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 Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2005-08-02 17:31

The Pittsburgh Ballet will use only recorded music from now on.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05214/547403.stm

[mad]

Ken Shaw

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: larryb 
Date:   2005-08-02 18:00

add another name to the list of jerkwater towns

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: crnichols 
Date:   2005-08-02 18:07

That's terrible, everytime I've gone to a ballet and they used recorded music, I definitely noticed a huge difference in the overall effect of the performance... After doing that twice, I resolved never to go to another ballet performance that used a recording as it simply wasn't enjoyable.
Christopher Nichols
1st Infantry Division Band

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Synonymous Botch 
Date:   2005-08-02 18:16

Here's the truth, kiddies -

The Ballet draws bupkis for attendance and the last place Penguins still turn a profit... if The Arts want to survive at the highest level, they need to generate sufficient appeal to put butts in the seats.

The last entertaining ballet I saw was "The Envelope" from David Parsons.
Was it highbrow? Nope.
Was it a difficult piece for the ensemble? You bet.

Was the music live? I didn't see the pit...

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2005-08-02 18:25

So what do we tell the next young aspiring clarinetist that wants to make a career of performing and asks our collective advice?

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2005-08-02 18:34

This question gets asked all the time. It would be interesting to do a study of exactly how many performance majors exist at the college/university level, and follow them over a ten year period to see whether they are able to fashion a living out of music performance and teaching. Possibly somebody's thesis project?

At what point can the union get involved in something like this?
Sue Tansey

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-02 18:36

David Spiegelthal wrote:

> So what do we tell the next young aspiring clarinetist
> that wants to make a career of performing and asks
> our collective advice?


Before or after we stop laughing? ...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bradley 
Date:   2005-08-02 18:51

Thanks.


Bradley

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: chedmanus 
Date:   2005-08-02 19:11

Your thoughts are much appreciated GBK, Ive had it with this board.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-02 19:24

chedmanus:

Do I really need to explain the situation in detail for you?

The future of live (orchestral) music? Disappearing

The odds of winning an orchestral job? Not good

The security of an orchestral job? Not great.

The job market for clarinetists? Poor

The chances of making a living strictly playing the clarinet? Not going to happen.

The stability and liklihood of symphony orchestras financially surviving the next 25 years? Tenuous, at best.


Sure... follow your dreams, follow your heart, set your goals high...

But -

Each year (just in this country alone), conservatories and universities graduate hundreds of clarinetists whose playing ability borders on the unbelieveable. We've all heard many of them play.

The sad fact is that most will never earn a dime by strictly just playing the clarinet.

There is just no place for them to play.

All too quickly, it will become apparent that playing the audition roulette circuit, for even the most dedicated, takes its toll very quickly, both financially and mentally.

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

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. The dream dies hard and fast.

A struggling musician is not a pretty sight...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2005-08-02 19:38

Being a student in Pittsburgh, I can affirm the fact that they are not going to gain much popularity from this move. They aren't the most sought after ticket in Pittsburgh anyways, the PSO dwarfs them. It says that she expects to restore live music in the 2006-2007 season. It is a shame that this has happened (Pittsburgh can definitely boast an avid and alive classical music/opera scene) but it was inevitible. They can't afford to pay for musicians/music and they're certainly not going to get any help from the local government (which is bankrupt thanks to our wonderful mayor). At least the PSO will still be live! And Michael Rusinek is playing Mozart this season (well, at least it's something...though I'd rather hear something...ANYTHING other than Mozart). Actually they have a pretty good season of music coming up: Rite of Spring, several of Strauss' tone poems, Carmina Burana, etc.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2005-08-02 19:40

haha, GBK, cut and paste that response...I think I've seen it word for word 4 or 5 times.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2005-08-02 19:47

Rather than chastising GBK, you could thank him for patiently outlining the realities of the situation, even though he has done so for other readers in the past. As he said, having your dreams is wonderful, but there are fewer and fewer job opportunities all the time, and too many musicians to fill what is left. Why is this so hard to understand? If there were a glut of plumbers, everybody would understand that and not train to be a plumber. Somehow there's the sense that since it's art, reality shouldn't play a part. Well, you can still play, just get a day job.
Sue Tansey

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-02 19:58

clarinetist04 wrote:

> haha, GBK, cut and paste that response...
> I think I've seen it word for word 4 or 5 times.


