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 Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2004-03-31 06:22

A friend of mine who was an extremely accomplished clarinetist, with excellent active professional playing credentials and university teaching experience, recently told me he quit the clarinet totally. He sold everything and decided to embark on a new career. He is now employed as a 1st grade classroom teacher and is also teaching scuba diving part time.

After getting over the initial shock as to what he did, we talked and he explained that the constant practicing and striving for perfection for hours each day eventually became too much. He realized that there was much more to life then being (his words) "chained to a practice room" and "never seeing the outdoors." He said that he is now infinitely happier and has a better outlook on life in general.

What struck me the most was his comment that "the greatest weight has now been lifted off my shoulders" and "I am now enjoying the things in life which I neglected for the past 25 years". "The daily pressure to stay on top of my game is no longer something I have to worry about." "I get up each morning refreshed, and actually think my overall physical and mental health have improved".

Although it is something I can't see myself ever doing, I do wonder about some of the interesting points he makes.

Comments?

...GBK



 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: ksclarinetgirl 
Date:   2004-03-31 06:49

To me, playing the clarinet is like doing anything else right in life: it takes hours of hard work, but the finished product, such as a recital, is absolutely worth it. Sure, it gets frustrating being in the practice rooms, and it gets frustrating when you can't spend time with your friends, but playing the clarinet is a joy for me. Finally being able to play a piece that I've been working on for months and I've wanted to play for years has given me an incredible sense of satisfaction, pride, and accomplishment. That is why I play the clarinet :)

Stephanie :o)

"Vita Brevis, Ars Longa"

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2004-03-31 07:00

As a quick question, didn't Artie Shaw pretty much quit the same way? Just decided never to touch a clarinet again and kept to that decision?

As for comments on this situation, well, I don't know. I can understand health improving if he had been unkowingly STIFLING his health. For instance, you say now he scuba dives more. That's healthy aerobic exercise. And if he had been sacrificing 'workout' time to practice, then I can see why his health would obviously increase and why he'd have more energy. Also, out of curiousity, how long ago did he quit?

I'm also wondering why he decided to quit cold turkey and not still play for fun or join a community band. He had to enjoy it at SOME point in order to play it professionally in the first place. I would have thought that he might've just taken a large step back instead of stopping altogether. But perhaps he had been in it too long and gotten TOO fed up with it. At any point, that'd make an interesting conversation. Also, ask him if there's any way he can 'transfer' his skills to me? I know a great witch doctor who might be able to do the trick. And it looks like he's not going to be using them right now . . . [wink]

On the overall situation though, as of right now I think it looks like a good decision. He says he's extremely happy with the change. And in my book, our happiness is really what we should strive for in life. And it looks like he's attained it. Sure it may shock those around him, but if he can sincerely apply the word "happier" to his decision, I say more power to him! It probably was something he was wrestling with for a while and it took a lot of guts to give up something you're obviously good at, not to mention something that is YOUR WAY OF LIFE to start anew. Especially after having spent so much time of every day to attain a high level of profiency. I personally applaud his decision and if I ever met him would wish him the best of luck.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2004-03-31 07:17

sfalexi... I think one of the biggest reasons he quit was that he was a perfectionist and constantly worried before each performance whether he was prepared enough and how it would turn out. Although he always played beautifully, the pressure before each performance would find him as a basket of nerves. He did admit to me that he took beta blockers (?) to help deal with the stress. He never took vacations for fear of losing practice time and being away from the clarinet for an extended period.

On a personal note, I just did miss out on getting his set of Buffets (they went to someone in Florida) but I did get one of his Kaspar mouthpieces.

