What Jazz Musicians Teach Me About Wedding and Party Music

by Robbie Schlosser · 4 comments

Thanks in advance for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas. I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation. Tell me what you think, and I'll reply. Promise.

Jazz musicians come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.  Skills, talents, and personality disorders.  And it’s often with the last quality that jazz musicians teach me the most about wedding and party music.

It’s just my opinion, of course, but I feel that if I’m in business to entertain people, my top priority ought to focus on delighting everyone.  Sure, it’s also nice to show off and astonish each other and ourselves, but self-indulgence is NOT the main goal, as far as I’m concerned.  However, it takes all kinds…

Magnolia Jazz Band in Richmond,  2010Jazz musicians populate my life.  I’ve been one for many years, and these days many of my best colleagues are jazz musicians.  Here we are, sharing a joke with a guest at a recent party in Richmond, CA.

And some of my worst colleagues are jazz musicians, too.  Mercifully, all THOSE associations have come to an end.

Looking around, now, I can appreciate that I’ve learned important lessons from the very best, the very worst, and nearly everyone in between.

I mean “best” or “worst” in terms of being bandsmen entertaining people at weddings and parties.  That’s where it’s at, for me.  I realize many jazz musicians measure the world with other criteria, so they’ll make different judgements.

In my opinion, the best colleagues play first for the sake of the people we entertain, second for the sake of the band, and third for the sake of their own glory.  The best jazz musicians teach me that doing a perfect job for our clients is the main thing.

Of course, our clients appreciate the mood our music creates, but they’re mainly concerned that their celebration is perfect.  And that becomes our focus, as well.

On the other hand, I wish I could understand why some jazz musicians go through life nursing a fragile Ego.  Their narcissism makes them angry, arrogant, bullying, jealous, and selfish.  Do you know people like this?

They might be outstanding players, but they don’t aim to please their clients and they’re a colossal pain to work with.  Over the course of my life I’ve occasionally worked with a few people so afflicted.

They’re dedicated soloists, regarding the rest of the band as a “picture frame” to show off their dazzling virtuosity.  A trombonist friend once explained that it’s their chance to “exercise their cool”.

Working with them is pretty awful, and each time, I learn pretty much the same lesson.  And I leave wondering why in the world they don’t try to fix their problem.

Well, they probably wonder why I don’t try to fix MY problem.

YOUR turn.  What do your best and worst colleagues teach YOU?

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Thanks for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas here. Got one or two? I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation -- I'll reply. Promise.

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Meanwhile, the Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at weddings and parties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are ever nearby, you’ll love catching us in action, seeing and hearing us create a great mood.

How can I help you? Call 408-245-9120 or use Robbie@MagnoliaJazz.com. Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.

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Artists can be curious folks! But of course challenging personalities exist in all professions. The colleagues I’ve had who’ve been most challenging tend to be very rigid in thinking, whereas I enjoy people who can consider ideas from different perspectives. I also like people who are confident enough to explore their mistakes, and I try to be that way myself.

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Judy.
As always, your response is thoughtful and penetrating. And doubly interesting when you realize that each of us is rigid and insecure in some ways, while confident and flexible in others. Each of us bears our own collection of angels and demons everywhere we go, as Vicki reminds us this week.

Cassandra Van Hout

I am currently a student, but I appreciate my peers that do their share of the work. I have had many group projects where a lot of the burden was placed on 1-2 people. It is even worse if someone doesn’t show up without any notice as to why they are absent. This has been my main issue with working in groups. : /

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Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Cassandra, I know what you mean!  It’s frustrating to serve on a team that lacks teamwork.  But when everyone cooperates fully, the experience can be thrilling.  So we always strive, hoping for the best.

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