- and I'll keep writing it until some the music educators, guidance counselors, and undergraduate music professors (the worst offenders) get the message and tell their students the straight facts.

Becoming the best player you can be is certainly a great way to get a free ride to college, but counting solely on music performance to sustain you and/or a family is not a path I would advise any student to take...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: clarinetwife 
Date:   2005-08-02 21:17

GBK wrote:
>
> - and I'll keep writing it until some the music educators,
> guidance counselors, and undergraduate music professors (the
> worst offenders) get the message and tell their students the
> straight facts.
>

Thank you, you are doing a great service here. Would we want our football and basketball coaches to lead the dreamers among their players to believe that they can play in the pros if they just want it badly enough and follow their hearts? I had a friend in high school who was a football player and a pretty talented jazz bass trombonist. He did get a football scholarship and played in the NFL How long? About 4 or 5 years. He has been working as an engineer ever since since, which is why he went to college. And how many kids even get the opportunity he had? Not many. Young musicians also need to make sure that they have a way to make a life for themselves.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-02 21:37

15 years of my teaching career were spent in a minority school district (yes - there are such districts, even in the area I live in) where the students lived, dreamed and slept basketball, 24 hours a day.

Were they good players? Absolutely, with numerous New York State titles to show for it.

Visions of playing in the pros danced in their heads and they practiced, seemingly every waking moment. The administration fostered and condoned basketball making it a top priority over everything.

After all, they figured, if they had to pass a school budget each year, it would be infinitely easier with a state basketball title to show for it.

Many students would come to school bouncing just a basketball rather than bringing books, or heaven forbid, a musical instrument.

When all was said and done, did any go to college? Only a handful, with many strings pulled by faculty members to help get them in.

Did many graduate college? Less than 25%

Did any make the pros? Not even close.

Where are they today? Most have returned home, many are unemployed, and some are still living with their parents. There is also a large percentage who have fallen into a life of crime and violence.

If you think the story above was unique to this particular school district, it wasn't.

This scenario is repeated multiple times a year, all across the USA ...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: stevensfo 
Date:   2005-08-02 21:38

>>>That's terrible, everytime I've gone to a ballet and they used recorded music, I definitely noticed a huge difference in the overall effect of the performance... After doing that twice, I resolved never to go to another ballet performance that used a recording as it simply wasn't enjoyable.

I can honestly say that I have never felt that the ballet suffered due to recorded music.
Perhaps in the USA, you all have gigantic theatres where you have the choice and money to pay for both, but I've been to small towns in the UK and France where there's simply no room for both the dancers and orchestra - well unless the audience stay outside! :-)

Our attention was 100% on the dancing. In some ways, it may have been beneficial because we had nothing whatsoever to distract our attention from the stage.

The next day, there'd be an orchestra playing, a play, jazz band...etc

It's a question of space, economics and what people are prepared to pay.

I'm sure clarinetists would be welcomed on stage - provided they can dance as well!

Steve



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2005-08-02 22:21

"Rather than chastising GBK, you could thank him for patiently outlining the realities of the situation, even though he has done so for other readers in the past."

Well, 3 dogmom (Sue), I was doing nothing of the sort (chastising GBK). I (believe it or not) think the post is funny. I laughed. Ha ha. I've read it half a dozen times and every time I laugh at the fact the some people just don't get it. Again, I laugh. Ha ha.

I agree with you GBK and, to me, that adds to the comedy of the whole thing.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2005-08-02 22:39

Ballet ain't just about the dancin'.

Its the music! In the chicken/egg issue of music/dance; I think that the music came first!

Pitts can count me out of their ballet audiences --if I ever get back there.

Bob Phillips

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bob A 
Date:   2005-08-02 23:24

Anyone for Busking?
Bob A

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: stevensfo 
Date:   2005-08-02 23:24

>>Ballet ain't just about the dancin'.

Gosh, no, of course not. Nobody would argue otherwise.
The Tchaikovsky ballet suites are mind-blowing even without the dancing.