So it wasn't a total loss [wink] ...GBK

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Anonymous 
Date:   2004-03-31 07:20

I can identify with your friend about quitting clarinet, as this what I will be doing at the end of this semester (I'm a master's student). While he has much more experience and much higher credentials than me, I completely relate to his reasons for quitting. Clarinet is something that used to be fun, and that changed for me due to several factors that took place over time, mostly in the past year. It can be very tiring to have to do something you've grown to dislike for several hours each day; I suppose this relates to why people have something like an average of 7 different careers in a lifetime, and it can certainly affect physical and mental health. However, I do hope to approach the instrument again sometime in the future, on my own terms, simply for fun, and go from there. For now, I'm looking forward to beginning a different program of study that caught my interest and to having time to actually experience music (and everything else in life) from outside the practice and rehearsal rooms. Hope this provides a little perspective, and best of luck to your friend in his new endeavors.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Synonymous Botch 
Date:   2004-03-31 11:13

You mean he threw overboard the dead weight in his life, and dove in after the lot? The nerve!

He must have read some Aristotle... about balance anyway.

I have no idea what he must be going through - but to give up 25 years of effort seems extreme (at least).

Did he buy a little red Miata, too?

*******
Around here, going middle-age crazy means changing the part in your hair.

-OR-

Painting the shutters *gasp* blue!

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: hans 
Date:   2004-03-31 12:14

GBK,
If your friend had to give up the clarinet to control his stress/blood pressure (I presume the beta blockers were for blood pressure), I can readily understand his decision, since Beta blockers have nasty side effects that diminish the quality of life significantly.
Chacun a son gout; I think some of us would find teaching elementary school at least as stressful as clarinet performance.
Good luck to him in his new career.
Hans

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: ohsuzan 
Date:   2004-03-31 12:26

Well, I can relate to the experience of your clarinetist friend, although my subject area differs.

As I kid, I was a voracious reader and a gifted writer. I took my undergraduate degree in English Literature, won the department prize for the "most likely to succeed", went on to graduate school at a top national institution in the field, and garnered significant praise for my work. I sat for my doctoral qualifiers, and passed with flying colors. But something funny happened on my way to a career in literary academe: I began to LOATHE reading. To this day (many years down the pike), I simply cannot pick up a piece of fiction or poetry. "Disinterest" is too mild a term for my change of heart. I actively dislike the process of sitting and reading. I occasionally enjoy nonfiction, but I read for the information, not for the art.

I think this phenomenon is sometimes called "burnout". But maybe it is an artifact of this reality we are facing, wherein many of us will live long enough and roam far enough to discover that what was fundamental to our youth does not nurture or sustain us as we mature. It has been suggested that in the future, we will not have one partner for life, or one career for life, because our expectations about life itself have changed. A hundred years ago, one typically stayed in or near the community in which he or she was born, married for life, chose a vocation based on one's parents' vocation, retired after 40 or 50 years of work in that vocation (whether or not it was personally gratifying work), and died soon afterwards.

That's just not the model any more. Today, virtually no one I know has stayed in the community where he or she was born; virtually no one I know has followed in the professional footsteps of a parent; and virtually no one I know is working in the job for which they originally trained or into which they were initially hired. I do know a few folks who are partnered with the same people they chose at the outset, but I know at least as many who are not. And I do know a large number of people who are vital and creative in their 80s and beyond, far past the traditional retirement years.

I suspect this is the "new normal".

Susan

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Rev. Avery 
Date:   2004-03-31 12:26

25 years of doing something well is an admirable achievement. Nothing wrong with wanting to change to accomplish other achievements in one's life, IMHO. Burnout is more of a reality for some than others.

Or, maybe the rewards weren't what he expected/hoped for/strove after. Maybe he accomplished most of his expectations. Maybe he'll come back after a hiatus. Sometimes a break from something enables it to bloom again.

I wish him well and hope his new journey will be rewarding for him.



 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2004-03-31 13:21

GBK said . . .
Quote:

On a personal note, I just did miss out on getting his set of Buffets (they went to someone in Florida)
I'm sure you REALLY needed that one extra Bb too! [right] haha!

