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Mendy Smith

When Work & Music Collide

May 6, 2008 at 4:34 AM

I show up for orchetra practice 30 minutes early. I have conference calls with Asia right before rehearsals which end just before rehearsals start. I hold these calls from the parking lot. Doing the work/music switch is challenging enough most weeks.

Tonight, I showed up 30 minutes early as usual. Since the weather was nice, I sat on one of the benches outside to conduct the call. While holding the call, I see my fellow musicians heading into the rehearsal room. A few of them mimed to me asking if I was on a conference call for work. The call went over by 30 minutes, well into rehearsal time.

By the time the call ended, the 2nd piece was complete and the orchestra was starting on the 3rd piece. I sneak in, the 2nd chair 2nd violinist, bless her heart, gives me an A so I can tune quickly. We practiced the 3rd piece took a 10 minute break. I recieved a scolding from my section for making them play the hardest pieces "all by themselves", followed by some symphathy. The conductor said that she assumed things were "not normal" when she noticed me pacing outside while on the call.

This Thursday I have another conference call just before quartet practice. I hope this scenario is not a repeat performance.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 5:27 AM
I know what you mean. Violin playing is one of the most time consuming hobby I’ve had and it’s very hard to juggle it with work. I have a lot of conference calls too and I’m not a big fan of it. I guess it beats frequent traveling but still, you don’t see people’s body language and it’s hard to see what people are really reacting to each other’s comments. You are lucky to be able to do it hand-free. Mine are full of documents to review and notes to scribble. Am I working too hard?:)
From PM Rolf
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 5:56 AM
I hear ya!! I work from home, so conference calls are routine for me, except that my hq is in the east coast, so after 2pm, no one bothers me really. The hardest thing is my travel schedule. Alot of times, I can't bring my violin with me, even if I do take it, i won't have time to practice. And now that I just started orchestra, I feel horrible missing rehearsals since I'm bad to begin with :(
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 1:36 AM
I've got a conference call tomorrow from 5-6 and an orchestra rehearsal at 7:30. In between that I have to make and eat dinner (with the kids). My boss is out and I decided to work from home. That buys me an extra 90 minutes of not commuting!

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