no playing on Sundays?

March 29, 2011 at 04:32 PM ·

Greetings all,

I am considering following a career in music (I play both viola and violin, but am switching to mostly viola). I currently am quite well off as far as lessons, orchestra, and chamber music is concerned. The problem that I come across, however, when researching post-secondary institutions is that orchestras and such almost always have rehearsals or concerts on Sundays, and I don't play concerts or do rehearsals on Sundays.

 Because of this, I've already put aside my former dreams of playing in a professional orchestra, as even I can see that that is an unrealistic goal. I've been thinking more along the lines of becoming a mostly teacher, partially chamber musician.

 Are there any programs that I could take in post-secondary institutions that would allow me to get all the credits I need for this without performing on Sundays? Are there any universities/colleges that are more friendly towards people who don't play on Sundays? Are there any other possible options for me to follow a career in music and not play on Sundays?

 I would very much appreciate any input on this.             


Replies (58)

March 29, 2011 at 05:08 PM ·


You just have to do some homework. The performing schedule of every orchestra is different, and usually quite stable. I've played in orchestras that only performed on Fridays and Saturdays, and some that played on Sundays and Mondays. It all depends, and you may find flexibility. Maybe if they know up front you can't play on Sundays you'll just sit in the back and miss Sundays.

The community itself also matters. For example, my first college teaching job was in a small Iowa town where everyone did church activities on Wednesday nights. Therefore, no one every scheduled music events on Wednesday nights.

I've seen very few instances of orchestras rehearsing on Sundays

March 29, 2011 at 05:18 PM ·

March 29, 2011 at 06:19 PM ·

Must be religious reasons... but even church bands play on sundays.

Anyway, limiting oneself that way ist not the right mindset for a pro.

March 29, 2011 at 06:27 PM ·

being upfront is the best way to go. I have a friend who doesn't do anything other than religious thing on saturday so she's not always present on saturday concert or rehearsal. the whole orch knows that, and we don't miss her that much since there are others who play in that sections. if it is Saturday, we all know she won't be there.

As taking to be a prof that is kind tricky, you will be an employee, and as musician, that is not a 9-5 and mon-fri kinda job.


March 29, 2011 at 06:45 PM ·

March 30, 2011 at 01:45 AM ·


I'm not sure about career options afterward, but could you at least get your training at a high-quality Christian conservatory/university?  I got my BMus through the Wheaton College Conservatory in Illinois, and there was never any requirement to play or rehearse on Sunday.  Other students who had less qualms about Sundays than I did occasionally scheduled their own extra rehearsals; but it was not part of the school requirements, I never attended these extra events, and I believe I got a very good, even superior, education there.  Just a thought. 

P.S.  Remember Eric Liddell's story?  That has been an encouragement to me.

P.P.S.  On your thought of being primarily teacher and chamber musician, I see no reason why that is not entirely feasible.  (I am a full-time teacher, as well as performing regularly.)  Teaching doesn't require Sunday work events (I miss the occasional masterclass in a neighboring city because of not wanting to go on Sundays, but that's all); and if you set up your own chamber group with that understanding, it should be fine!  In my experience, string quartets, etc., usually have the hardest time finding the violist, so I think you should have some leverage.

March 30, 2011 at 02:55 AM ·

Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone!

Scott - that's good to read, I'll definitely be doing some more asking around about it, then.

Tobias - you're right. It's religious reasons. And if that's limiting myself, well, I'm a Christian first and foremost, and everything else comes after. I have always been clear about that, and so far people have been respectful of this, and don't try to pressure me into playing on Sundays. I know I will probably have more issues with it from now on, but I will remain firm on this point, even if others disagree with me.

Lynae - I have thought much about and looked into Christian universities and conservatories. The thing is that they are usually a good deal more expensive than I can afford, even with all the scholarships offered! I often hear from others that going into music isn't really a possibility for me because I don't play on Sundays, but I really want to do this. It's not just for myself, but also for other people who want to be musicians, but don't play on Sundays. Thank-you very much for your encouragement.