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2004-03-31 14:21

Some very interesting thoughts on this thread. A couple of comments- The question was posed "I'm also wondering why he decided to quit cold turkey and not still play for fun or join a community band..(etc)"

I have often thought that if I were to quit playing, I would go cold turkey, although I might not sell everything immediately. After having pursued this for so many years and having worked to attain a high professional level, the pursuit of perfection can lead to not being satisfied with anything less. The fact that it can be impossible to reach one's own expectations might become a great frustration. I know if I were to quit, playing in casual groups or community bands would be more frustrating for me than not playing at all. I also agree that what does it for a person in their youth may not hold the same appeal in maturity.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2004-03-31 14:22

Hans -

I'm on a beta blocker (for health reasons rather than stress) and have not noticed any side effects. Please let me know the effects you have found.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: wyatt 
Date:   2004-03-31 14:36

some people have to be the best or forget it. i.e. bobby fisher-----after he won the chess championship he quit. he couldn't play for fun anymore. he had everything to lose and nothing to gain.
now take me ----- i have no where to go but up.o

bob gardner}ÜJ

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Ralph G 
Date:   2004-03-31 15:06

I work at a community college and recently had a week off for spring break. The two groups I play in also took the week off from rehearsals. For nearly two weeks I didn't pick up the clarinet. Instead I went to the gym nearly every day, walked the dog twice a day, had lunch with my wife, cleaned the house, shampooed the carpets, washed the car, took naps, and hosted a friend from out of town for a night. Not that I would've used ALL that time on the clarinet, but it was one less thing to take up time.

I'd be hard pressed to say I didn't miss it, but, man, did I have a lot of time to do other stuff I enjoy (yes, I enjoy cleaning the house). It was a nice break, and if I didn't play and practice the clarinet, I'd have little trouble filling those hours with other activities. But soon enough I'd miss it terribly. I DID miss it terribly when I didn't play a note for three years, which is why I've been back at it with a vengeance the past two years. Other guys play golf or hunt or fish; I play the clarinet.

I'm not sure what activity I'd do other than the clarinet. I've always wanted to learn to fly, but that's a mighty expensive hobby, plus there's this underlying fear of dying in a crash -- I have plane crash dreams every now and again, and four years ago at an air show I witnessed an Air Force F-16 pilot kill himself when he didn't pull out of a split-S in time. I tried model aircraft collecting during that three-year lull, but that got boring. I don't think anything could top music, so there's no sense in my giving it up completely.

But, man, that first rehearsal back was hell on the chops...e h

________________

Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.

- Pope John Paul II

Post Edited (2004-03-31 15:14)

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: ron b 
Date:   2004-03-31 15:07

The difference is, Bob, you're one of a kind. They can't find any other place to put you... 'cept Up, when you're ready  :)

- r[cool]n b -

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Clarinetist 
Date:   2004-03-31 15:25

Yes, it´s hard to practise and have the pressure on you, but I think that the music will reward you multiple after all!

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: paulwl 
Date:   2004-03-31 15:52

(GBK, very slightly out of context) >> "the greatest weight has now been lifted off my shoulders" and "I am now enjoying the things in life which I neglected for the past 25 years". "The daily pressure to stay on top of my game is no longer something I have to worry about." "I get up each morning refreshed, and actually think my overall physical and mental health have improved".
[...] it is something I can't see myself ever doing <<

Could it just be that you thrive under pressure and you friend doesn't?

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2004-03-31 17:09

paulwl... I think you are correct.

Some people don't mind the pressure, others fear it like the plague.

Upon talking to some professional colleagues about the entire above situation, many agreed that "selling all your equipment" is often a very common (albeit drastic) reaction to burnout.

They commented that divesting oneself of all remnants of a prior situation was (in some people's minds) the only way to really start anew ...GBK



 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: hans 
Date:   2004-03-31 17:16

Anyone interested in the side effects of beta blockers can find them described here:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?objectid=4F929523-E5D2-46A3-937850E1C6D5A8E5

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: chuck 
Date:   2004-04-01 04:29

Thirteen years ago, I did pretty much the same thing including selling all the horns, took the Social Security, and ran. A little over three years ago, I got the urge to buy a clarinet and started playing again, but on a much limited basis: I've been playing duets or trios with some of the old contemporaries at Convalescent Homes, Hospitals, etc., and enjoying it immensely. But I never realized that I would miss playing so much. The "ham" survived: found out that I still enjoyed playing for an audience and being appreciated for the talents still there. Compensation? The gratitude expressed for bringing music to shut-ins is the best reward I've ever experienced in the business. Chuck

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: LeWhite 
Date:   2004-04-01 10:30

Such a smart man! I know exactly how he feels, and good on him for finding happiness.
The meaning of life is to find happiness, and he found it. I envy him so much!