What I wanted to say was that there are towns that simply don't have the facilities for a whole dance troupe and orchestra pit.

In such a situation, I don't see why they shouldn't use recorded music. I've been to ballets like that and they're really okay. Don't forget that the recorded music is recorded 'musicians putting their hearts into their art'.

Bigger towns and cities have the halls that can accommodate both. That's great.

Steve

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: diz 
Date:   2005-08-03 00:55

Hmm ... interesting. If the Australian Ballet opted for this option, I would never attend another performance, simple.

I have conducted ballet ... let me tell you ... timing the point at which the dancer's downward plumet to the boards so you keep time with them is far more difficult than conducting Le Sacre, for example.

Without music, the world would be grey, very grey.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Ed 
Date:   2005-08-03 01:09

GBK says:

"- and I'll keep writing it until some the music educators, guidance counselors, and undergraduate music professors (the worst offenders) get the message and tell their students the straight facts."

The problem is that some of the above, especially the undergrad professors will rarely (or never) tell students this as they will end up talking themselves out of a job. Just look at the schools where there are people teaching "classical" saxophone majors. What the hell are those students expecting to do, besides teach more classical saxophone majors?

Unfortunately, the playing scene is not improving anywhere.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: hartt 
Date:   2005-08-03 02:05

In response to something GBK wrote above.....

" Each year (just in this country alone), conservatories and universities graduate hundreds of clarinetists whose playing ability borders on the unbelieveable. We've all heard many of them play."

Proof...........our local symphony hired a new calrinetist one yr ago. He was a stellar student of Gilad at USC and held a PHD in Clarinet Performance.

He shared this with me......while working on his last yr of the doctorate program, 4 Freshman came into USC. After hearing them play on a regular basis, he determined that he better rush through his doctorate before these 'kids' came out and he possibly had to compete against them.

Half way thru his first yr tenure, he returned to USC several times for touch- ups with Gilad. He learned that 2 of them already quit school (soph's) and were placed in symphonies and, a thrid was 'out there' auditioning.

So much for the talent that's out there and the competition.

dennis

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 02:57

The Doctoral students are almost never the most talented ones.

They are highly educated average talents.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bradley 
Date:   2005-08-03 03:45

Mr. Blumberg- do you use AIM or MSN? If not, do you have an email address people can reach you at? You can email or message me with the info (by clicking on my name).

Bradley

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2005-08-03 03:55

Highly educated average talents? Robert Spring? Diane Cawein-Barger? Michael Webster? Michelle Gingras? Caroline Hartig? Elsa Ludwig-Verdehr?

Right!

jnk

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 04:07

Jack, they are just a few of the very many who get that degree.....

I could make a list of major players 10 times longer with just undergrad degrees.


Not the total of their clarinet studying at all, but the end of their "formal education"



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bnatural 
Date:   2005-08-03 04:10

stevensfo

interesting point, do the people in these towns typically go to both or is it a vastly different group of people going to the types of performances.

Just got me thinking as always, about the downfall of american society

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 04:17

btw - most of those players already had established careers and did their Doctoral studies to better themselves after already being professional players.

There is a difference, they weren't professional students.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bradley 
Date:   2005-08-03 05:23

The Arts is probably the largest field that starts in middle school or earlier- so much work goes into preparation before anyone is ready to make money in the field. People should realise that a backup is necessary in any field, but especially in the arts, but they shouldn't worry about a backup while they're studying to perfect their art. I'm shooting for my dreams, yes. If they don't work out, that's fine. I can always get another degree in something else- ALWAYS. If I have to get a job while I'm in school, so be it. At least if things work out that way I won't have practise time to set aside. All I'm saying is, if things get THAT bad then it's not the end of the world- I don't think anyone is throwing their life away. I also agree with Blumberg about the professional student topic, if it's not working for you, check your other options. But, dare I say that the very same attitude that some hold might've held them back from truly spectacular careers? Also, many people can survive just playing- being part of a big orchestra while rare, does have to happen to SOMEONE.

