The Solo Piano Curse

A few weeks ago I ran into a musician friend of mine.  He said, in good humor: “Donnelly!  Are you playing with any humans these days?”

This was bound to happen; I’m becoming known as the solo piano guy.

Of course, I’m not complaining; this was predictable.  But it confirms my inkling that this path is a risky one.  I’m really limiting my options.  I don’t get calls for gigs because 1) I don’t call other musicians for gigs, and 2) I’m known as the solo piano guy!  Catch-22….

It’s interesting to think about how other people may perceive you and how you’re contributing to that perception.  I’ve heard radio announcers refer to heavy players as ‘educators.’  Some pianists are better known as vocal accompanists, and others as trio players.  From an artist’s perspective this might not matter.  But from a practical perspective, it’s important to consider for the sake of one’s career.

On a positive note, pursuing solo piano this intensely has given me lots of freedom.  If I led a band and played as a sideman in other bands, I wouldn’t have time to write this blog, transcribe all these solos and contribute to the community in other ways.  Not to mention how easy it is to book tours and travel!

Maybe it’s not a curse; it’s more like a mixed blessing.  A curse implies that I want out!

I don’t want out quite yet.  Musically, I’m very satisfied and will be exploring solo piano indefinitely.  Practicality is the only thing that concerns me.  It’s the only thing that could hold me from exploring solo piano to my fullest capacity.

I’m confident it won’t be an issue in the long run; I have to be confident!

But time will tell!

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