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-01 14:40

Why not just play and practice as much as you want? I think one problem with being a professioinial music or lesson teacher is that it makes something you love into something that you have to do. I have about 48 students, and by the time I get done teaching during the week, the last thing I want to do on the weekend (when I have practice time) is look at a clarinet.

I still do recitals for fun at my college, I just tailor them to my needs. Last year I did a recital of very difficult music. This year I'm busier with work and school so I picked pieces that wouldn't require me to practice 5 hours a day (they're still difficult, but I can throw them together quickly).

I agree with a previous poster about seeking happiness as a major goal in life. You have to wonder if, maybe, he could have recognized his burn out early and changed his habits to hopefully salvages some of his playing, even if he only played occassionally for fun.

DH

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: William 
Date:   2004-04-01 14:56

I have often though of quitting the clarinet--and sax, flute...music in general--just to avoid having to play either "Alley Cat" or "Proud Mary" (often called "Roll'n Down the River" by the father of the bride) one more time.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: paulwl 
Date:   2004-04-01 17:18

(GBK) >> Some people don't mind the pressure, others fear it like the plague. <<

Some resist it. Others crave it.

(Pope John Paul II, via Ralph G) >> Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it. <<

I hate to slam on the Pope, but I don't buy this idea of talent as something "wasteable." Unless you totally fry your brain with drugs or something and can no longer function. Talent unused does not curdle or rot all by itself. You have to make that happen.

I suspect His Holiness thinks of talent as a sort of "vital fluid," in the old Christian moralist sense. Something that you only get a fixed amount of, and that you are always liable to, er, spill upon the ground.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Henry 
Date:   2004-04-01 17:49

The message of Paul is quite clear:
His Holiness has one big fear.
"Practice" shouldn't be done all alone,
in private or even by phone.
It should always involve wifey dear.

Henry

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: AJ 
Date:   2004-04-01 18:27

Hi,

I had an experience that made me question my clarinet playing. I know I havent even started college yet but I know playing the clarinet is going to part of my life.

My grandmother had slipped and broken her leg and had a serious head injury, she needed a lot of blood and she got metal parts put in her. When I saw her in the hospital crippled, vulnerable, I was going to cry.

I had a concert that night. The same night after I visited her. During the performance, I was wondering why I wasnt there to look after her, or why dont I become a doctor in order to help all these people that are hurt, all Ive done is put a fancy suit on and performed infront of people.

I dont know, I get confused thinking about it, but for some reason I cannot imagine leaving the clarinet, in some way i feel like in persuing my goals in music I am leaving so much out, but still, I wouldnt quit the clarinet...

Oh well, if your friend is happy in life, why should you worry, isnt that what everybody wants? Just to be happy?

AJ

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: DougR 2017
Date:   2004-04-01 19:42

I think the dilemma here is to find a way to function as a musician at a really high professional level, WITHOUT the terror of potential (and often very public) mistakes lurking ahead.

I can't help thinking it has to do with how forgiving one can be to oneself about one's mistakes. Obsessive bouts of long-term practice, that don't contain any sense of creativity or fun or appreciation for the beauty one is creating, sound to me like attempts to defend against the terror of mistakes.

I'm curious about how Board contributors who DO function in high-visibility, high-pressure situations balance the demands of honing one's art to its highest level, on the one hand, and cutting oneself a break, on the other. Any comments on THAT one?

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Tom J. 
Date:   2004-04-02 02:03

Who can say what makes someone happy ?

In my case I had committed as a teen to a career in performance, but I had many other interests, paintiing, sports, science, literature. I was dedicated to Music many years before I took up the clarinet, it became another outlet for artistic expression.

After winning some competitions and scholarships I attended a conservatory and was very content, even though then, in the sixties, I could see inherent fiscal problems in the Music biz.