Bradley

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: larryb 
Date:   2005-08-03 05:27

I love that word - "jerkwater"

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: hartt 
Date:   2005-08-03 05:28

Although it's not a Ballet organization, but The Tucson SO dumped some live music too.

Last month they announced a reduction in performances , shortening the season, terminating some non-musical positions and asked all orchestra members to take a 10 % pay cut.
(the principal clarinet earns 24.5k, so go figure)

Just another example of the dire financial straights symphonys seen to be in / getting in.

dennis

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 05:35

hartt wrote:

> (the principal clarinet earns 24.5k, so go figure)



Which translates to $400/week, or about $10 hour.


BTW - I have a 10th grade sax student who is washing new cars at an auto dealer and is making $10.50 /hour.

Ouch... GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bradley 
Date:   2005-08-03 05:50

"(in a 40 hr/week)"

Good thing that's not a reality.

Look, anyone who expects to just play in an orchestra has their head in the sand or something, and frankly that would be boring. If everything works out, I want to make music in a good ensemble or two (heck, as many as possible), and record when I get the opportunities, and give solo recitals, and teach at a school, and open up a music store one day, and do some administrative or management work in the music field as well. But, that's enough from Bradley. Nothing any people sitting at computers hundreds (thousands, even) of miles away will do or say can affect my career.

Bradley

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 12:24

The $24.5K that the principal earns would be supplemented by teaching, and probably playing in other groups for sure.

Nobody can make a living for $25k unless they are single and live with their parents - or live in a shack, and drive a "classic" car.

btw, there are many fine players with Doctorates, but most of them are the ones who are applying for the College Teaching jobs, not auditioning for Orchestras.

And even the College gigs are very, very competitive.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: msloss 
Date:   2005-08-03 12:27

Bradley, let's hope you are successful. From hundreds and thousands of miles away let's hope you are talented and determined enough to be successful. The competition is pretty stiff for a shrinking pool of dollars. The presumption is that most if not all of the participants on this board are avid fans of the clarinet. Of this dedicated pool, how many pay to attend concerts, ballets, and operas on a regular basis? If each person thought of the ten people closest to them outside their families, what percentage of them do the same? How much are you willing to pay yourself to go hear a performance?

I have fought the economics battle myself countless times trying to stage chamber concerts. Somehow we manage to get it done, deliver exceptional programs, and bleed red in the process. We always pay the artists in full, and then have to burn the chairs for heat and eat our shoes for food. Government funding is dwindling, corporate sponsorship is stretched, and individuals are giving less. In fact, if Congress permanently blows away the estate tax, a major incentive for the wealthy to give to charitable organizations evaporates. Audiences alone can't (won't) sustain these live performances, particularly if ticket prices have to rise.

To all aspiring musicians, look in the back of the union paper and see what the typical wage is for a symphony position. Then think about how many students you need to take and at what hourly rate to supplement that. Assuming you can poach the work from somebody else, how many commercial studio gigs do you need to take to add to that? Look at a few job adds for music stores and see how much they can afford to pay. Attend some chamber concerts and see how hard it is to attract an audience, and then do the mental math on how much each ticketholder would have to pay so the musicians can buy groceries that week. And when you are done, figure out who is going to buy you health insurance, a car, fund your retirement plan, etc. Then figure out when you are going to practice. This is a HARD gig, and there is no entitlement program. The romance drains out of it pretty quick when that nice drunk lady spills a scotch'n'soda down your bell putting in a request for the Macarena at that gig you took for $100 to hold body and soul together waiting for the next audition.

It is Darwinian, but having a large and diverse population of music students guarantees a sustainable supply of exceptional musicians. Great for the end product. The problem is the ecology of music doesn't have resources to support that population. As witnessed in Pittsburgh, overfeed on limited resources and it collapses. That leaves a lot of bank tellers, grocery clerks, and telemarketers on the outside looking in. Plan B isn't an insult to the aspirations of a young artist -- it is just the reality of the market.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: msloss 
Date:   2005-08-03 12:40

And by the way, there is this nice little sub-economy that seems to be self-supporting of the universities generating academic clarinetists that go on to get doctorates and take university gigs to perpetuate the next generation of same. The consequence is you can go to just about any, as someone so poetically put it, "jerkwater" school and probably find a great clarinet teacher. I suppose as long as there are enough tuition-paying rubes feeding these programs it is sustainable. But was is the grand raison d'etre?

