At the Rye Festival

signing books at RyeUsually I take part in music festivals, so to be invited to a Literary Festival is an exciting change. Yesterday I was at the Rye Festival talking about music and musicians. In between readings and bits of talk, I played little piano pieces.

I’d been given one of those microphones which consists of a little box to be clipped to the belt (alas, I didn’t have one) with a wire leading to a lapel mike. Because I was going to be sitting down and playing the piano as well as talking, I decided that the box had to be clipped to the back of my waistband. Once it was in place, I was told not to switch on the power until my talk began, otherwise the audience would hear everything I said in the ‘green room’. So I switched it on, with some difficulty, just before I went on stage.

But then, when I sat down at the piano to play, I realised that the mike was picking up extraneous noises and disturbing the audience (possibly the lapel mike was knocking against a button as I played, though I didn’t realise that at the time). A couple of pieces later, someone stood up and asked if I could please switch the microphone off before I played the piano, then back on again when I continued talking. Easier said than done, because the off-on switch was a tiny little device on the box clipped at my back, and I was wearing a long tunic (see photo). I struggled un-elegantly with the switch for a while before deciding to unclip the whole box and just balance it on my lap as I played the piano. Then I held the box in my hand when I went back to the lectern to talk. If I continue with this talking + playing format, I’ll have to find a better solution to this problem.

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This entry was posted on Thursday 15th September 2011 at 9:29am and is filed under Books, Daily Life, Musings. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “At the Rye Festival”

  1. peter said on

    How large was the room, Susan? If not too large, your own natural voice, projected but not amplified, would surely have been fine.

  2. Susan Tomes said on

    Yes, it would have been easier if my unamplified voice had been enough, but I have a quiet voice and usually people tell me to ‘Speak up!’ I find that if I have to speak loudly, I’m in danger of losing my voice, so a microphone can be helpful.

  3. David said on

    You were very kind in saying nothing about the piano…… I wonder when last it had been throughly updated ( if ever)

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