March 30, 2011 at 03:16 AM ·

March 30, 2011 at 03:23 AM ·

It's possible depending on your aspirations.  There are orchestras that don't -- they aren't the big ones, but playing in a couple regional groups doesn't bother me.  They often deliberately try to avoid conflicting with each other as well, since everybody would be competing for a piece of the same pie.  Most of my weddings have been on Fridays or Saturdays and if I play my cards right, I can get multiple gigs in one day.  As for chamber music and teaching, as others have said, the latter gives you flexibility (if not as much stability), and the former follows a traditional schedule, though you will find yourself having to plan ahead carefully the rest of your week to avoid getting caught with studio work...but you are probably already used to doing that to some extent.  You might decide to do something really different like play in a band, maybe even a Christian band, and I've never had the impression that Sunday was a big going-out day for the rest of the working world anyway. 

You can beat your own path.  In fact, the profession needs people who do.

March 30, 2011 at 03:42 AM ·

Bill, arbitrary?  Sunday is believed to have been the day of Christ's resurrection, yes?   Every sabbath is supposed to commemorate that.

I mean, I do understand there are sects that do differently, but that's the reason behind the majority that observe Sunday.

March 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM ·

Hi Judith. I'm just curious if you wouldn't mind explaining your not performing or rehearsing on Sunday. Please do not misconstrue this as any sort of criticism, or attack, or asking you to defend your beliefs. I'm just trying to understand. I'm not a Christian, but I've played innumerable Sunday concerts at all kinds of different churches - Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and different Protestant denominations. I'm not counting playing in a service, which I've also done lots of. Many of the concerts were of a religious nature - cantatas, etc. But many have also been purely concert music - Beethoven symphonies, etc. That's why I'm somewhat surprised and confused - but I'm not criticizing you. I'm also wondering if your disinclination to play on Sundays is for you, more of a preference or a law.

At any rate, career-wise this will be difficult. You might want to focus more on teaching, as you, yourself have thought, and then you could arrange - if you're so inclined - to do solo and chamber music  more on your own schedule.

March 30, 2011 at 12:44 PM ·

I knew a young woman who would not play Friday through Saturday PM, the traditional Orthodox Sabbath. The curious thing was, she wasn't Jewish Orthodox. It was her own spin on observing a day of rest. She was in an up-&-coming string band, but gave it up after a while. Too confining on the other members. Only you can make this decision for yourself, but it's worth considering if your take on Sunday concerts is too prideful. Some of the conservative Christian persuasions are too proud, in my opinion. "Holier than thou" isn't just a phrase, sometimes it's a life. I also knew a devote Mormon who supported his family as a jockey. At one point in his life, he questioned whether he should continue, since Mormons are against gambling. He prayed over this & with members of the church hierarchy, and they came to a conclusion that supporting his family with the best talent he had was not sinful. Sue  

March 30, 2011 at 03:16 PM ·

March 30, 2011 at 04:38 PM ·

With me too, it's purely curiosity. As I emphasized, no ctriticism was made or implied.

March 30, 2011 at 06:27 PM ·

"… most of us--probably even the OP, prefer not to wear personal religious conviction 'on the sleeve' as it were."
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The OP, in a follow-up, describes herself as "a Christian first and foremost."  I don't know who first stated that "Christianity isn't religion; it's relationship" -- but I agree with the statement.  Religion, on the other hand, is mostly man-made, and it can be a divider. I'm reminded of something radio pastor and Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee said: "If you've 'got religion' -- well, get rid of it.  Get Christ instead."

As a believer myself and a small-business owner, I endorse the OP's position.  Sunday is my one day off the work routine.  I read God's Word every day, because it helps me face and surmount life's challenges as nothing else can.  This stuff works.  And having one day a week, free from the business routine, to let the Word really sink in -- this helps my Monday-Saturday stretch go noticeably better.

To reinforce and extend a bit the earlier input on the Sabbath: Yes -- it's still Saturday.  God never moved it.  I have never kept it.  There is no Christian "Sabbath."  I find it significant that the Fourth Commandment, Ex. 20:8-11, is the only one of the ten that isn't repeated in the New Testament.
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I was 21 when I, too, "put aside my former dreams of playing in a professional orchestra" -- although not because of Sunday work hours.  More on this in the noise thread.

