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 Re: How good do you have to be?
Author: JAS 
Date:   2018-01-15 20:52

That's a good question. I don't know where you're at or how old you are, but this is the advice (whether I'm qualified to give it or not) that I would give myself 10 years or so ago:

Go listen to great musicians, and you'll hear how good you need to be. Don't compare yourself to the kids at the all state auditions. Listen to the principal oboe, horn, cello, clarinet, etc of the major orchestras and ask yourself:
Are you willing to GET as good as you need to be?

In order to be the kind of musician that's worth having around, you have to work VERY hard, for a long time. This isn't just true of music, by the way. A lot of the academic fields are like this. I know someone who, foolishly, studied archaeology because they liked Indiana Jones. The people who contribute MEANINGFULLY to a field like archaeology, history, physics, etc are the people who are intensely absorbed with the field. They're happy to engage with it in their free time. They think about it and read about it for fun. A philosophy undergrad who doesn't devour the work of great philosophers because he or she ENJOYS it will never have anything meaningful to contribute as a PhD candidate.
The classmate who studied archaeology, needless to say, is not working in that field.

I know plenty of people who can lay down the Mendelssohn scherzo at 90 like it's nothing, but they don't THINK about music. They don't give a rip about the artistry of *insert great pianists, singers, violinists, etc.* What the solo in the second movement of Beethoven's 6th actually SAYS, musically speaking, doesn't really matter, as long as it's in time and they sound as much like Ricardo Morales as possible.

I don't really care if someone tells me my fingers aren't fast enough (or something like that.) I'm very confident that I can fix whatever ever I need to fix in order to get the results that I have in my ear. I've been overcoming problems that I never thought I would overcome. (That's not say that I'll be fine if I DON'T fix those problems. If you can't play the notes, you're not going anywhere.)
The problem is:
1) It takes thousands of hours of work.
2) It takes thousands of hours of the RIGHT work.
A lot of people practice 4 hours a day. A lot of people also waste 3 of those hours doing work that's easier than the kind of work that focuses intensely on improving your weaknesses.

And at the end of the day, the odds of you having the kind of career stability that other fields enjoy are almost zero. Is that ok with you? Do you enjoy the idea of teaching? Can you organize yourself enough to, essentially, live the life of a contractor in a saturated field?

I don't think it's impossible, and don't let anyone tell you that you're not good enough, but if you aren't willing to GET good enough, it doesn't matter how much you enjoy classical music. That can be empowering or discouraging. Find a teacher and get to work.

Sorry for the long post. This article by the principal timpanist of the Met is helpful:

https://jasonhaaheim.com/i-dont-care-how-good-you-are-i-care-about-the-trajectory-youre-willing-to-set/



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 Topics Author  Date
 How good do you have to be?  new
J-MB 2018-01-15 03:10 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
kdk 2018-01-15 03:39 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
J-MB 2018-01-15 03:48 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-01-15 06:46 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
dorjepismo 2018-01-15 18:18 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
JAS 2018-01-15 20:52 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Hank Lehrer 2018-01-15 21:27 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
J-MB 2018-01-16 03:21 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
JF Clarinet 2018-01-16 07:46 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
dorjepismo 2018-01-16 20:26 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-01-17 07:39 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
rmk54 2018-01-17 18:23 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Hank Lehrer 2018-01-17 18:58 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
J-MB 2018-01-18 03:56 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Hank Lehrer 2018-01-18 16:34 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Bennett 2018-01-20 09:35 
 Re: How good do you have to be?  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-01-20 10:28 


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