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newsletter came out of my experiences dealing in a new culture and a new
history. The purpose of the newsletter
is to provoke serious thought about musical art. What is it? Where should it be going? In addition, what is going on in
Hi everyone, can you believe two weeks has past us all ready and we are into August. I had an interesting two weeks though: rehearsals, teaching, recording, record distribution, performance, website designing, picture taking, negotiations, club dinner, and music demonstration plus. The good news is I might soon be working full time in HK so I will get out of this nightmare for me in Shenzhen were all my employers think that they do not have to pay me. It is amazing how much trouble I can get myself in when it comes to money in this city. I cannot seem to get anything straight.
Oh, by the way I was accused of criticizing everything and being a selfish old man. Wow this is a heavy blow to my ego. By the way did I tell you that I am a critic and this is what a critic does are criticizing so please believe me when I say I am sorry about that if I hit a nerve? I say to myself should I say anything? Why should I care about the quality of life and society no one else cares? It seems that people just seem to care about their own little world and they could give a darn about other things.
Back to my CDS:Old Heaven dot com record store here in Shenzhen are selling my CDS.
They are selling my 19 CDS and marketing them. We had our first event this last week, but as usual I seem to get things messed up because I do not act like a policeman and go over every little detail, but here in China there are no laws when it comes to business it is a wild west show everybody shooting below the belt. I am wondering if I will ever be a professional and will I ever receive the amount of money I deserve.
Even when I did get paid they wanted a discount. What a joke….Jeff
I have eight business people who owe me money.
You know in the States I never had this problem only one person did not
pay me in my entire life and he was a drug addict and sleeping in his car so I
guess he was really down and out. So from my
background this is how I think about the people in this culture when they do
this to me. It is my background I am not from China. But my
employers in the States and
Please, if you are my friend and you want me to perform at your event please do not ask me to perform as a friend. I am a professional and expect some kind of professional fee. If you do not want to pay a professional please do not ask me I do not need to perform. I can do it all in my apartment it is enough for me and you are not doing me a favor either. Once we agree on a price I will expect ½ the money up front and the other ½ before the performance. This way everybody will be happy. If this does not suit your taste please do not get into my life I do not need it or do I need your money or help. Also, I do not teach English or go to English events without being paid. So many people ask me to teach English like I am not a professional musician and Shenzhen does not have much respect for music which it needs. I believe this city needs music teacher’s more than English teachers but I am the only one who thinks so. Everybody tells me Shenzhen is a cultural dessert but why doesn’t anybody do anything about it isn’t there any diversity here?
My friend Dennis tells me to relax. I am relaxing by writing this news letter!
The good news is I am getting into my recordings and I am working on an all folk jazz CD with fourteen songs on it and themes from China which I composed and arranged. I am using Latin, swing, and modern harmony to do all this.
I was asked a question by Ivy. Which of the 19 CDS do I like best? I said, “I like all of them because all this music spans my 45 years of performing since I was in the sixth grade and decided that I would be a composer and performer” The music covers songs from the 30’s to the present plus new songs I composed, harmony from the 40’s, 50’s 60’s 70’s 80’s to the present, rhythm from all the Latin, swing, modern, fusion, up tempo, ballads, etc. I hope this gives you and idea of what I am doing with my music. It is a combination of many styles of harmony, melody and rhythm. I am still trying to relate to the listener by not being too avant garde. I still just think about the music.
My other big problem is professionalism people just want to make money and not be professionals. It is such a sad state of conditions when I always have to fight for a professional performance and professional musicians to be next to me. This had been my biggest problem in Shenzhen is to find professional people to work with or professional students. Plus when it comes to art music people do not even know what that is and when they listen to it they want to put on the pop music right away.
I was at a local event and they wanted to listen to some of my music. I told my friend Jack that it is a real problem because bartenders control the sound equipment and their mentally is a real problem. I had to tell Jack three or four times to tell the bartender to do the right thing. Finally, I got so fed up I left the event I am not going to sit there and listen to pop music.
just created my first professional group here in Shenzhen. It is made up of me
on Woodwinds, Piano, Soprano and Baritone Voice. We do classical music, American Classical
Standards, Opera, Classical Chamber Music, Sonatas, Chinese Vocal Songs and I
perform jazz with my CDS. If you need a
real professional group of real professionals please contact me. It will cost you money though this is not a
free be like I have been doing this last year.
Are you up to it is my question.
We have a Chinese Composer in the group too plus my composition
abilities. We cross the cultural
barriers with this group? This is the first of its kind in Shenzhen or
I hoped you enjoyed this food for thought from my critic’s corner.
Greg Henry Waters
Artist of Music, Critic, and Raja Yoga Master
The same story as my story but from Jeff: Enjoy it is really interesting.
I can only say that I know exactly how you feel. Before I joined my current company I was a golf professional (I guess I still am actually). But for the last 5 years I almost refused to teach golf to anyone. I can explain it very easily….
When I lived in Shenzhen and was teaching golf on my own at several places I was up against the same things you are up against. I would often be asked to come over and take a look at a golf swing and I would oblige, because I was new in the country and figured that is what I should do to meet people and gather more business. After a couple of months of this I expected it all to pay off. Nope….instead it got worse. People would ask who the foreigner with the nice golf swing was, and the staff would say ‘he is the golf instructor’ and they would ask the staff to have me come over. I would always tell the staff to go back and tell them my fees and if they were interested I would come talk to them. They almost never were…..but they would still spend day after day hitting the same bad gold shots when if they would have just paid me some money I could’ve really helped them!
But I also had friends whom I would still at least talk with while at the driving range….otherwise I would go nuts you know! Inevitably I would end up teaching them and all their friends and instead of getting my fee, I would get a nice dinner and some beers…..like I didn’t drink and eat enough already! But never getting paid………
Even when I did get paid they wanted a discount. What a joke….
So that is why I hate teaching golf now….not that I hate it…I really enjoy it when it is for free and at my own leisure…..As soon as someone tells me they will pay me for lessons I tell them I am too busy. I don’t want to get back into that frame of mind again……
After I got more into management I had all kinds of big money guys ask me for advice in building and managing a golf course. I would be invited to their place, pegged with questions and then they would ask for a proposal from me. After the first detailed one that I gave…I never heard from them again! I think they took it and used it! After that I would always give the first tidbit of information and then give them a fee structure…..they would never call again….always wanting something for free!!!
Teaching English…that is funny too. People ask me to teach them English (many years ago….not anymore thankfully) and I tell them that it will cost money and they never call! Funny Place this China is….
But for all the bad things here I cant complain too much. China is a culture built on relationships…..no one forms a relationship here unless they see a benefit for them out of it. It will never change. If we live here we just have to accept that and try to find ways to be successful. China is beautiful and filthy all at the same time! You can use those terms to categorize everything from the landscape to the people to the government….But it is, what it is.
I found that after I stopped being so mad at everything I was able to find an opening into this place and find my niche here. It sounds like some things are starting to happen for the better for you and as long as you stick with it everything will find a way of working itself out.
I hope that this note finds you well.