Welcome to "The Working Thereminist" forum!
I started this forum for folks who are putting themselves out there (or aspiring to) in public performance in hopes of earning a living (or at least a portion of one). Here, we'll discuss tips for building your audience, getting gigs, getting your music heard, etc.
Jason wrote: I started this forum for folks who are putting themselves out there (or aspiring to) in public performance in hopes of earning a living (or at least a portion of one).
Unfortunately, no one has ever been able to earn a living strictly from playing the theremin. There have been, and continue to be, thereminists who tour continuously all over the world (in the tradition of Lucie Bigelow Rosen) but these are artists with the means to subsidize their travels out of their own pockets, and whose love of the instrument usually surpasses their level of skill.
Lucie Rosen used to say that she was introducing the theremin to people who may never have heard it, and were unaware of its existence. That might have been true sixty or seventy years ago, but with the coming of the internet and public access websites you can hear and see Clara Rockmore with the click of a mouse.
I always sound like such a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to theremin performances - particularly in a forum that is the birthplace of "WORLD THEREMINIZATION", where it is generally believed that it's all GREAT and any theremin exposure is good theremin exposure.
The truth of the matter is that a bad theremin performance only confirms the general belief that the theremin is not to be taken seriously, and that it is a failure as a musical instrument. The question all precision thereminists should ask themselves is as follows: "If the performance I just gave on the theremin had been sung, or given on a traditional instrument, how acceptable would it have been".
I feel like Shakespeare's poor old King Lear, naked, out on the heath, raging against the storm! (LOL)
You keep us honest, @coalport, and stick-in-the-mud or not, we need that!
Keep in mind though, nobody had run a 4 minute mile either. If anyone's going to do it, I hope our community can help them in some way.
I don't want folks to get too hung up on the "making a living" part of the forum description though. There's plenty for us to discuss related to being a "working thereminist", even if not a "life supporting thereminist".
I often find tips and tidbits on the web for things that would be of interest to any performing professional musician. I don't think many of those really deserve front-page billing, but they're still interesting to our community (e.g. the Tumblr thread in this forum). I have some other site features in the works that might eventually replace the need for this forum, but until I can get them online - and you all know that could be a long time :) - this will have to do.
I see this sub forum as a place to go for thereminists and share places they have performed at and maybe put a review of the venue for us to read and maybe what to expect when it comes to set up etc. Also, if someone is looking for a thereminist for their own music work can post that here... The sky isthe limit (sort of) :)
I think this forum is a good idea - for me the ", if someone is looking for a thereminist for their own music work can post that here... " is the most interesting.
From a developers perspective, the ability to have moderate-to-good thereminists, specialising in different genre, who could play with ones newly developed instruments and give critical feedback, and who could play listenable demonstrations of the instrument once it is good enough, for you-tube videos etc, would be useful.. I also think that impartial feedback is more likely when employing someone than if some friend who can play the theremin well gives it.
There are only a handfull of really good thereminists - I would want any new theremin I developed (particularly if targeting the Pro market) to have run the gauntlet of a number of competent thereminists before submitting the theremin to a real Pro (like Peter or Lydia)..
But there are many theremin manufacturers who really need a competent thereminist to play their instruments.. Mostly we hear some developer "playing" in a way which causes mild nausea at best.. (we have even heard Moog "demonstrators" making the instrument sound like a squeeky pet toy being stood on!)
This must surely be an oppertunity for competent thereminists - Approach these manufacturers, and offer to play the instrument for a fee or a royalty based on increased sales..
Next time I visit this forum I hope it will be as a potential customer / client requiring services of a working thereminist.. I certainly have no other justification for showing my face here! ;-)
I recently had a film crew here doing another documentary on my work with the theremin. They interviewed me at a restaurant in my neighborhood. They talked to the owner, and managed to set up a gig that night for me, which they filmed. Now the restaurant has extended me an open invite to return whenever I want to. I'm one of those who is too shy to do a cold walk in intro, but that film crew kind of showed the way, I gures.
@scottburland. I very likely could do with help in gig snagging.
Oh, the restaurant was Petra's Cafe, a Greek / Mediterranean place that also has hookahs :)