Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day in the Life

Playing in a symphony orchestra is an unusual job. It certainly does not follow the usual business format. We do not have an office to go to every day and we don't clock in and out of practice rooms. Our hours are unusual: concerts start anywhere from 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM with rehearsals scheduled from 10 AM to 8 PM. Our rehearsals are generally only 2-1/2 hours long which leads some people to wonder what we do with the rest of our day.

Well, I can't give you a schedule for every day, but I will give you a snapshot of what today will be like for me. Today is a fairly typical day. We have a rehearsal this afternoon in the Bijou for this Sunday's Chamber Classics concert.

This morning I got up at 6:45. I am not a morning person by choice. If I didn't have to take my daughter to school I would probably sleep later. On days that we rehearse until 10:30 PM or have evening concerts I try to take a nap because otherwise my focus and energy is gone by 9:30. No naps today, though.

Mondays and Thursdays I sit down and write this blog, or, if I've set something to auto-post, I log in to make sure that it posted.

After I finish this blog it will be time to practice. I have a stack of symphony music sitting by my stand that needs attention: this weeks chamber music, the November Masterworks music, Brahms 1st String Quartet, and the third Bartok String Quartet for the April chamber concert. (Yes, I'm already practicing music for April!) Today I will focus on the string serenades for this weekend's performance. I also have a stack of non-symphony music that I'm practicing. Playing for the symphony is wonderful, but it takes some of the personal creativity out of music. My job is to bring the conductor's vision of a piece to life. Even if I agree with what the conductor is asking for, its not MY interpretation. I don't have full creative reign. Practicing non-symphony music regularly gives me a creative outlet and does a lot to keep my technique up. These days I'm practicing violin quite a bit. I find it's easier on the body since it's smaller, and the technique transfers quite nicely to the viola. I'm working on the Brahms violin concerto, the third unaccompanied violin sonata by Bach, and scales. Always scales. Some days I have a stack of music to mark bowings in for the viola section to follow. Happily, I am caught up with bowings for the moment, so I won't work on any today.

A nice perk about working from home is that, well, you're home. I can take 5 minute breaks in practicing here and there to throw dinner in the crock pot, move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, etc.

When I'm done practicing it will be time for a quick lunch. Then I'll pick up my daughter from school, get her settled with the sitter and head to rehearsal. Today we only have one rehearsal. After rehearsal I'll head home and spend time with my family. I may have another look at the music depending on how rehearsal goes this afternoon just to remind myself what I need to practice tomorrow.

So, there you have a day in the life of a musician.


KSO blogger Andy said...

Keep in mind this is MY day. I am one of a handful of musicians who are full-time with the orchestra. Other KSO musicians have full-time jobs outside of music in addition to playing in the orchestra or make a living by playing and teaching. Their schedules are obviously a lot different than mine.

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