As a grad student at I.U. I became enchanted with computers and added that to my repertoire.

After playing in a few orchestras and bands I moved to the West coast to become a freelancer, a career change that definitely "encouraged" me to develop and employ my computer skills.

Twenty years later as a computer professional (along with many other musicians, by the way) I perform regularly with orchestras and chamber ensembles (including a Middle Eastern group) and I am very thankful for the
lane change I made. Otherwise I might have chucked it all, like your friend.

Many of my classmates and friends are perfectly happy and have wonderful lives performing and teaching their chosen instruments.

But, I also had a friend who was Associate Principal in a major orchestra. For reasons unknown he quit his position, moved West and joined an orchestra of much lower stature. For a while he was OK but ultimately he lost his prosperity, his wife, and his health, which deteriorated severely. When the orchestra folded he taught public school and became very morose. His recent passing was very disturbing to me because we were the same age. His whole life was contained in his career, and when that went so did he.

My take on it is this: Music sounds much sweeter when you can listen to more than one tune, and when the bills are paid.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2004-04-02 03:16

Tom J. wrote:

> My take on it is this: Music sounds much sweeter when you can
> listen to more than one tune, and when the bills are paid.


I like that quote very much and just may use it, with your permission...GBK

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Wes 
Date:   2004-04-02 07:17

At one time, I simply ran out of time for clarinet practice and just played it as a double during gigs. It was kind of a relief as I also gave up the orchestral position I had at the time. There are only so many hours in the day.

Later on, I laid the saxophone down as well for lack of time and that I had decided to seriously take up the oboe.

Now, I have worked up my skills on all these instruments and find that very little goes away. You don't improve during layoffs, however. One should not feel guilty for doing what is necessary to have a good life.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-04-02 09:13

I think that quitting is very understandable, given the nature of orchestral and studio work. That quest for perfection--coupled with the exposure involved--seems like it would be enough to drive you mad.

I've seen some terrific players quit when they don't reach their professional goals, but I've also seen some take it back up at a more manageable level and be relatively happy with their lot.

In the long run, curiosity is often a much better motivator than status or perfectionism.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Clarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-02 11:16

Wise words Allen, wise words!

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2004-04-03 02:28

At the end of October 1962, I played a gig (director and lead alto/Clarinet) at the Fort Bragg Officers' Club. That was the last time I ever played a Clarinet, sax, flute, or anything else for real money.

At that timey life was not pleasing to me, for reasons haviong nothing to do with music. I thought, "Now, for something completely different." I moved to a new job in a new place. And I didn't play a Clarinet more than a few hours total for the next thirty-eight years or so. Now, I'm playing again, enjoying it, and the people who listen seem to enjoy it, too.

But I was not suffering the difficulties of the person under discussion. Check the text and replies: worry. worry... fear... worry... fear.... This is no way to go through life. Maybe it's too bad that the person who quit had not had some counseling to minimize the fear of mistakes, which was perhaps related to a fear of personal rejection.

If you worry about your perfection, you can't enjoy performing. If you can't enjoy performing, don't perform. Evidently some believe if you can't perform, don't play.

Regards,
John
never good enough to worr

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Brenda 
Date:   2004-04-03 14:01

About the fear of making mistakes - at one recent orchestra concert the music critic of the local newspaper was sitting in the audience with the score of, get this, "Variaciones Concertante" by Ginastera. Afterwards he interviewed the clarinetist and asked him if he got all the notes! How about the concertmaster, or the horn player or the bass player? I wrote to the paper and told them that the music critic should read the score at home, then attend the concert with his heart just as the rest of the audience does - the audience was enraptured, but apparently he wasn't. What he did appears so juvenile.

The job is hard enough - musicians need regular encouragement for the tremendous job they're accomplishing.

The other thought that I see coming through some of these comments should be emphasized as well - if a musician can realize the effect his or her music has on their listeners they'd feel more rewarded. To see the facial expressions, to hear their comments afterwards and know that music can be a healer, would help the musician to enjoy his performance more while playing instead of viewing it as just a job. Then of course, leading a more balanced life...



