I am wondering how those of you who play in more casual venues handle the folks who come over and want to talk way more than the usual brief conversation about the harp or the music, etc. When I’m playing at my restaurant job, it is rarely a problem, and when it is, I usually just say something about needing to get back to my playing and it’s fine – it seems to happen more at my job at University Hospital where I work Tuesdays in the main lobby from 2:30 to 4:30 and on Fridays (also 2:30-4:30PM) where I float on a regular schedule over 12 floors of assorted units from Emergency Room lobby to Dialysis to ICU’s, etc.
Its a difficult one isn’t it and what you should do probably depends on an extent to the type of show you are playing. Of course in a concert situation I’m sure most people would understand that its inexcusable, so what you are talking about here really are background music gigs. If its background music that you are playing, I think that its ok to stop mid piece and talk to the people. You can bring the piece to a graceful halt or just stop mid note if you want to make it clear to the person that is interupting that is exactly what they are doing, interupting.
Myself, I can handle a fair bit of conversation and still keep playing. If its persistant and intense conversation I just stop. I try not to get annoyed about it, I figure I am still providing entertainment but in a different way. If there are a number of people hanging around obviously waiting for me to play I will close the guy down (and it usually is a guy) sooner rather than later.
Pretty girls can interupt all they want and I’m not particularly fazed.
Can’t help with the cell phone thing sorry, thats just rude.
“Since I’m not comfortable discussing my age with strangers, and I was raised to view it as a rude question, I answer with “old enough to have been playing for 21 years.””
A good response.
I’m reminded of the first time I ever met Patrick Ball. I said to him, completely without thinking, “wow, I’ve been listening to your albums
David, you’re right, harpists put up with this disrespect on a regular basis, but it is impossible to imagine the dad encouraging his toddler to, say, yank an oboe out of someone’s mouth and start blowing into it “to see what kind of sound it makes.”
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