March 30, 2011 at 07:05 PM ·

Is it me or even the most famous acclaimed violinist play/played on any week day (weekend or not).  And there must have been all kind of religious beleifs among them (Jewish, non Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Otrhodox, athee etc).  So if even they have/had to do this, perhaps anyone has to in order to have maximum career opportunities.  (well, I didn't read all their bios but I heard from a few of their concert scedules with astronomical ammounts of concerts per year)

But just imho, one is better to "maybe" lose opportunities than to go against one's principles if they are so important for you. (well of course you're the only who should decide of this!)

March 30, 2011 at 08:00 PM ·

Jim and Judith,

Regardless of the Sunday issue, thank you both for being so clear about what the highest priority is and being true to that - I am glad for anyone to know I am also first and foremost a Christian, and that the benefits far outweigh the costs, don't they!  (Yes, there are genuine costs, especially to pride; but there's not even a shadow of a doubt they're greatly outweighed!  Genuine companionship all the time, free access to perfect guidance for decisions, compelling purpose in life, 24/7 help to live right if we're only willing to plug into the right outlet, a clean slate available any time we have plugged into the wrong outlet, family all over the world, a Book full of privileges just like a bank ledger letting us know what is in our account and inviting us to write the cheques...on and on!) 

Yes, this stuff definitely works.  It is always encouraging to find others and hear a bit of how it has worked in their lives.  That Vernon McGee quote is very good and hits the nail exactly on the head.

"... I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation...."  (Rom. 1:16)

Thanks again!

March 30, 2011 at 08:17 PM ·

I worship Zeus -  every night, when I go to bed, I pray that HE will let the sun rise again in the morning.

He never let me down. (And aren't we all in complete agreement that HE is not responsible for all the harm the japanese people have to bear?) 

(Who will say I am joking? This is religion - I hope every one respects my faith in Zeus!)

Seriously: I beg you to stop religious comments. They are offensive to every one who is not of the same belief. And the christians have absolute no right to consider their belief as superior. Keep it to yourselves, friends. Thank you.

March 30, 2011 at 09:41 PM ·

Well, Tobias, to be fair, the topic was quite clear...and nobody said anything about superiority, and Christians certainly have an equal right to speak...and that a few above simply asserted that their christian beliefs stand them, individually, in good stead, is not offensive. They are not telling you that you must do what they do. And you don't have to read about playing on Sunday.

Regardless of whether one believes in God etc, one has a right to believe and to communicate regarding it. Furthermore I will remind you that this website is hosted in the USA where we have absolute freedom of religion.

Yes, I will grant that for a non-insider, the discussions regarding taboos, rules etc of a faith are bewildering and seemingly nonsensical. You can get the same sense of absurdity reading a Muslim forum, or a Jewish forum, or any forum that deals with issues of faith. But this does not mean that you are right and they are wrong. Lack of understanding is not proof that the other person is wrong.

Well, here I go, digging deeper. Note that I am not discussing my religious convictions.


March 30, 2011 at 09:44 PM ·

deleted (hopefully non-inflammatory but off-topic comment, if anyone happened to read it) in deference to the OP.

I do hope you find a satisfactory balance that allows you to pursue your musical goals without compromising your deeply held religious beliefs.

March 30, 2011 at 10:04 PM ·

Judith, the following is said with respect for your religious beliefs. Who knows, they may be better founded than mine.

What I'll observe is that various people who are highly religious, are arguably payment compensated to perform various tasks on varying holy days. To them, could it be that it's not "work", but something greater?

I'll also give emphasis to something which Bill Platt said, several posts back, about dates:

Years are fairly well defined, historically. Days in a week are less so. Will your convictions allow you choose your own holy day, and find a way to work it into the greatest good?

If your were involved in disaster relief in Haiti or Japan, how would you evaluate taking a day off on Sunday, if one or ten people might die as a result?