 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2004-04-03 16:33

Quote:

About the fear of making mistakes - at one recent orchestra concert the music critic of the local newspaper was sitting in the audience with the score of, get this, "Variaciones Concertante" by Ginastera. Afterwards he interviewed the clarinetist and asked him if he got all the notes!
I hope the clarinet replied answered with, "You have the score. You tell me!" Or at least a sarcastic "No. Not a single one. And you can quote me on that!" Such a question I think deserves such an answer.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: ginny 
Date:   2004-04-03 23:21

I made my living on classical guitar, and quit so that I could see my kids grow up. After going to school my working hours would have been their free hours.

I disliked the pressure for perfection, and never was up to the mark frankly. I am able to enjoy the clarinet since I have no drive or expectation to play all that well, only to improve. I still dislike performing however and only do it because it is part of any group that plays pretty much. Occasionally I get a bout of perfectionism/professionalism and get pretty unhappy with my abilities.

There's a rumor that Casals the great cellist fell and injured himself. He though he might never play again and was rumored to have said that it was a great relief to have the battle over.

Don't they have those patch thingys, aren't those to make it easier to go cold turkey? I put one on my mouthpiece, but I am still unable to stop playing.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Amy Tindall 
Date:   2004-04-04 00:22

Everyone talks how the drive of being perfect and the expectations in playing clarinet to be so stressful, but isn't that what makes it so great?

After you've been working on a piece- all the practicing and "drive"- and you've finally get to play it when it counts... It feels really good to know that you worked extra hard for that feeling of accomplishment and relief. And even if your totally dissapointed with the performance... it gives you something to strive for.

I just can't possibly see myself "quitting" clarinet. Or understand why anyone would simply ?quit? playing. It hurts to even say it.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: paulwl 
Date:   2004-04-04 01:15

>> Everyone talks how the drive of being perfect and the expectations in playing clarinet to be so stressful, but isn't that what makes it so great? <<

Yes -- as long as it doesn't get out of hand. A psychologist I know puts it this way: "Perfection is a magnificent quest and a miserable goal."

When you strive long hours to bring the highest quality realization you are capable of to a great work of music -- that is a quest, a journey equal or greater in reward to any performance. When you do it only in fear of the unforgivable sin of one bad note -- then it is only a goal, and one that in the end will take a lot out of you in return for a really transitory, impermanent achievement.

I think perfectionists would be better off being idealists. An idealist is just a perfectionist without the neurosis.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Amy Tindall 
Date:   2004-04-04 01:35

"When you strive long hours to bring the highest quality realization you are capable of to a great work of music -- that is a quest, a journey equal or greater in reward to any performance. When you do it only in fear of the unforgivable sin of one bad note -- then it is only a goal, and one that in the end will take a lot out of you in return for a really transitory, impermanent achievement."

I understand where you are coming from, but in my experience, the quest you are taking is what gets you to that goal. [All] musicians have the fear of the unforgivable bad note, and yes it may take alot from you, but gives you so much in return. Giving and taking in the performing situation, I feel, that the giving will have a greater ratio. I just can't conceive the thought of having any acheivement be impermanent. If you took the time and heart (the quest) to reach that performance (goal), I think it sticks with you no matter the outcome.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2004-04-04 01:40

Amy Tindall said;

> It feels really good to know that you worked extra hard
> for that feeling of accomplishment and relief.
> And even if your totally dissapointed with the
> performance... it gives you something to strive for


You may someday see that there is a world of difference between playing in a high school band and performing professionally on a daily basis, where your reputation and paycheck are often on the line...GBK



 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Amy Tindall 
Date:   2004-04-04 02:01

I may be a high school student playing in the high school band, but does this mean I have no passion for music or no knowledge of the real world? I am definetely aware of my future and know that life as a musician will probably lead to a future of being broke and little time for other things... But it gives me some to strive for... yes I said strive GBK. If your in music for the pay check and reputation... Well I feel thats pretty lame. My words may not matter much to you but don't treat me like I'm absolutely clueless of the real world. I'm not.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2004-04-04 03:22

Gee, it would've been nice to have lived back in the times when a friendly Monarch, or Prince, or Doge, or something like that would be a Patron of the Arts and just keep throwing money your way. Thus, especially if the VIP of note couldn't tell an augmented fifth from a peanut butter sandwich, you could just go on living on someone else's gelt until the cows decided to come home -- or until the Big Dude croaked, whichever came first.