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2005-08-03 14:36

This debate may peter itself out within ten years or so. I teach in public schools, where testing mania is wreaking havoc with the arts, particular music performance programs which require private or semi-private instruction. Ensemble rehearsal time has been reduced. I am amazed that, in my district which has a lower socio-economic level, extra funding has still been allocated for band. My Grade 4 Chorus was cut because the children can't miss 40 minutes of academic time for music. Other districts have cut band entirely.

So without a feeder program, students like Bradley may become extinct. Thus goes the debate over live music.

Sue Tansey

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2005-08-03 15:08

"Nobody can make a living for $25k unless they are single and live with their parents - or live in a shack, and drive a "classic" car."

Not true, I'm afraid, David. I make LESS than $25k, have a house (granted I rent a room to a friend), and have a car. I am single, but have a boyfriend.

There are some things I can't manage right now, like my student loans, but have been able to defer them for "economic hardship."

Granted I'm not making a superb living, but I'm not a "starving artist" either. I work a part-time job for health benefits, perform and teach clarinet.

If I actually made $25k I would be able to pay my student loans too.

Katrina

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: salvey 
Date:   2005-08-03 15:19

"I work a part-time job for health benefits, perform and teach clarinet."

But...are you paying state and federal income tax and SS tax on your performing and teaching income?



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 15:24

Pay $800 a month for daycare and see how far that gets ya  :)



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2005-08-03 16:00

At least there are now some teaching positions available. There was a great upheaval in the public school positions as the mass of post-World War II teachers, many schooled under the marvelous GI Bill, finally reached retirement age in the 1970's, '80's and '90's. What was once a jam packed field now at least has some movement in same.

But, the stark fact remains that hundreds of colleges nation- and world-wide are turning out two and three very good clarinet players every year, and these "ready to earn" folks are crowding into a career path that is (unlike pro sports or hard, physical labor) relatively easy for the incumbent to remain in well into their 60's. People eager to remain at a position, combined with people piling up at the entrance portals, all with a decreasing public interest in the world of "art" music, is a reality that you ignore at your (and your future family's) peril.

I once wrote a long allegorical tale about this called Stephen and Susan. Stephen was the best basketball player that ever came out of the deepest ghetto the United States could produce, while Susan was the product of a middle class family that supported her clarinet talent to the hilt. Both perfected their skills through endless rounds of practice, both got full ride scholarships (well, Susan's wasn't quite as good as Stephen's), and both attended college for the requisite four years.

Stephen played roundball for Jerkwater U for the full time, but ended up with a relatively meaningless degree in marketing (the easy route, if you will). He naturally did not continue on to "pro" basketball, as there were too many applicants for too many slots, and he was not the "best of the best".

Oddly enough, Susan followed much the same path. She played clarinet for Jerkwater U for the full time as well. True, few came to hear her play, but the "increasing competence" of her play paralleled that of Stephen (who was also getting cash under the table, but never mind that). And she, just as naturally, did not continuing on to pro music as there were too many applicants etc., etc.

Here was the big rub: Stephen, being a little more bright than the average hoopster, at least applied himself and had a marketing degree. He had to, as he couldn't major in something as marginal as "basketball". So, when the pro dream ran out, he was at least equipped with the entry key to the "real world".

Susan, who was smart as a whip as well, still followed the "craft oriented" music degree program. She might have gotten a minor in teaching, but her main thrust was what she did best, playing that damn'd clarinet. Virtually all of her courses after the second year were music oriented. And, while music theory and counterpoint may apply to performance and composition, they have little "real world" impact outside of the tight field of "art" music.

Stephen, who did not have the option to take hours of "basketball theory" as part of his degree program, at least got the gut stuff needed for his marketing degree IN ADDITION to his play time. He still had to at least sit through all of the "regular world" course work.

Who's the better candidate for the job market?