March 30, 2011 at 11:16 PM ·

 The last thing I meant to do was to offend anyone, trust me. And I certainly never intended to hint at the idea that Christians are superior to non-Christians, because that is a gross lie. The thing is, Christianity is a world-view, and in order to really argue it I would have to put off my Christian world-view, and you would have to put off your world-view, whatever it may be. This I would dread to attempt over the internet.

 For me, C.S. Lewis summed it up quite nicely - "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." Everything I do is to glorify God - that's my worldview, and if you want to ridicule it, that's your choice, but it won't change my mind. So Tobias, I don't think that my belief is superior - I think that it is true, just as you think that whatever you believe is true, and if you think that I call my belief is superior, that's probably because you find your belief superior instead.

 Yes, this means that for me it is more important to follow my religious beliefs than to grab for the best opportunities. The fact is that I want to play music for the glory of God and the enjoyment of fellow humans. The whole Sunday concerts/no Sunday concerts dispute is often  a personal interpretation of the Bible, and not playing on Sundays is mine.

 As for myself, I think that if God has given us life, music, and so many other things, I could put one day of the week aside for Him. Yes, I could do it on a day other than Sunday, but Sunday has been a tradition for centuries, weekends are when they are because of Sundays (originally), and a lot of people like to keep their Sundays just for family, even if they don't do it for God. Which makes Sunday a practical day for putting aside all other things, so I'm going to stick with it.

 David, your last case scenario - yes, I would certainly work on Sundays if it would save lives. However, playing concerts on Sundays is hardly a life-or-death issue. A money issue, yes, but that is insignificant compared to the saving of lives, so I don't feel bad for not playing on Sundays.

 Trust me, I don't discuss my religion whenever I tell people I don't play on Sundays, but I was asked, so I answered. My main concern in this thread is the effects of not playing on Sundays, not the motives behind it. If you want to argue the motives, I would appreciate it if you did so with respect (thank-you, Raphael!), and perhaps an agreement to disagree.

March 31, 2011 at 08:30 AM ·

But playing music is not a crime or something bad...  It is not necessarely work related either.  You can do it in a volunteer way to make people happy on sundays may in be at Church or in Concert halls.  In that sense, you please and honnor "god" and his mission if he exists because you are doing something to serve your community and make people happy. 

Perhaps some find that playing music is a task, a work or something selfish (self-oriented).  Imho, not at all if done with the good reasons!  One can be a servant of the composer, of art of "god" if they want.  They can offer their gift to people and become a people's artist.  (even more if it's volonteer work on sundays...) 

Well, that's just my opinion!  (anyone may disagree with me and that's find too)

March 31, 2011 at 08:47 AM ·

That might appear as a joke but I'm serious,  if music was not acceptable as a "god oriented" action, we wouldn't see angels with string instruments in every religious paintings, statues, biblical quotes were the angles played music for god (if I remember well).  And the story of David with his harp in his garden playing for god etc.

If it can be a "god related" activity, why would it be bad to do it on Sundays???

Sometimes, it's just the way we see things that creates us "limitation" or not. 

Just a though (not at all criticizing your choice.  That's very personal)


Of course, I don't know much about religions because I only beleive in "doing good" in whatever way possible. 

March 31, 2011 at 09:04 AM ·

If you are a Christian, then Jesus -is- your Sabbath rest.


March 31, 2011 at 02:15 PM ·

There is nothing in Christianity that explicitly says you can't play/perform/enjoy music on a Sunday (or a Saturday, or any other day of the week). 

If you follow a set of (man-made, not God-made) rules that says you can't, then that's fine...your choice.  But please...I agree with the others...don't label it as Christianilty.


March 31, 2011 at 02:28 PM ·

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.."

(except on Sundays?)

"Come before His presence with singing."

March 31, 2011 at 04:55 PM ·

"Live and let live" is not the same as "point out to the person why the way they're choosing to live their life is wrong."   If you want to play or attend concerts on Sundays, nobody ---not even Judith--- is saying you shouldn't.

Is anyone going to be harmed by this person's not performing on Sundays?  No?  Then give her a break. 

There are people out there who are different from you.  Get used to it.


