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Things you would have liked to know earlier


pjm
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After reading several replies about the stress of professional musicians, I am glad that I am not good enough to play professionally. I wish some one told me to study violin when I was really young instead of piano and guitar. I wish that my teacher had told me to practice more. Back then, I was too lazy althogh I am not saying that I practice as much as most of you.

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instead of piano


Nooo!

Never regret piano. As my teacher has always said, it's the mother of all instruments. Theory and everything else is just so wonderful on the piano. It's really an excellent way to learn music, and the experience gained can be applied to so many other instruments. It's always worth while. And besides, it can sound so beautiful.

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Of course, I know that piano is the best way to learn music in the beginning. I told my mom that I wanted to study violin, but she just kept made me playing piano. Now, I am good at neither instruments. She should have either listened to me sooner or made me practice piano regardless of what I said.

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Playing the music is so enjoyable. It's a luxury. I wish I were a violin teacher who teaches young kids. I can't help but wonder how amazing it would be to witness my pupils grow....


Well, this is the way I feel, so spending too much time away from this vocation to play professionaly doesn't suit me. At least with teaching and minimal pro playing you miss much of the downside of being full time in an Orchestra

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The one thing that mostly stands out for me is the visual layout of the piano keyboard in reference to the music theory. I struggled with finger positions for so long, only to discover that a piano is a perfect linear layout of the theory.

I used this reference for my kids as well when they chose to learn an instrument. Its so simple if you can only see it.

I also have a major peave with luthiers. At one time I traveled as an adult gaurdian for a local church group with a few dozen youngsters. We've been ripped off from Alaska to Florida. I was finally forced to learn to do the repairs myself on the road. When some jerk in a shop tells you that it is "rocket science" and only they can fix it; Immediatly walk out of the shop to never return. I think about all the hard earned money I left behind, most "child type" damage and fitting, is quite repairable with little effort or skills. If I only knew back then...

mike

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Please don't believe everything you read here. I suspect many of these negative views expressed here are out of frustration in many forms. Often the most negative feelings stem from not doing as well in the field as one would like, rather than exhausting all possibilities and finding the whole field not worthy of one's efforts. I mean no disrespect, but I believe that for all the opinions here, there is very little first hand experience.

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[quoteI mean no disrespect, but I believe that for all the opinions here, there is very little first hand experience.

]


LOTS of first hand experience. Everything I have written is true.

I am not negative, I dont even listen to Classical Music anymore, I play rock.

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No frustration here pjm - just truthful contributions.

Also

In reply to:

I mean no disrespect, but I believe that for all the opinions here, there is very little first hand experience.


Maybe in some cases, but show some respect to the students and pros who inhabit here who do have bona fide experience - there are more than you presume.

All fields of endeavour have ups and downs - the thread asked for things we wished we'd known earlier, I knew nothing of the bad side until I was comitted to a career - forewarned is forearmed (so 2 speak).

Thanks for your contribution(s) either way.

T_D

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My problem is this: An aspiring violinist who reads this thread and many past threads would draw the following conclusions:

1. Pros are careless, poor players

2. Auditions are all rigged, so don't bother to play well or prepare.

3. The people who win jobs are political operators, rather than qualified musicians.

4. Being stuck in a top orchestra is a sad fate , free of interest or passion for work.

5. To hold these feelings is not negative it is just truth.

I think the reason this bothers me is because I am a member of a great orchestra and have consistently done well at blind auditions(where I didn't know committee members). I have seen others consistently do well also. It strips much credit from this success to hear the tears and sweat of preparation dismissed so easily. Being a finalist who didn't win the job can feel pretty raw( I know this from several experiences), but I still have a great deal of faith in the process. The real competition for you young aspiring pros out there is the 5-10 people out of the 200+ who actually have prepared and know their stuff.

I love this profession completely, and I am lucky to make great music with a great orchestra. Hearing good sounding live music is no small thing. Let's not pretend that it is.

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I mean no disrespect for those who do have extensive experience.I simply wanted to voice that you are the minority,so someone looking for guidance is not dissuaded by someone without basis. My apologies for any offense taken,as I meant none.

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My husband's experiences have been very similar to yours. He's been on both sides of the screen and hasn't encountered the type of irregularities described in this thread. The strings hired here in the past eight years or so (since I've lived here, at any rate) have all been from out of state with no prior connection to the orchestra. I've heard many of them play individually and they are a fine group of musicians with passion and enthusiasm for their jobs.

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Good of you to elaborate.