Life is not like that today. Professional activities (more commonly viewed as "work") have two sides: you do your thing, and you get paid. Without the bux, it's all over. Being broke may have bizarre appeal to some, but being able to have your formal attire cleaned and pressed is rather a prerequisite to certain performing. If you don't do your thing well enough to keep getting the bux, you'd better change your thing, no matter how much you may be crazy in love with it, or you will be perpetually on the dole. Most jurisdictions will no longer allow this. Those who work for a living seem to have grown weary of permanently supporting those who decline the opportunity to support themselves.

Commercial art is not crass, it's a way of life and has been for a very long time. Michelangelo Buonarotti did not paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the glory of art; he painted it for lots of money. He had to eat, too, just like the rest of us, and he wanted to use his talent and skill to eat well.

Excuse me, now I'm going to think about running away to join the Circus.

Okay, I decided not to do it. Sounds like fun, but I need to keep making house payments for a while.

Regards,
John

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: chuck 
Date:   2004-04-04 05:28

Amy: No matter the field of endeavor, in the real world, pay checks and reputation are what makes all the years of preparation meaningful. This is not to impugn "cluelessness" . . it just means that you'll be acquiring more clues as you journey on. Chuck

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2004-04-04 05:38

Amy... As I wrote previously, on a different but related thread:

When you are young, the notion of being a "professional clarinetist" sounds noble and intriguing.

However, after a few years, when your friends have moved on and bought their own homes, have retirement plans in place, have disposable income, medical benefits, and treat themselves to the better things in life, the "professional clarinetist" monicker loses its luster very quickly.

A struggling musician is not a pretty sight...GBK (retired public school music educator and still an active big band and orchestral performer)

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: Amy Tindall 
Date:   2004-04-04 15:07

Obviously the struggle of money, will always be and issue... I see it in my own home (who doesn't at these times?). I don't think you understand the type of person I am though. I can't say I don't need or want money, of course I do. But I didn't grow up hoping to be a grocier at the local grocery store. Or the accountant at the bank. I grew up to be a musician and not throw it away for pety things. More power to those of you who can get out there and make abundant amounts of money. But I'm looking forward to being that "weird musicians that lives on ramen noodles." Even if I may be the greatest clarinetist to walk through Kent City. I'm still not looking OR expecting that life of money. How many clarinet players do you see that show there houses on cribs? None. So it's very clear in my eyes. It may sound like one of those cheesy motivational speeches.. But thats who I am.

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: hans 
Date:   2004-04-04 18:11

I was never more impressed by Maslow's Hierarchy theory of motivation than after reading this thread, especially Tom J.'s "Music sounds much sweeter when you can listen to more than one tune, and when the bills are paid". Wonderful!
Hans

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: claclaws 
Date:   2004-04-09 14:22

Loved to read this thread (rather belatedly,though).

Personally, I was a bit surprised by the candid discussion about money. it seems very realistic.


Brenda and Ken, I quoted you in my web. Thanks for your insightful comments.

Lucy Lee Jang


Post Edited (2004-04-09 14:52)

 
 Re: Quitting the clarinet cold turkey - Benefits?
Author: john gibson 
Date:   2004-04-11 16:28

This thread is so long ...I'm not sure anyone will get to my response. But here it is. I played Rock and Roll drums for years in SanFrancisco during the HEYDAY.....stopped to get a "proper" paycheck and support my family.
Do I miss drumming? YESSSSSS........more than I can express....not only was it a musical expression.....it was aerobic exercise. Unlike clarinetting.....
I hope someday to re-enter the world of drums.....but need to find a place in the country....away from those who'd have a problem with the "noise".
I played HARD....and miss hitting those skins......
NOW.....am wondering,.....how to play clarinet and drums at the same time...

JG

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