Sorry for the grumpy tone.  I was up late last night responding to someone with a 1950's worldview regarding gay teenagers.   Life imitates art.


March 31, 2011 at 05:40 PM ·

Thank you, Bruce -- you said very neatly exactly what I've been thinking.  None of us should presume we have the right to try to change her mind about a personal choice like this.  It's all about expressing her spirituality in a way that feels right to her.

Let's steer this away from a religious discussion.  Too many mines in that field!!!  :o

March 31, 2011 at 05:52 PM ·

I'm always caught off guard by judgmental posts, suggesting how people should act, which are critical of judgmental posts, suggesting how people should act. :-)

March 31, 2011 at 06:11 PM ·

David Burgess  ---- you shouldn't act that way ;-p

Seriously though, does being tolerant require tolerating intolerance? 

March 31, 2011 at 06:13 PM ·

Bruce is correct. That's why I called Tobias to the carpet a few posts up.

The other side of the American coin is that in a free society, we can--and should--question. So to ask, "but why?" is not intolerance. To say, "you suck--just sayin'" is.

To that extent, I think Anne-Marie's questions are honest and good. And it isn't harmful or intolerant to Judith to ask, "how does that belief work? What is the mechanism." After all, she doesn't even have to answer.

March 31, 2011 at 06:19 PM ·

Just be careful that you don't automatically label an opinion as judgemental.

An opinion can be only an opinion.

March 31, 2011 at 06:42 PM ·

"Seriously though, does being tolerant require tolerating intolerance? "

I don't have the answer to that one. LOL

Aside from one post, I didn't see much that I interpret as intolerance though. Mostly just people suggesting different ways of viewing or approaching the situation, probably in an effort to be helpful.

March 31, 2011 at 07:30 PM ·

My critical remark wasn't pointed at Judith. It was a reaction to the proselytizing contribution right before mine. Sorry if I was ambiguous - I'm no native speaker, and this could lead to misunderstandings.

The topic here is violin-related. But praising Jesus, Allah or L.Ron Hubbard is not. It can be annoying to others. It's ok for me if you believe anything you like, I just don't want to be bothered by religious confessions. I promise I won't say not a single word here in this forum about what I do or don't believe.

Most of my family and many friends are religious, and we tolerate each other's point of view. I would like to do the same here, but therefore we should keep our beliefs to ourselves. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion, too. Let's talk violin.


March 31, 2011 at 08:42 PM ·

David -- good point.  On the one hand people can honestly be asking "why?" or "could you look at things this other way,"or they could be asking "why would anyone in their right mind blah blah blah."  On the other hand, people (like me sometimes) can be oversensitive and read the second example where only the first was intended.

Tobias -- if you want to establish a Church of Grumiaux, let me know :)

March 31, 2011 at 09:29 PM ·

Making a living in music is tough to begin with.  Not being able to play on certain days of the week will make it that much tougher.  

March 31, 2011 at 10:35 PM ·

"...therefore we should keep our beliefs to ourselves."

A forum where people never talk about beliefs? That would be kind of a first, wouldn't it?

Why such a strong desire to control the discussion? I thought that was the moderator's job.

April 1, 2011 at 12:28 AM ·

"My critical remark … was a reaction to the proselytizing contribution right before mine."

Tobias, Lynae's contribution, the one right before yours, had no connection with proselytizing.  To proselytize is to try to convert someone else to one's own beliefs.  Lynae didn't do this; neither did anyone else in the thread.

"… we should keep our beliefs to ourselves."

I like David's response to this -- see above.  Anything published in a forum like this is open to public reading and public response.  Or, to quote one of Jimmy Stewart's lines from the film Anatomy of a Murder: "The cat's out of the bag.  It's fair game for me to chase it."
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On the main subject: I play on Sundays -- although it's purely recreational; and on Sundays, I like to break from the usual heavy-duty practice and do more pleasure-playing and review.

April 1, 2011 at 01:34 AM ·

How can we "tolerate" another's point of view if they do not share what their point of view is? If Christianity is offensive, doesn't tolerance demand that the offended one keep their mouth shut?  As far as Christianity being "superior", show me another religion whose founder was killed and then came back to life and is still living. Our God is the only Living God.

