Thursday, April 19, 2012

Musical Frustrations....

So I had a situation happen to me the other day that seriously pissed me off. Normally when things make me upset I can brush it off or at least take a breath, refocus and make lemonade out of lemons. This situation that happened though keeps pissing me off every time I think about. So I am going to express myself via my blog so other people don't have the same thing happen to them OR THAT PEOPLE DON'T DO THIS TO OTHER PEOPLE....

Many of you know I am a pianist. I accompany soloists quite frequently. It is an easy way for me to make a couple extra bucks. I generally need a couple hours of practice and then I am good to go. Now accompanying is not the same as playing a solo - it requires different techniques. You need to be able to follow along, take cues from the soloist, keep going if you mess up, and be able to keep up with the soloist if THEY mess up. In some ways it is trickier than what the soloist is doing because it is up to you to make sure it goes smoothly...kind of a lot of pressure. Plus, you don't want to be messing up or taking away from the soloist. I am a good accompanist. It takes work.

My accompanying fee is $50. That includes a one hour rehearsal and an hour for a performance. Most performances are less than that, but that would include any rehearsal time beforehand or something. My fee is very average and definitely worth it for what I can do. I accompany any instrument or vocal solo and can do beginner to very advanced music. It takes work.

So about three and a half weeks ago I get a call from this kids dad wondering if I can accompany his son who is playing a trumpet concerto in the State Solo Competition. I said, "Sure, be sure to get me the music as soon as possible because I know that piece is very fast and pretty difficult." He said, "Of course! I'll get it to you as soon as I can!" Well, two and a half weeks later I still didn't have the music. The performance is next Saturday. I called him this last Monday and said, "Hi, I don't have the music." Normally I charge $20 more for music received less than two weeks before the performance because it means I have to bust my butt and really push to learn it perfectly in that time frame. Plus, I don't know what people are expecting?? The soloist takes MONTHS to learn their piece and they play one note at a time - I am playing a full orchestra rendition and you give me a WEEK? Seriously? Don't expect much...ha!

Anyway, he tells me he can't find the music (this is the dad btw) and can't I get a copy of it myself? I tell him that is not my responsibility and if they don't have it at my work he needs to find a copy and get it to me TODAY. Luckily my work had it. It cost $10.50 which is normal for a concerto piece. I call him back and tell him and he scoffs, "$10?? Well...I guess I can pay you back." Uh...heck yes you will. I don't want to keep this music - what am I supposed to do with a trumpet concerto? Seriously? So then I ask him what day and time his son wants ot rehearse. I am available Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. He says he will call me back. He also then tells me that the performance is at Lone Peak High School at 11:18ish. I say "okay, I will be there at 11:00." He says, "You really should be here at 10:30." I tell him "Okay, but I charge more if I'm there for more than an hour." He scoffs again, "Seriously? Fine. Be here at 11:00." Stupid guy. Keep in mind that I am supposed to be working at 10:00 so already I am missing two hours of work...probably three.

So I hang up the phone, totally annoyed that this guy is being such an ass. Then I mapquest where the school is. IT IS 40 MINUTES AWAY!!!! ONE WAY!!!! It's going to take me 80 MINUTES OF TRAVEL TIME AND $20 IN GAS! Are you kidding me?!?

So I call the guy back and this is how our conversation goes:

"Hi, I didn't realize the school was 34 miles away. I need gas compensation. It is going to cost me $20 in gas. I'm adding that to my fee, and you owe me $10 for the music. So we are looking at $80. I'm not charging you for my time in travel."

*laugh rudely* "Oh? Well where did you think the school was?"

"I'm not from around here. I am from California. I don't know the area super well. I figured the STATE competition would take place in the capitol. Somewhere close to downtown."

"Well, you were going to have to drive SOMEWHERE so I'll pay half your gas."

"Excuse me?"

"Yeah, if you thought it was downtown that still was going to make you drive at least 10 miles. So I'll pay half your gas."


*hangs up*

So here is an analysis of the situation:

Fee: $50
Gas: $10
= $60
-$10 in gas.
-four hours of work (not including any potential sales I could have made with commission)

= $-2

I am losing money on this stupid accompanying thing and the guy is totally taking advantage of me. I am pissed. The only reason I don't tell him to screw himself and the horse he rode in on is because I feel bad for the kid. If I flake - he has no one to accompany him and he has to withdraw from the competition. Just because the dad is a total doucheface doesn't mean the kid now I'm just mad. Oh, and he still hasn't called me back with a rehearsal time next week. I'm tempted to tell him "no" to whatever time he suggests just to be a jerk. *sigh*

Cut me a freaking break here.