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The Singer as Secretary, Day 73 (12 of 25)

April 30, 2010

Currently, I scan music in for an upcoming recital, listening to the new squeaking sound of my five-year-old Dell All-in-One Printer.  As a joint recital, requested later in the scheme of our upcoming concert to perform for the company’s donors, last minute details, decisions, and requests arrived as late as yesterday, including an email asking for pdf scans of my music.  Of course, I could also mail the music, which would also require scanning, printing, and mailing, none of which I have too terribly much time to accomplish given that the actual recital occurs in less than two weeks.

On the average day, I love not having a day job.  Today, I practiced for hours, exercised for hours, worked on my repertoire and had dinner with one of my friends visiting me from out of town.  Sounds relaxing and wonderful, right?  I do what I love, but I work hard without often seeing large monetary rewards.  After a full day of practice and exercise, I exerted myself physically far more than I ever did as a temp or administrative assistant, and I used my intellect just as much, though perhaps in different ways.  At the end of this long day, I have to work as my own secretary, with equipment and software so old and outdated I most certainly would have complained to my boss if I could.

For those of you who think I over-exaggerate, I scan each individual page into my five year old laptop via my five year old scanner and edit them in Adobe Photoshop 5.0, in order to save each page as a Photoshop pdf.  Why?  Because I can’t afford Adobe Photoshop Pro right now.  Then, I downloaded the first version of a freeware product called pdfhelper which, though not very user friendly, worked rather well to merge my individual pdf pages into one document per aria.  Thankfully, I also managed to find some free software to help convert one of the recordings a friend sent me to study in an incompatible format for my ipod.  Oh, and my scanner now has a lovely squeaking sound to it, as of today.

My sincerest apologies to all of my singer friends who try to maintain an image of the opera singer as an always glamorous, elegant, and solely artistic endeavor.  Perhaps if one has found a way to save her money from her family, her awards, her luck and hard work, a wealthy significant other, or the lottery, she can outsource all of her cares to a personal assistant.  Most singers I know tear their hair out even with the work they do in spite of their agents, publicists, or themselves.  Perhaps one day I will have solid enough finances to match my talents with the quality of my equipment, software, gowns, and stylists.  In the meantime, I lose a little sleep, add some extra steps, buy my dresses and jewels on sale, and work as hard as I can to get the jobs I deserve while performing them extraordinarily well.

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