Posted by Jay Bertolet on June 28, 1999 at 22:58:23:
In Reply to: Do you still enjoy playing for $$? posted by Leland on June 28, 1999 at 15:18:13:
What can I say? I LOVE doing what I do. And believe you me, it isn't because of the great hours, or the wads of cash, or the chicks, or anything else you might imagine. Being a symphony tubist was best described by the late John Fletcher. He described it as like trying to get on a merry-go-round that is already going full tilt. The tubist's life is always an exercise in trying to catch up with the flow of an orchestra. For every moment of musical bliss there are 4 moments that range from musical blah to musical agony. Dealing with symphony boards is mostly like going to the dentist for double root canal surgery. Conductors are no different.
But those moments when it all comes together and you walk out of a performance knowing you made unfathomable art are priceless. The moments on stage seem to last an eternity. Afterwards, you see it on the audience's faces and hear it in people's voices. You know you've touched people in a way almost nobody else can. There is an excitement and a satisfaction in that which no words can describe.
Do I enjoy music any less because I'm paid to do it? For me the answer is no but there is a caveat. Two things are noticably different for me since I got my job. First, I worry all the time about how I play because it means so much to me to go out on stage and give the audience the magic that they've paid for. And they pay every night. This doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the art but it definitely puts that enjoyment in a new perspective. Secondly, I don't listen to other music performances as much as I used to because it just isn't as fulfilling an activity if I'm not involved in creating the performance. Also, I find the concentration of musical performance a mentally taxing activity and I try to relax more when I'm not at work. It keeps the batteries fresh!