monkey for hire@yyz, 2010-11

it's september; even more so than december, as a former student (i often would like to continue to be a student), the return from the summer break to another new calendar is very exciting and often emotional.  i suppose it's even more so because i have not really left the school calendar yet.  last year in banff, the year is structured in similar manner.  most of my work is not so far from university currently.  last year this time, i was thinking that by september 2010, i will be settling in a new place.  alas, with the luck of the draw, i am still waiting.

though i have been living in canada since i was twelve, i still carry a korean passport.  while i was in high school and undergrad program, i never seriously thought about changing my passport as at such age, one tends to be a little bit ignorant about the political responsibility as a citizen.  the only difference between a landed immigrant and a citizen of canada is that i could not run for a govt office position or vote.  and by the time i have decided to go to the states for graduate school, in conjunction with the u.s. student visa and other documents, it was not possible to continue school and get the papers switched.  so last spring, i finally got my stuff together and applied.  the initial projection was that i would receive my papers by now, however, with missing bits (apparently they sent me a supplementary form which i did not receive), no one really knows.  they keep telling me that the papers are in process. at this point, i wonder if the govt officials would have made good cheese makers, as there are only certain things that would get better with endless wait.  like cheese.  i dont like waiting for papers. however, i do enjoy old cheddar.  just a thought.

it's not a personal thing, i am sure, however this paper delay is really putting a damper on my life at the moment, as i need to be present here to follow it up.  so until then, i will remain in this somewhat weird abyss around the atlantic ocean while what i would really like is to relocate to europe and see what happens. bah.

so couple days before my summer ended, i made an executive decision of a sort.  why just 'a sort?' well, because it really isnt my decision, but more of how the things are flowing at the moment.  i will be playing for one of the university's courses (which i would really like), and since i am already on the conservatory and univ piano monkey list, i will remain mostly in canada for this academic year, save the odd trips across the puddle. yep. utoronto is still running year-long schedules for some courses. i will be contracted till end of spring.  at least i like the work (playing reductions for conducting class. this is a very particular thing to do as a piano monkey)

i am not saying my life is difficult. in fact, it's pretty cushy.  i am not playing as much as i would like, but then it's partially my fault (for not promoting and advertising more diligently) and partially the fact that people often have to wonder where i would be physically in any given moment.  doing piano gigging is like any other freelancing: you need to find a niche and plug yourself in the area. with constant scurrying, i am surprised at times that i get any gig at all.  also dislike of teaching (because teaching would imply that i need to stay put.  you wont even leave your pet with a random person, nevermind forming a teacher-student relationship) adds to the additional lack of work, as most freelancer musicians depend heavily on teaching income and/ or church gigs, which i tends to run away as far as i can most of the time (i worked as a church organist for eight years and the enormous pressure of saturday night in anticipation of sunday morning services are burnt too vividly in my head still).

and i still manage to travel and play a bit (if you know of anyone who needs a pianist in toronto, let them know that monkey's going to be around this year!), take on various works, some of them even be interesting and rewarding.  and i am well-supported, mentally and physically.  so really. i do have it nice.

perhaps it's the dissatisfaction that i did not get to choose what i will be doing this year.  i mean, yes, i did have a choice to not to take any serious work and sit around till my papers come (or cows, may be even cheese in this case), but practically, that's not a choice at all.

one needs to be responsible for one's own life and identity.  one needs to take care of one's physical needs (house, food, bills to pay, etc), but simply doing that isnt enough.  let's not forget that i am not the most practical being to begin with.  no practical person would become a musician voluntarily.  one is either lacking in choice (the 'cant help it but to do music' brood), or one is mistaken ('yes, i couldve been a concert pianist, but...' brood).  much like what they say 'calling' in church to become a clergy member, or even cursed.  at one point, bookbomber and i talked about the things one often tells in visiting music classes: do feel free to pick another occupation as music does not need to be your occupation.  if one wants guaranteed success, being a musician wont get you there.  one can still enjoy music as a hobbyist or enthusiast, while still taking care of the practical needs of life by  taking a practical occupation.  and even when one does decide to follow this path, it just aint so nice as it looks initially.  there are more failures than the world cares to admit.  how many music students graduate in the world every semester? where do they all go?

anyways, not to be depressing, i am a musician (partially at least) and i need to find work for this academic year.  not only it brings satisfaction, work = income.  i need to make some money.  one cannot live on aspirations and hope alone.  i dont like the idea of being a financially dependent on others. i also like to take pride in my work.  i cannot take pride of my work if i dont do any!

so this money business, in multiple context, is a bit stressful at the moment.  i tend not to think about this particular subject as it is much more frustrating and depressing, even when one takes the practical context completely out of it.  i want to be busy and wanted. and do good honest work. as most people do.

may be i should go back and work at starbucks or something. or may be i should take a more relaxed stance and apply for welfare. or perhaps i should go listen to some music and take a chemical holiday for the night. but dont worry world, otherwise, i am fairly happy.  i am healthy (though there have been bouts of unhappy digestive issues with no particular reason at all; i bet it's just the old psychosomatic crap) and i am loved. i do have friends who i consider dear and i occasionally even have some work to do.  it is just that- it seems so long ago that i was working hard, fast and furious.  moving around as much as i do, it's impossible.

so yyz, i am here to stay for the majority of the academic year. send me some musicians to play with/for.  give me some clues about potentially engaging projects. i will get on the damned posters and name card distribution (at this point i think prostitutes do a bit better as they usually have pimps to do this).  and god bless me with a bit of sanity (now im calling upon deity rather than taking own responsibility- how low am i going to go?), and let me be sane.  come, academic year 2010-11. bring on the challenge. im waiting.  let me see how rich i can be- financially and mentally.  at least i like music. pah.

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