But back to the topic......

Ultimately the decision is between you and your God, you must follow your conscience.

April 1, 2011 at 04:37 AM ·

Hmmm..."a Church of Grumiaux"...I think I could really get on board with that! Except that Heifetz hath decreed "thou shalt have no other fiddlers before me".

(I probably should have quit this thread while I was way ahead!)

April 1, 2011 at 06:16 AM ·

I think we may benefit from deciding what 'professional musician' means, and the rest will probably be easier to fall into place.

Is a professional musician one that plays in a symphony/philharmonic? One that plays in a chamber group? One that teaches? One that makes a living from playing? All of these?

I think that someone is a professional because of their approach to the music; it becomes their avocation. Once someone is misfortunate enough to have the need to play, then they naturally gravitate to where they get a chance to do so.

I am an amateur, and always will be. I enjoy music, but not at the level of someone that thinks the score is just writing in a different language, and they can read (and more, comprehend the meaning) it as naturally as the newspaper.
That said, I have known professional musicians that work a day job to be able to afford their craft. I have known professional musicians that have thankfully been able to provide a good living on their chosen profession.

So, I think someone can be a professional viola player, and not play on Sunday (I do not feel the need to question why the OP does not play on Sunday; the best beliefs are personal, not public). I would say, however, that will limit where you can expect a career to go; if you recognize there will be options such as studio musician, you may be self-employed, you may play in groups, but as you gravitate to larger groups, it will be more challenging. If you put your energy into changing the groups so you fit, it will distract you from your primary purpose; to play music. I would try and chart a course that will allow you to be you, and maybe ask a different question than the one you originally posted. It is:

What options are available for me as a professional if I do not play on Sunday?

With luck, the responses will not degenerate to a question on why you do not play on Sunday, but will give you specific examples of options that will not require Sunday performances.

Note: Even though I am not a professional musician, I have made many decisions in my life to choose family and values over opportunities that would be more lucrative. I do not regret any of them. I do, however regret some choices I made in the other direction.

April 1, 2011 at 06:21 AM ·

Anne-Marie and Jim - I do play for recreation on Sundays, and old-age homes and the occasional church concert - just not anything money or education related, and I do love doing those things too.

 Well, it seems we have all established that we play for different reasons and that we don't all agree but should tolerate it. Which didn't exactly teach us anything new, except perhaps that discussion on it can tend to get a little un-friendly... and that the next war of the worlds may just be between the church of Grumiaux and the followers of Heifetzism.

 Smiley, yes, I know that a musician's life is difficult, and that this would make it even more difficult. I can work a part-time job at the side if I have to, but it's music that I really want to do, and I'm just wondering exactly what I can do with it, considering my 'limiting' habits. I'm wanting to know about the practical side of these things, not the debate about whether I'm doing the right thing or not. The comments that have addressed this practical aspect have been helpful and appreciated.

April 1, 2011 at 06:23 AM ·

Thanks for your suggestions an remarks (and I'm still learning!). I'm not yet ready to found a church, but I'll let you know.

In the meantime: Grumiaux Lives!

April 2, 2011 at 12:47 AM ·

Raphael -- last time I said on here that Heifetz's playing doesn't do anything for me, I was told by at least one person that I should leave this site, and another said "comments like that make me wonder if some people should not be allowed to express opinions."   So I'm not going to say anything ;-P

...except that I like Grumiaux.

April 2, 2011 at 01:04 AM ·

 @Jim, I'm sincerely curious about this:

"Lynae's contribution, the one right before yours, had no connection with proselytizing.  To proselytize is to try to convert someone else to one's own beliefs.  Lynae didn't do this; neither did anyone else in the thread."

But both you and Lynae wrote "this stuff works" and "this stuff really works."  To me, that actually does read as if you are trying to convert the reader (gently) to your point of view.  At least, it sounds to me like a statement with which a reader could legitimately disagree.  What if the "stuff" being referred to were shoulder rests?  Or finger tapes?  Or electronic tuners?  Then we'd be off and running again--in a very tiresome direction.  What makes this different?  

