I’m not sure if this originated with him or not, but the late, great Johnny Carson used to say something that, as a musician, still strikes a funny chord with me…so I thought I’d pass it along to you as well. Enjoy!
“The least spoken phrase in the English language is ‘That’s the banjo player’s Porsche.'”
Johnny Carson, king of late-night comedy
With apologies to Steve Martin and all of the other exceedingly talented banjo players out there who may also own Porsches.
This little nugget of humor came across my desk the other day and I just knew I had to share it. In one stroke, it manages to pick on both percussionists and conductors; the only thing it’s missing is a good-natured swipe at violists, pipers, or accordionists.
A musical director was having a lot of trouble with one drummer. He talked and talked and talked with the drummer, but his performance simply didn’t improve. Finally, before the whole orchestra, he said, “When a musician just can’t handle his instrument and doesn’t improve when given help, they take away the instrument, give him two sticks, and make him a drummer.” A stage whisper was heard from the percussion section: “And if he can’t handle even that, they take away one of his sticks and make him a conductor.”
It’s probably inevitable that the older we get, the more we think about regrets we may someday have about things we have, or haven’t, done. So as a Part-Time Musician (PTM)…how do we avoid those regrets?
Some time back, friend Robert DeMaine of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra shared this satirical story, courtesy of The Onion. Like most good humor, it has enough basis in truth to really make a person think. To me, it always seems to come back to this: don’t keep your music within you.
If you haven’t yet found *your* instrument, I’d encourage you to look for it. If you have, I’d urge you to play it. Music, like most gifts, is of little worth unless it’s shared…and once shared, it’s a gift to all – including you, the giver.
It may sound trite, but simple truths are just that. Think about it.
Friend and fellow trumpeter Stan Modjesky passed along a great clip that I felt must be shared with all. For anyone who has played in an ensemble, this is hilarious! And if you haven’t yet, it gives you something funny to look forward to.
Of course, not all gigs are like this. But just one time with a quirky conductor/bandleader/frontman and you’ll treasure those memories forever. Eventually, you’ll have a collection of them, and they make all the hours of scales, exercises, and etudes worth it…all by themselves.
Without further ado, here is Mr. Bean conducting a Salvation Army Band. Enjoy!
A fellow orchestra member (oboe/English horn) recently slipped me a joke shared with him by a violist friend and I just had to share it. In my extensive instrument humor research – oh yes, I even (especially?) research the humor – I noted there are two alternatives to the answer provided by the aforementioned violist…so I’ve included those as well. Enjoy!
Q: What are the differences between a violin and a viola? A1: The viola burns longer. A2: The viola holds more beer. A3: You can tune the violin.
I don’t make ’em up, folks; I just pass ’em along.