Phil Woods on music

Sally Stevens
Tue Nov 9 00:43:10 EST 2004

Phil Woods on music

"Teaching jazz is like fattening frogs for snakes.  I don't teach, but I
tell kids at clinics what I'd do if I did teach at a university.  I'd
put them on a bus and paint the windows black, give them ugly uniforms
and 400 pieces of music out of order that need all sorts of doubling
(clarinet, oboe, flugelhorn).  I'd drive them around campus for 30
hours in circles, going nowhere.  Then I'd stop, everybody off, put on the
plastic uniforms, set up on a dark stage with no sound system or sound
man, tune up, call out a number 14791 ... Scramble to put your music in
order.  Al right, now put it all away, hang up your uniform, get back
on the bus and drive around in circles for another 30 hours.

"After a few days, I'd ask them: 'Now, who wants to make this their
life?'  You can save people a whole lot of trouble, because this is
what the music business is.  It's not about the music.  The music is easy!
It's all that other stuff.  To play with young energy is simple, but to
sustain a career in music takes a lot of dedication.  You may major in
Coltrane, but you gotta play Britney Spears on tour for a living."

Phil Woods
Downbeat - October 2004

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