The glamorous world of professional musicians?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bloomin Untidy Musician, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

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    I seen a wonderful BBC television documentary showing behind the scenes of the Berlin Philharmonic last week. As well as showing the interesting way in which the BPO is run, it interviewed many of the musicians upon their thoughts and feelings about professional working life. The program demystified and brought a very open and honest perspective upon a world which many amateur musicians aspire to and sometimes glamourize. For me it highlighted some interesting issues about world class musicianship which i had never thought about before.

    Firstly playing in an orchestra with so many "big personalities."

    The feeling of isolation and critical (sometimes bitchy) ears when a new person is on trial.

    The feeling of isolation and critical (sometimes bitchy) ears when you don't feel as though you are at the same level as your colleagues.

    The fact that it never gets any easier when you rise to that top level. Some of the musicians stated that they found it more difficult maintaining the BPO level of musicianship, than actually becoming a professional musician and getting into the BPO.

    The fear that a conductor feels (in this case Simon Rattle) when trying to harness and exploit the massive potential of a bunch of big personalities. Indeed ego-centric by there own admissions.

    My questions to you are:

    What is/was the most pressurized situation that you have had to face as a professional musician?

    How did you deal with it?

    What things do find most difficult about being a professional musician?


    Sorry for the gloomy questions.

    Nanoo Nanoo


    Esquire B.U.Musician
     
    MJ likes this.
  2. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Hi Bloomin,
    Thanks for the questions. I wouldn't say that they are really gloomy, just inquisitive. Here are some answers that I hope can help a bit.
    I wouldn't say there is one time that stands out to me as far as pressure goes. Of course there is pressure involved, but I try to put that second to making music. About a year or so ago there was a thread on a different trumpet website about this kind of question. I'll paste what I wrote on that website here.

    (There was a time right before playing Bartok Concerto for Orchestra when I turned to Jim Spragg who plays second here in Toronto and I asked him if it felt hot on stage. His answer was, "not where I'm sitting." I don't believe that was true, but it was a very good line.

    While it's true that there is pressure to play well I always try to keep in mind what it is that I'm really doing. Doc Severinson told me once that our jobs as musicians were great because we got to "play". He meant that in the most true sense of the word. Like playing a game of catch, or pickup football when you were a kid. Every time I go out on stage I think about the other things I could be doing with my life and I feel very lucky. That's not to say that there isn't pressure, there is, but it's worth it!

    I had a friend in San Francisco who went home after a concert and was complaining about the orchestra and the concert. His wife who worked in real estate said, "that's too bad for you, but when I got off work no one clapped for me." We're are lucky people. No matter the risks I would choose no other life.

    All this is to say that while there is pressure and there are bad weeks, in the grand scheme of things life will still continue to go on. Your dog will still love you if you miss a note.

    For what it's worth I'm on tour right now and I just got back from the bar after having a few too many so if some of this doesn't make sense forgive me. You see the thing is we played Sibelius 2nd and I missed a couple of notes. I hope that my dog still loves me...

    Andrew )

    I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about it. I will say this last thing. I love this job. It's worth the nerves and every thing that goes with it.

    Best,
    Andrew
     
  3. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

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    Thanks Andrew, you are true gentleman. Thanks for being so open and honest.
     
  4. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

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    Great post Andrew! Thanks!
     
  5. Joe DiMonte

    Joe DiMonte Mezzo Forte User

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    Dear Andrew:
    I was following your post and nodding my head in agreement until I came to your penultimate paragraph which reads: " Your dog will still love you if you miss a note."

    This old dog would bark at those you miss a note and conclude that one had failed to prepare.
    As you know,those who fail to prepare,prepare to fail !

    Please consider that the 'customer' is always right and the 'old school' paying customers shuns mediocrity in the PUBLIC sphere.
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    YES.....WE....ARE.....ROBOTS......BUT....WHEN...WE....ARE.....ASKED....TO.....DO......TASKS.....THAT.....ARE.....PAST....THE....RANGE.....OF.....WHAT.....WE.....CAN......BEND.....THE......PITCH.....OR.....GUESS....THE....TIME.....THEN....IT.....DOES.....NOT.....COMPUTE! SPLATT!.....SYSTEM.....OVERLOAD!!!!!
     
  7. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    YES.....WE....ARE.....ROBOTS......

    Now you're talkin' V! ;)



    _____


    The 'image' of playing Jazz professionally, must be in many ways why i want to do it. My ignorance is bliss? :) -I wonder if some of the artists mentioned, who felt it was harder to maintain their jobs once there; than getting them, are somewhat disillusioned? This given their imagery's been replaced by the stark reality of performance, and having to do it on purpose, time and time again? (In the setting of their choosing, and goals in sight of getting there.)

    Course Doc's mindset of deliberate 'play' seems right?

    Do free concerts leave musicians feeling used, or renewed? Is it easier to 'play', on purpose, when you're not getting paid to do it?

    Anyone-


    Much thanks, Chris


    -
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
  8. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    This forum is public (even though it is essentially anonymous), so I can't help but wonder at the mediocrity of your grammar and typing. But of course, you simply made a mistake, didn't you? I guess we will let you off the hook because 1) we didn't pay and 2) you don't claim to be a professional writer. Still, you know what they say about glass houses.
    Music is not about perfection. It is an art, not a science. It is a creative human endeavor where we strive to be at our best and while we, as humans, sometimes come up short, that is what makes us human.
     
  9. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    I suspcet the two missed notes Andrew mentioned weren't noticed to any significance by anyone but himself and a couple good ears otherwise? Likely he couldn't agree more with your feeling of things there Joe.


    ____

    I may be mistaken veery, anyone- but the 'creative process' in Orchestral measure takes place in preperation, to any degree of latitude the musicians are awarded, yes? Come 'playtime', it becomes the 'science' of musicianship? I suppose this is another reason i prefer the idea of pursuing Jazz performance, rather than Orchestral. It reminds me of how i razz my Lawyer friends, when i tell'em they're goin' on like they got the brains and talent to be'a Surgeon. :)


    -
     
  10. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Hi all,
    I'm in PA at my wifes family reunion and I wasn't planning on writing this week, but after I read Mr DiMonte's post I thought that I should make a quick comment.
    If my post was misunderstood as being not prepared to perform, or too accepting of mistakes I apologize. It's not that I don't practice, or that I don't care if I miss notes. It's that I refuse to let it ruin the quality of my life. I believe in learning, not self mutilation, so when I mess up I try to figure out why and correct it for the next time. The fact that my dog still loves me is an example of how it's not worth getting too upset when things go wrong. There is more to my life than what happens on stage.
    Mr. Dimonte I think the problem for you may be that you need a more understanding dog. Maybe then you wouldn't feel judged on those times when you may miss a note, or make a grammatical mistake. Just a suggestion.
    Best to everyone!
    Andrew
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008

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