Dear Danny, what’s your routine at the moment?
Now my routine constantly changes in the last years because of the lockdown, but I’m very fortunate to have consistent work as a teacher!
Twice a week I lead online workshops for my First Call Bassist program, a six-month deep-dive for jazz bassists all over the world who wish to develop their listening abilities. I’m currently in my second round of the program and am loving it!
I’m also a Senior Lecturer of Jazz Ear Training, Theory, and Ensembles at the KUG in Graz, where I teach two days a week. The students are wonderful, motivated, and I really appreciate being back in the academic environment.
Otherwise, I continue to practice, listen to music, and hope for the gigs to return.
What’s particularly important for us all in these days?
Throughout the entire pandemic, I’ve found it necessary — more than anything else — to really protect my health. I went through a phase where I was feeling very helpless and angry about the lockdown situation, particularly as I couldn’t easily travel back to the US to visit family. It seemed like there would be no return to normalcy, the vaccinations were taking forever, and I felt like my voice wasn’t being heard. When the government told us we could go outside for “mental health walks,” I felt like it was a cruel joke. I would go outside and say “which direction will I walk in today? Left, right, straight, or behind?” My eating became poor, along with my attitude about everything.
Eventually, I hired a trainer and have spent the last 8 months doing sports and really taking care of myself. As I started to turn my health around, my attitude about everything — myself, the pandemic, my music, the arts — really improved. The process felt like climbing a mountain (and still does!), but I understand just how important it is that we take care of ourselves in this time. Everything in our life — our ambitions, our work, our relationships — is centered around our health.
New start, new beginning. What will be essential and which roles will art play?
To me, music has and always will fulfill a social function. It’s one of the best tools for building and sustaining community. At this moment, the social function is being challenged due to restrictions on personal contacts, travel bans, etc. Many of my closest friends live in other cities, who unfortunately I have been unable to because of cancelled tours. So, music is a tool meant to bring people together.
In a way, the pandemic was the great equalizer in the sense that all musicians — from those who tour full-time to those who play open-mic sets once a month — were equally impacted. We were all put into the same position. And yet, people are resilient, and we found a way to keep the music alive through online performances, remote recording, and social media. The social element — though restricted — continued to stay alive.
In the moments where it was possible to play for live audiences, the feeling on stage and from the audience was electric. Everyone in these moments understood the power of music and art, and I think when we make a full return to performing, the music will be even more powerful and energizing.
What are you reading?
I quite enjoy philosophies of education and curricular design. The last two books I finished were Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction by Ralph Tyler, and Curriculum Development in the Postmodern Era by Patrick Slattery.Currently, I’m reading Democracy and Education by John Dewey.
Which quote, input or text will you propose?
“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
Thank you very much for the interview, dear Danny, joy and success for your great music projects – all the best for you!
5 questions on artist:
Danny Ziemann, Musiker_Bassist
Fotos_1 Danny Rochester Jazz Festival with Jumaane Smith; 2 Tomas Flint Picture.
4.12.2021_Interview_Walter Pobaschnig. Das Interview wurde online geführt.