Just agreeing with Tobias' general points . . .

April 2, 2011 at 01:40 AM ·

Hi, happy to see that you still enjoy violin on Sundays!  If it's just the money issue, after all, not many want to work on weekends even though some have too.  

Good luck!

To the others:  Heifetzh or Grumiaux church!!  Could I start a Oistrakh church too? ; ) Though, in violin, god's position could be occupy by many!  Polytheist for sure... 


April 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM ·

There are many mansions in the violin house! ;-)

April 2, 2011 at 05:33 PM ·

You people with your Church of This or That Violinist!  You're a day late and a dollar short here.  If you ever find yourselves in Albuquerque on a Sunday morning, check out the Church of Beethoven.  They have a website, which I'm too technologically ignorant to post a link to, but that's why God gave us Google.

April 2, 2011 at 05:53 PM ·

"… 'this stuff works' ….  To me, that actually does read as if you are trying to convert the reader (gently) to your point of view. … What if the 'stuff' being referred to were shoulder rests?  Or finger tapes?  Or electronic tuners?"
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Karen, I know where you're coming from on this.  Of course, one crucial difference with shoulder rests and finger tapes and electronic tuners is that they aren't a matter of "whosoever will."

When I say that "this stuff [God's Word, the Bible] works," I'm stating what I know to be true from personal experience -- no proselytizing intended.  Others can take it or leave it.

On the other hand, if I tried to ram Heifetz and Oistrakh down people's throats at the Church of Grumiaux -- you guessed it -- they'd be telling me -- BTW, apologies to Fritz Kreisler and special thanks to member Sandy Marcus for the song titles:




April 2, 2011 at 08:42 PM ·

Maestro Herbert Blomstedt is a devout Seventh Day Adventist.  He will NOT rehearse on Saturday; which is their day of rest,  however he will perform concerts.

"""A devout Seventh-day Adventist, Blomstedt does not rehearse on Saturdays, the Sabbath in Seventh-day Adventism. He does, however, perform concerts, since he does not consider this to be work."""

April 2, 2011 at 09:00 PM ·

 Sorry @Jim, I'm just not following you.  What do you mean by "whosoever will"?  If someone said "shoulder rests work" and was speaking from personal experience but hadn't identified that as such explicitly, how would that be any different?  (Where I think it's different is that religious subjects are so personal and so heartfelt that the potential for hurt feelings is much higher than it would be for shoulder rests etc., so all the more reason to err on the side of caution and just not go there).

But anyway, back to the original topic.  I think the OP will have the most success with this if she is in charge--the soloist, the conductor, the big cheese.  When I was a postdoc at Caltech in the orchestra there, I had a stand partner who was a Seventh Day Adventist.  He was also the concertmaster and concerto competition winner for that concert.  Normally the orchestra rehearsed one Saturday morning before the concert.  For his concerto, however, the conductor moved the rehearsal from Saturday to another time when he could rehearse.  This wasn't a problem at all and the performance was a success, but I don't think that every rank and file violinist would have gotten the same consideration.

I play the viola too, and I love the instrument, so please don't take this as a criticism of viola or violists, but I think there are fewer opportunities for a violist to be a big cheese than a violinist. But you could be the founder or musical director of a chamber ensemble.  If you are the driving force and spokesperson you might even find a niche of like-minded clients who hire you in part because of shared values.  I think you will just need to find a way to be in charge, or at least in an executive, decision-making position.

April 3, 2011 at 01:13 AM ·


Music is one of those professions where the work-week is heavily weighted on the weekends, including Sundays.  Most private studio teachers that I know keep their studios open on Sundays after church and take their days off in the middle of the week.  The musician's life seems to be one that works when everyone else has the day off. 

Church music directors and pastors/ministers also 'work' on Sundays, so maybe there is a different approach available to you, one that is in harmony (no pun intended) with your beliefs and career aspirations. 

BYU has a marvelous music program that may give you some of the insight you are searching for. 