Your 5 points make sense, of course *we* wouldn't want to give a one-sided view, but I always expect a balanced selection of replies here, one of the great things.

I am pleased you have added your opinion - the more the better and *we* are lucky to have you, given your comments.

PS - I would welcome more blind auditions here in the UK - it would really put everyone on a level field. I for one would feel much more relaxed playing to a panel if they didn't know who I was - sometimes the hardest thing is performing to panels (concertmasters, conductors etc.) who already know you and expect certain minimum standards from someone already in the profession.

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What I have learned later in life:

1. Don't necessarily give conductor what he asks for. Give him what he would have asked for if only he had known better. (Use this rarely, and with discretion!)

2. Know when to ignore the conductor.

3. Make good music, and have fun doing it.

4. Ignore your mistakes, and have fun. Someone else said, ignore the audience. I would say, interact with them, but don't worry about what they think. Have fun with mistakes, if necessary.

5. Don't be afraid to be creative.

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Well, now I realize that the music world is the same as just about every other business and profession.

Every field has politics, favoritism, suck-ups, semi-competents who do well, as well as people who can do the job better but lack either the connections or luck to get the job. Every field also has people who just shine, and only need a bit of luck to succeed. Every field has many competent people, who take pride in their work, and the occasional slacker. In collaborative fields, like music, there is also the possibility that one can be actually too good for a particular group. I can't think of a single field that is absolutely fair, all the time. That's just how life is. Each time something doesn't go your way, take a little time out from sulking (which is perfectly OK) and think about what you could have done differently or better--not just about performing but about connecting with the decision makers. Sometimes the person who gets a job is not the very "best" but is someone they want to work with. If you can manage to be both, you're in.

The earlier one understands that there are political games to play that will help your career, the better. That does not mean you shouldn't perform as well as you can. Just understand that there is a bit of a game to be played to land a job and keep it and even progress. That game is just another thing to learn. Just a fact of life. It is even kind of fun. If we don't call it "politics" or a "game," and instead call it "connecting," it might be a bit closer to the mark. Your own personal satisfaction comes in doing the job well, once you get it.

Once you've figured out how to get there, it is up to you to decide how far you want to get. Not everyone is happiest at the top of the heap.

And all that is what I wish someone had told me when I was young. It took me ages to learn.

I also wish someone had told me how much I'd like to play the violin. Very happy I discovered that.

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I knew I'd get in trouble with that one. See my reply under "Pros are slobs". This advice applies inversely with the skill of the conductor.

I've rarely done this. I've never been busted. If you sit up front, and they ask you to play badly, you've got a problem. If you play beautifully, and try to give them what they want in spirit, maybe you can get away with it. Don't know. I've never had that problem with any conductor who had a clue.

There are stories, however, of professional wind players in exalted orchestras deliberately playing wrong notes to prove that a modern composer couldn't tell the difference even when conducting his own work. I'd better shut up here.

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Believe it or not is your own choice. I'm pretty sure everyone here has had the experience to know what they're talking about. My post may sound negative, but I didn't mean it that way, it's how I feel about a lot of the musicians I've run in to over my many years of playing.

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I think you just met the wrong people. I'd have to say that the musicians I know are some of the most fun, well-traveled, educated, open-minded (and slightly crazy) folks I've ever met. You haven't lived until you've been to a party hosted by a Russian musician. If this is what the Russian culture is like, I must make a visit someday.

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I wish I had better access to more enthusiastic people who genuinely love playing the violin. i started violin in the 5th grade and didn't start truly loving it until tenth or 11th grade. this is quite sad. i know that the enthusiasm should have come from me or at least start within myself, but the orchestras I played in and teachers I had at the time when I was young did not transmit their enthusiasm for the instrument or for music to me (who knows if they even had the enthusiasm to begin with). i consequently didn't feel anything and was extremely close to quitting both piano and violin. then i joined a great orchestra my junior year and the player's enthusiasm and love for music was so contagious. i did a 180 turn from vehemently hating violin to absolutely loving not only violin but music. we played some great pieces that i absolutely fell in love with and i genuinely connected w/ the music (sorry its sounds "clicheish" but its very true) we had an awesome conductor, great soloists, and most importantly great players... so anyways, here i am. i honestly can say that if it weren't for that orchestra, I would have quit. it seems that Ive wasted a good portion of my life playing piano and violin w/out feeling anything for it and when I think about it, I can't even begin to imagine how much money my parents invested in something that I so detested but was forced to play simply bc i had a talent in it. but regardless, im extremely glad i had an opportunity to be in the orchestra. otherwise i would have never have had experienced what i did.

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