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is the car done yet?

Kelsey Zachary

Written by
Published: February 18, 2015 at 8:08 PM [UTC]

How is it that in almost all professions you can take "sick days" and still get paid but if you're a musician you have to either just not get paid or make-up the lessons if you're sick? There's no permitted 5 sick days a year or 3 weeks paid vacation if you're a musician. You take the work when you get it and if you're sick, you most likely power through because who has time to fit in 10 make-up lessons or find an alternate player for that wedding gig? Just some food for thought as I battle my first cold of 2015.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my previous blog post and for the warm welcome back! I am excited to get back to writing a bit more. It's such a powerful tool for organizing thoughts and finding clarity in things that somehow seem a bit more jumbled in my brain. My musings and thoughts today come from a comfortable couch in a Starbucks not far from the oceans edge as the car gets a tune up. The car is getting groomed and readied for a road trip to Vancouver Island's west coast in March. I can't wait to get back to the open ocean and breathe in that fresh sea air. I'm also excited for the possibility of seeing whales which have spotted close to where we'll be staying and of course for exploring the shoreline for any treasures the sea might have washed up. The last time I was by the open ocean like that is when I hiked the West Coast Trail almost 5 years ago - how time flies!

Has anyone else seen the "misheard" lyrics for Carmina Burana's "O Fortuna" ? I'm playing the whole work this weekend up in Prince George with the Prince George Symphony and all I can picture when I hear that movement is "that octopus, let's give him boots, send him to North Korea" .... does that make me a horrible person? Anyway - check it out, it's a good laugh! And it will likely forever ruin that movment for you forever! Strangely enough my score for it must have been used by some equally inspired players to those who wrote out the English interpretation of the original Latin text. On the bottom right hand corners of several pages are charming little illustrations ranging from rabbits to cats and fish (complete with sea corals) to dramatic singing stick people. Needless to say, we haven't even begun rehearsals yet and it's already shaping up to be a quite memorable first time playing this piece. *hums*

The Prince George Symphony has been a really fun avenue to get back into the world of orchestral playing. It's also an awesome opportunity to see some real snow which is something we don't really get in the lower mainland. Granted, -30C is not exactly the easiest tempreture to go to when you've been used to a wintertime high of +8C but I love the powdery white stuff that sparkles in the moonlight! Also, you can see stars, lots and lots of stars! Something which is a rarity when you live in a big city. It's sort of cathartic getting to go through the motions of packing, trekking to the airport (yay transit!), playing rehearsals over a couple of days then playing a show. It's always a fun and very different program. One thing that has stuck with me since university is that rehearsals always seemed to go on forever and now playing a union length rehearsal with a proper break seems short in comparison, making it more enjoyable and easier to work even harder.

In other news and randomness, I'm nearly finished knitting a sweater I've been working on in conjunction with a couple smaller projects the last month or so. I'm super stoked to have it ready to wear! For all you knitters out there, I scored an excellent deal on some Malabrigo wool that is absolutely heaven to the touch and even more heavenly to knit with! I honestly hope we get a cold snap here once I finish it so I can put the fireplace on and wear my new sweater cozied up next to it.
I've got a design project on the go too for a cowl I'm making that will help to sheild the side of my face that is affected by trigeminal neuralgia. Since wind is a trigger, I need something thick and wide to cover most of my face and keep it from triggering. I wish I could knit faster so I could make more of the gorgeous patterns I've got in my favourites feed on ravelry.

I'm going to sign off here for now but I have a question for everyone - what kind of challenges or motivating incentives do you use to help encourage your students to practice? I'm trying a new one this semester that I'm kind of having mixed results with so far, but there are a couple I've tried in past that have been really good.I'll write more about them next time. :)

Cheers everyone!


From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 19, 2015 at 5:26 AM
This blog needs an illustration, how about a picture of your latest knitting project? :) I love those!
From John Rokos
Posted on February 19, 2015 at 8:32 AM
Doctors, etc., who choose to be paid as locums, rather than as salaried staff, because the rates seem better, need to consider this kind of issue.

I don't know about it making you "a horrible person" - It certainly makes you a lady! The tuna at the beginning was predicable, but as for the rest of it ...

From 72.140.76.225
Posted on February 20, 2015 at 1:27 AM
Umm- This is my first attempt at a comment. I've been "lurking" for a bit. I hope I understand the etiquette. I'm a fellow Canadian and as a volunteer musician in hospitals and nursing homes I have maybe another perspective. Not right, not wrong, a little different. I play both in a group and as a solo fiddler. When I have to cancel or when my group cancels, I feel regret. Mind you my audience is only somewhere between 3 and 45 people, and they are not always able to respond, but all audiences are equal. For me any missed opportunity may be the last performance for the audience as individuals or for me as a senior. Yes, I've had jobs with paid sick days. Yes, I would like to see professional musicians have benefits similar to other professionals. One of my pet peeves is that some people have such little regard for a "live" musician. Blame recordings? I've always found this disturbing. Anyway, hang in there. the vikings may call "shield wall", maybe in Canadian that's "snow bank" given this winter's weather.

Thanks for your consideration,

Old Dave

PS Its very hard to do this without spellcheck.


From Yixi Zhang
Posted on February 21, 2015 at 12:55 AM
I agree with Laurie, pictures please!

Being a knitting maniac myself, I keep wondering what is the connection between violin playing and knitting? These two activities are mutually exclusive in terms of their demand on our time and attention, let alone the repetitive use of our up body muscles. (A few years ago I had rotatory cuff tendinitis. My doctor couldn't decide whether it was caused by violin paying or knitting so I was ordered to stop both activities!) However, I've met quite a few knitters who are also violinist/ violists. I guess one thing these two in common is that they require patience and you have to be detail-oriented enough to do well in both cases. Also, the tactile and the movement of the fingers in rhythmic fashion. But there must be more. I just can’t quite put my finger on it (no pun intended).

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