April 3, 2011 at 01:14 AM ·

"Jim, … what do you mean by "whosoever will"?  If someone said 'shoulder rests work' and was speaking from personal experience but hadn't identified that as such explicitly, how would that be any different?"
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Karen, what this someone may not know is that many players are better off without a shoulder rest -- e.g., because of natural build.  Some just can't use the SR at all.  The door is closed to them.

On the other hand, regarding "whosoever will" -- check out Rev. 22:17 and John 6:37-40, 44-45.  These verses are just a few affirming that anyone who truly desires to come to Christ can come.  The door is open.  That's one way these two subjects differ.

The aforementioned Vernon McGee once said, as I recall: "My job isn't to convert anyone or lead anyone to the Lord.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that.  My job is simply to get the Word of God out there."  He's on solid ground; there's plenty of material in the New Testament to back him up on this point.

On "religious subjects [being] so personal and so heartfelt that the potential for hurt feelings is much higher than it would be for shoulder rests": One reason for this is that people often confuse religion and faith -- when, in fact, these are two different things.  Much of what we call religion is man made.  Right there you have plenty of fuel for conflict and hurt feelings -- because pride, ego, exclusiveness, snobbery, judgmentalism, and bigotry often come into play.
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Back on the main subject yet again: I agree that the OP might well be better off as "the big cheese" -- she'll have to be the one to make the decision.  As I indicated earlier in the thread, orchestra work is something I excluded from my musical life at 21 -- not because of a situation like the OP's, but because I didn't want to do any more orchestra playing.  I had come to see that my niche was really in solo and small chamber.

Incidentally, the last symphonic concert I played, as I neared 21, was on a Sunday evening.

April 3, 2011 at 02:16 PM ·


Hi Judith,

I may be misinterpreting something, but...

If, as you describe, you "do play for recreation on Sundays, and old-age homes and the occasional church concert - just not anything money or education related."

Would the possibility of playing professionally on Sundays, but charitably donating those Sunday earnings, meet your needs? You might then increase the likelihood of having a successful career in music, could enjoy your efforts, would seemingly avoid the money issues, could please your audience, and, at the same time, truly help those in need.

(apogies if others suggested this...)

All the best,


April 3, 2011 at 07:42 PM ·

Hi Judith

Speaking as someone who plays in churches sometimes but not for religious reasons, I don't see that you necessarily have a problem, if you are a free-lance player. You can simply say you are otherwise engaged on Sundays. (They need not know its not other gigs, or be given a reason).

Where you will have a problem is if you get a full time permanent job in an orchestra, as thier schedule might well have a lot of Sunday concerts, and they might not be willing to let you off Sunday work.

So stay as a free lancer and you should be OK.

Sorry - on re-reading your original post I realise that you have already given up the option of a full time orchestral career.  But as a free lance player you could still be OK.

April 3, 2011 at 08:18 PM ·

Hi Judith,

You asked a fairly simple question, which seems to have become obscured by pursuit of your reasons for not wishing to work on Sundays. I suppose the answer to the simple question is this: unless you are so much in demand that you may write your work contract on your terms, you probably cannot avoid Sunday performance, even in chamber music. 

As for the broader philosophical or theological discussion, you might do well to consider the parable of the talents.

April 3, 2011 at 11:04 PM ·

Hi Judith,

I am a Christian, too. I think the best advice I can give you is to pray for God to reveal his will to you. If he wills you to not perform on Sundays, I know there are many orchestras in this country that do not perform on Sundays. Most of our concerts at Missouri State University are on weekdays. I believe in the past our only Sunday concerts have been oratorios which almost always are meant to praise God. Check it out at We can always use good string players. We give out good scholarships. Another great advantage of our school is that there is a Master's program. There is also the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in our community that performs on Saturday Nights. It's a good orchestra and a decent gig. You can find them at Another exciting part of our community is the String Project in which student string players teach elementary-age children to play stringed instruments. There are lots of great opportunities here. There are also many Christian organizations on campus. It would be a good thing for you to look into.

God Bless,

Jenny (Strings Graduate Assistant at MSU)

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