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For the love of music...

October 9, 2007 at 2:05 AM

When I was at the Royal College of Music there was a very talented lady there who played a couple of big concertos , won a few prizes and so on. Thus it came as no surprise to me that when she left she immediately got a leading position in a British Orchestra of some note. Not one of the top London ones, but no slouch and on an inspired day with the right conductor capable of truly great music making.
Twenty odd (in my case very odd) years on I see the orchestra mentioned in the Gossip column of v.commie. Without going into much detail I see that the orchestra has been through really hard times and is still under funded and coping with horrible facilities but because of a bright new conductor is on a substantial roll and deservedly so. When I checked out the homepage of the orchestra I found that my friend was still there after all these years.
What is the significance of that?
Well, as someone who experienced the Brit music scene, and that city in question I have no trouble imagining the horrible facilities, venues, low pay etc. that this orchestra struggled/struggles with day in, day out. It must in many ways be so different from the venerated position she occupied at college, much respected by her peers and her teacher. But my talented friend is still there doing the business. I know she is still doing an uncompromisingly good job because that is her nature. And that is what great musicians do. Year in year out, they do their damndest for the music often without the recognition they deserve simple because they love music. They are the backbone of our art.
PS Thanks for helping me with the Mozart concerto all those years ago.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on October 9, 2007 at 5:15 AM
It is so true that people give so much of themselves to playing music because they love it, not because they get money or awards. That applies to so many people.
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on October 9, 2007 at 3:07 PM
This is something I think a lot about. Not trying to be contrary. I have noticed some people stay on the first job they land, at times detrimental to their career. Is it laudible? Or is it inertia? Shall we call it love of music and encourage or shall we encourage them to strive for a better pasture? I am a staying on type. Recently, I wondered if it wasn't plain lack of drive rather than virtue.


From Ray Randall
Posted on October 9, 2007 at 7:23 PM
I have a good friend, a semi retired concert violinist, No, not Aaron, who, although a former CM of a major orchestra and a concert soloist can not get a job teaching because he does not have a college teaching degree. Sheeeesh! Are modern schools nuts turning down a certified master because of no college degree?
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 9, 2007 at 8:21 PM
Nice to hear about someone who cares that much about her work, and sticks with it.
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on October 9, 2007 at 9:45 PM
Ray - I didn't know one needed a teaching certificate to teach at a college or a private institution. Music may be different, but in many other areas, they don't require a teacher training to be a faculty as far as I know.


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on October 10, 2007 at 5:03 AM
Ray probably referred to the need for a music pedagogy (or something related) college degree to teach in a public high school. Laurie came right up against that problem, as she described in her blog about a year ago, when she listed all her many degrees and certifications which meant nothing to the public school system. She has managed to wriggle around the rules so that she can teach in an elementary school. I think she's not even getting paid for it. That's real dedication.
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on October 10, 2007 at 3:39 PM
Ihnsouk has a point. I’m one of those non-staying on type – changed 5 jobs in past 2 years. When you get attractive offers, you don’t want to turn them down. But jobs with higher pay and more prestige often come with nasty politics and competition that you don’t know for sure it’s not your cup of tea until you’ve tried. I find the place will eventually keep me is one that has interesting work and the people and the culture of the organization make me feel at home. These may also be the reasons Buri’s friend stayed, in additional to her love of music?

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