How far would you go, how far have you gone, for a gig?
I'm talking about the distance you would drive, or fly, to play.
Many working musicians regularly travel in order to sustain a career in music. This does not surprise me, but sometimes people don't understand that musicians often keep regular jobs in distant cities, with much of their earnings absorbed in the expense of traveling.
Personally, I've certainly had this experience. When I lived in Omaha, Nebraska, I had a contract in both the Omaha and Lincoln Symphonies -- Lincoln being about 60 miles away (I-80 being a sheet of ice across which the snow blows horizontally, a dizzying drive in the dark). When I lived in Denver, I had a contract with the Colorado Springs Symphony -- about 70 miles, but a different kind of snow because it involved going over a mountain pass. I was fortunate that I wasn't in the caravan that once was stranded in a developing blizzard. When the police came to dig out their car, they had to leave their instruments behind, the horror! Living in California, I regularly drive all over the very wide Los Angeles metropolitan area for work in various symphonies and groups.
I haven't flown all that often to play, but concertizing soloists often fly multiple times a week, finding themselves in a different city or country every few days.
How sustainable is this lifestyle? It's pretty tough, but for many musicians this is simply a normal part of life.
How about you? What is the farthest distance you've traveled to play? Do you have a regular gig that requires a long-distance commute? Have you taken touring that took you away from home? Do you simply live out of a suitcase? Is this okay, or does it make you crazy? Please vote, and tell us all about it in the comment section below. (Also, I realized that for some, traveling to another country is a short distance! If you can say 'yes' to more than one answer, just pick the one that seems most appropriate to illustrate your travel for gigs.)Tweet Comments (6)
Violinist.com Interviews, Volume 2: Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles' second book features exclusive, one-on-one interviews conducted over the last six years with 26 of today's best-known violinists, including Midori, Gil Shaham, Hilary Hahn, James Ehnes, Rachel Barton Pine, Augustin Hadelich, Ray Chen, Daniel Heifetz, Jennifer Koh and Lindsey Stirling. Amazon.com (Ad)
Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!
Augusta McKay Lodge, winner of the 2015 Juilliard Historical Performance Concerto Competition, explores rare unaccompanied violin music from the time of Bach on this debut album. "Although today we think of Bach as being a lone figure in composing for the unaccompanied violin, his work actually grew out of a long-standing tradition going as far back (and further!) as 17th century Biber’s iconic Passacaglia from the Mystery Sonatas," Lodge said. "Bach could well have heard many performances of such works, and indeed personally knew some of these composers such as Pisendel (featured on the album). These are hidden gems that deserve to hold a place in the current canon of works." The album features solo violin works by Biber, Locatelli and Pisendel, as well as lesser-known composers Nicola Matteis and Thomas Baltzar. BELOW: Augusta McKay Lodge performs Alia fantasia, by Nicola Matteis:
What is it like to learn the violin, viola or cello, as an adult? As a teacher, I warn adult beginners that they can expect something like a cross between kindergarten and physical therapy. If you can accept those two conditions, then you can go quite far! But it means that you have to resist feeling embarrassed about truly starting at the beginning, and you need to prepare to do more repetitive work, physically, than you might expect.
When you learn a foreign language, you start with the alphabet, numbers, and very simple words and phrases such as "hello." When you learn to play an instrument, you will start with simple tunes and exercises, and you probably won't dive right into the more complex tune that inspired you to play. Of course, you should still listen to that tune and keep it as your goal, but learning basic fluency comes first.
In your lessons, don't be embarrassed to play because you aren't good at it. I've noticed a phenomenon in adult beginners: sometimes they talk their way through lessons to avoid playing! They don't really know they are doing it, but it just feels more comfortable because they know how to talk, and they don't yet know how to play. Be aware that you might feel weird about doing something that you aren't yet good at, particularly in front of someone else. Embrace the fact that you are going to make mistakes, play badly, squeak, misunderstand instructions, get it wrong, etc. It's all part of the learning process. You didn't learn to walk without falling down many, many times. Falling down -- and getting back up again -- is part of what gave you your balance. A good teacher completely understands this and is there to help you find that balance. Keep reading...Comments (18)
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