps telling me I need to pull my spatulas together. I can't find my SPATULAS!!"
And my favorite:
"OMG! I totally didn't do my Doodie-Duty this morning. I feel soooo bloated!"
d) The Ballet Wall
Please Read On...
2) The Ballet Wall
I guess this is no longer a
secret. I have a collection of photos I have taken since 2010 of dancers
forming a wall in front of me. This all started when I got tired of
saying, "Excuse me!" or "Please don't stand in front of me." or
"Mooooooove it!" with no result. I just threw my hands up in the air and
said to myself, "That's it! I'm done being nice! I'm taking a picture
of the wall, and posting it on Facebook." If my dance friends see the
pictures, they tell their fellow dancers what I do when I play for their
classes, and behold, the wall is gone. Most of the time.
of the awesome teachers I work with actually tell their students, "A
picture of your behind ends up on Facebook when you form a wall in front
of Becca!" The wall quickly parts like the Red Sea. Most of the time.
3) Boys with no dance-belts
For non-dance people, you might be asking: What is a dance-belt? It's a jock-strap for dance. A sports bra for men. It essentially keeps your huevos in a basket. 'Nough said.
Luckily, this hasn't been much of an issue for me anymore since I no longer play at community colleges where you get random members of the community taking classes. I had one old man who sported a tight unitard with no dance-belt, who would come up to the piano, and throw his leg onto the piano to stretch. His ::cough:: would be right in my face. Gross. After asking him nicely to please do not use the piano as a barre because it's a musical instrument. Mr. Old-Unitard would repeatedly swing his ::cough:: in my face, I finally yelled at him one day and I don't feel bad about it.
Then a couple of years ago while working at an university, I can only assume this poor kid forgot to do his laundry or he ran out of dance clothes on a Friday. He waltzed into class with no dance-belt, and wearing bright yellow tights. That year, it happened too many times with too many male students, at that specific school.
Okay people, you need to understand this. I am sitting. I'm at ::cough:: level. Please be mindful of this, and show up with support.
I can only imagine that dancing without a dance-belt probably feels a little bit like doing Shawn-T's Insanity without Lululemon's Tatatamer, in fact...without ANY bra.
Finally, this whole entry was brought on today because I heard the b-word being passed from one person to the next when I kindly ask them not to stand in front of me. I can only take that for so long. These are little things that the teacher don't always see because he/she is busy TEACHING. Please have some consideration and show a little appreciation for your Dance Musician. She really loves her job, and takes it very seriously. In fact, she looks forward to going to work everyday, and seeing all you beautiful dancers doing beautiful work. Please be nice, and take 5 seconds out of your busy dance schedule and thank the musician playing for your class. Not just me. But for ALL my fellow colleagues. We all take pride in what we do, and sometimes we simply want to be acknowledged. And please boys, put your huevos in a basket.