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Topic: Live Music with your stage act
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Dec 11, 2005 08:44AM)
In an earlier post, some Café members were looking at an "old" video from the 60s.


What it brought to mind for me was the lack of live music in our shows today. I still use a live drummer whenever possible. Adding a keyboard is a real luxury.

Most of the young guys don't even know what an orchestra pit is. To me it actually changes the class of the show. However, "Bob's music on disk" is as inferior as any of the others, but I use it. It's progress?

How many of you miss the real music?

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: dark kard (Dec 13, 2005 08:21PM)
When we do musicals in our school we work with a live pit orchestra and some problem arise. When you work with a cd it's the same every time without fail. When working with the pit orchestra they never do it exactly the same every time since notes could be forgotten and que's could not be heard. I agree that in any kind of show a live band whould be great but it needs a lot of work to get in sync with them and it's expensive to hire musicans.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Dec 13, 2005 09:55PM)
Dark Kard,

True, CDs can't change. However, I grew up working with professional musicians and in recording studios. Their counting is absolutely perfect always. (That is not to be confused with pop groups.) Plus, a live drummer can go a long ways toward driving the audience. Pro performers in the orchestra pit do read the audience and change the timing to take advantage of the audience reaction. They also change volume appropriately. CDs can't do that. Another advantage of a truly professional production is that the lighting crew can key off the music. It can be very dramatic!

I do use CDs and prefer them to poor musicians. Most pros are fantastic.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Dec 21, 2005 12:15PM)
I wish someone employ me to do live music for their magic act.

the last person I played live music for what a smart ass rabbit
that goes by the name "lefty". He wasn't such a smart ass when
his brother "righty" was in the show.

I have scored and performed live music for theatrical productions
and there is a sense of luxury and a nice touch that is given
for these types of shows.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Dec 23, 2005 11:59PM)
Back when I used to do a cards-and-doves act (in the early 70's) I always used live music. It didn't start that way by design, but that's how it ended up. I loved it. It gave me tons of flexibility to adjust my pacing to the audience and drive them in the direction I wanted.

I would always sit down with the musician(s) before the show and go over my cue sheet and where I wanted them to do what: stop when this happens, start when that happens, play soft, play loud, play fast. I remember a pianist I had at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara who was absolutely fantastic; she caught right on to what I was doing and went with it and looked and sounded like she was enjoying every second of it. Of course, when my turn was over I went over and shook her hand, and the audience picked up on that too.

For my money, if I ever get into performing again, I'll go with live music.
Message: Posted by: Cpontz (Jan 1, 2006 08:06AM)
My wife plays the piano and we plan on working an act up together sometime. I'm glad to see other magicians also like the live music.

Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jan 1, 2006 08:55AM)
If I'm working as a strolling performer at a large party that has live music, whether it's a full band after dinner or just a piano player during the cocktail hour, I always try to find a good spot near the musician(s) to perform a silent act to the music.

I don't work it out beforehand with the band, I just do it improvisationally, selecting whatever prop feels right with the music being played. Often the musicians pick up on what I'm doing and we fall into a groove. I just love it when I end a routine at the same time they finish a piece. Invariable it catches the attention of the audience and results in a good round of applause. Then I silently move on to another spot to perform.

It's often the highlight moment of the gig for me.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 17, 2006 09:59PM)

I totally agree. Experienced musicians are very savvy at supporting the act on stage. Use them!

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: David Charvet (Jan 25, 2006 04:05AM)
One of the joys of working on cruise ships was the luxury of having a live band to back up the act. I remember working the S.S. Norway for Larry Kram's "MagiCruise" in 1989 and there was a 17 piece orchestra in the pit of the ship's theater - and the conductor had been Harry Blackstone Jr.'s conductor for his Broadway show. Yes, that orchestra quickly learned how to play a magic show!
I was performing my re-creation of Jack Gwynne's vaudeville act and I had all of the original orchestrations. The guys in the band got a kick out of playing those old charts, and it was a real thrill to hear that music really come to life. Made me think vaudeville was back for a few minutes.
There's nothing better than working to a live band who knows what they're doing! Sadly, most "casual" show budgets don't allow the luxury of live show music. Pity.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 30, 2006 07:58PM)
As an old agent and manager I can tell you that in the economics of it, is that good musicians work for a fraction of what common magicians can earn. I at least use a live drummer for theater stage shows. The hay day of live musicians earning extraordinary incomes is long gone. If you will investigate it you will find that your grips and truck drivers earn much more than musicians today. Don't sell yourself short. Consider using live music.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander