At our best, orchestras move in ensemble like a school of fish. We use sound to unfold stories. We are an amazing display of human coordination.
In that human coordination show I am a clarinetist.
Of course, orchestral musicians are more than just our instruments. I’m also an artist, a biracial Black man, a person interested in organizational design and culture, culture writ large, symbols and meaning. The list could go on for a while without getting personal.
I think orchestras will develop in interesting and creative ways as musicians bring more of themselves to their practice. I think there is opportunity for orchestras who design themselves for that. That’s one of the things I’ll be writing about. Exploring orchestras and what it means to be an orchestral musician.
The title: when my daughter was very young she started calling what I do ‘songworking’. I’m not sure where she came up with it, probably from being told ‘dad is working’ while hearing me practice. For a time, if you asked her what I did she would tell you her dad was a songworker.
I thought it was cute (of course) but I came to really appreciate the idea of songworking and being a songworker. It’s simple and helps keep me real in my practice as an orchestral musician.
A lot of my songworking is with sounds, in a concert hall. I’ll be songworking with words here – please join in.