One of the most important stages to present yourself as a musician today is the social media stage. It can gain you students and fans from all over the world, it’s free advertising for everything you have to offer, and it is a way to gain an audience in a part of the world before you have even arrived. Content creation thus becomes a very important aspect to your list of skills as a musician. This week we interviewed Denis Wick artist Buddy Deshler, on the motivation and process that was involved in creating his newest social media performance. -Mary Galime
MG: Why are you creating videos?
BD: I’m creating videos for a multitude of professional and personal reasons.
As someone that is moving their career forward, complacency is the enemy. I’m always interested in generating new content, whether it be videos, social media posts, blogs, etc. so I can challenge myself and stay if anything, relevant in today’s musical community.
This is an excuse to collaborate with some of my favorite people! Any chance you have to perform music with the incomparable Melody Quah is one to cherish. It’s difficult to decide what is more beautiful; her playing or her personality. I met Ambrose Tang during my time at Peabody and he is extremely skilled in the recording arts (both audio and video) in addition to being a fine trumpet player. Because he is also musician, Ambrose not only understands the musician’s design for video, but also the purpose. It’s a dream team!
While making videos/content is a great way to reach new audiences and market your name, I almost see it more as a way in which to connect and communicate with people from all over. Who knows where this video (like all others) will be seen and what people will think of it, but it certainly opens up the possibility of establishing contact with others.
MG: How long did you practice the music before you were ready to record?
BD: Weirdly enough this is not a super simple answer. I’ll go backwards: I was probably “seriously” practicing the piece for a few weeks off and on with all of my other travels and playing obligations, but I knew that I was going to make this video for a couple of months, so it stayed on my radar. However, I fell in love with this piece (especially the second movement) seven years ago and have probably listened to it over 50 times. So in a way you can say that I’ve been processing/studying this piece throughout my musical life.
MG: What are the most difficult parts of the recording process and how do you succeed?
BD: I found many! Hahaha! During the recording process, we want to be perfect, which really means we want EVERY little thing to be perfect like dynamics, articulations, tone, sound, color, interpretation, and so many more nuances, all the while sounding and looking “natural”. We become hypercritical to the point where we’re not sure what actually sounds “good” anymore. At least this is the case for me. I think it’s similar to trying a bunch of different types of coffee back to back to back. Eventually (and sooner rather than later), it’s difficult to decipher the differences or even what you want/prefer.
One solution I have found and recommend is to have other people in the booth/hall with you. This is an opportunity for fresh and unbiased ears. Lucky for me, I had Ambrose (a trumpet player), Eric (another engineer and trumpet player) and Melody (married to a trumpet player) there during the process. It’s like having a cheerleader and coach in the ring with you. Sometimes this means buying dinner or drinks for them but it’s certainly worth the expense!
Another difficult part is the stamina. After recording many takes, obviously you won’t be as fresh faced to produce the best result. Where will an ok run of a piece at 90% be compared to your best run at 60%? You will also have time limitations, either by how much you’ve reserved the space for or your pianist/engineers availability. It’s selfish to keep them for 6 hours just because your chops are tired.
How I deal with it is by taking appropriate breaks, (sometimes this is forced by my engineers haha). Even waiting 2 extra minutes between a take of a section can make a difference. Be patient, be calm, take 2.
MG: How will you utilize this new video?
BD: As far as right now, it’s for the same reason as to why I made the video in the first place; to connect with people and add to our plethora of musical resources as well as market myself as a musician. I can also see this being utilized by my mother to show her friends that ask “How exactly does your son make a living in music?”.
MG: What is your reward when the project is done?
BD: It sounds dumb but the reward is sharing it with people. Because of the internet and social media, we are flooded with inspiration, motivation, and more importantly, resources to utilize in our careers and musical lives. This video is just another drop in the ocean of resources now available for whomever wants or needs it.
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