(And, you could postulate a worse situtation: an aspiring clarinet player who's also a good basketball player, and who decides to follow the music degree while playing basketball for old Siwash. I guess the only way to make that one worse would be for the person to be female and aspiring to the WNBA upon graduation...)

I think that it would better serve most of our up and coming young artists to join the union. It won't necessarily get you more work (but it can if you meet the right people), but it will drive home, each and every month, just what kind of market there is out there for their talents so dearly won.

Naturally, I've just pitched the last issue of International Musician, but I generally have a good laugh for what appears in the "Positions" column each month. "For Service" orchestras far, far outnumber the salaried positions, and each and every opening is matched by dozens of players aspiring to the position. (I was told that one, bush league "for service" contra-bassoon position was besieged by fifty applicants at the first stage...a scary prospect indeed.)

Truth be told, most decent clarinet players who would want to make a living through music would be better served by enlisting in the military rather than trying to compete for what, for the greatest part, are minimum wage type jobs outside of the "big five" orchestras. However, while the military promises that bandsmen will be exempted from many things, with the shortages in all categories that they're experiencing these days, I'd not count on the promise to be fulfilled. There were a goodly number of bandsmen in the 4th Infantry Division band in 1970 who found themselves being used as fillers for line infantry battalions in the Cambodian Invasion. I know: I avoided that fate by voluntarily transferring to the armored cavalry squadron instead of the band when I had the chance.

Noting the $10.00 a hour wage spec for much of the straight symphony work that's there, and the retort that additional money would be made by working "second jobs", what needs to be considered is that those second jobs take a lot of additional time out of the day. Piling another five or ten thousand gross into the total brings up the wage to living levels only at the expense of working eighty hour weeks. Do the division again, and keep in mind that ten years from now you'll not have the vim and vigor that you possess as a young modern in the height of your college season.

And, one more time: You still can play one hell of a lot of clarinet while gainfully employed elsewhere. It's relatively cost free, you can improve your abilities to the nth degree, and in the meantime you'll have medical insurance, cars newer than ten years old, a home of your own, and a work life that doesn't resemble being chained to a galley bench.

(You can even make some decent money for it on the side. My contractors each take home just under a C note for three hours work on a Friday night, plus the included meal and (usually) the access to the open bar afterwards. Just make sure that you play both sax and clarinet, and are a damn'd good reader to boot.)

True, it won't be your life's mainstay and you will have to do something other than play clarinet to put the basics on the dinner table. But, you just have to accept that reality that people (cf the Pittsburgh Ballet's audience experience above) don't wanna pay that much for what you want to do.

As good as you (and Sabine Meyer and Roberto Gonzalez and any number of other "really good" players who are already certified as "really good") all are, it's just not good enough for commercially viable numbers of audience members to pony up the freight on a regular and comprehensive basis.

Remember that in employment, what matters is what OTHERS want you to do, not what YOU want to do.

And, classical saxophone majors...now THERE'S a topic worthy of further exploration. Word to the wise: Marcel Mule didn't spend all of that time in the French Army because he was a militarist...

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: hartt 
Date:   2005-08-03 16:16

I add this to my thread of the TSO and it pertains to all the first chair wind players.
In addition to the 'regular' rehearsal/concert schedule, they are also required to play in the Quintet, Kid's Concerts series, attend Symphony sponsored dinners for Meet the Orchestra and participate in the various TSO Community Outreach programs.

Participation in all the above is included in their Principal's salary.
BTW, the 2sd/eefer gets $3,000 less...........and the 'loss' of $3,000 allows him to have yet additional time to teach at a local music store, give private lessons and have more free/personal time.

yes, many spend upwards $200,000. or more in education and then welcome a job that pays 25 - 30k.

oh what one does in the name of love

dennis

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 17:27

$100???


That's still chump change, gas money......

$300-500-1000 (a guitarist I promote gets that $1k per gig minimum) for the same time, now that's real money.

Something fun to do at any rate and some guys do it just to get out of the house.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: archer1960 
Date:   2005-08-03 17:35

DavidBlumberg wrote:

> $100???
>
>
> That's still chump change, gas money......
>
> $300-500-1000 (a guitarist I promote gets that $1k per gig
> minimum) for the same time, now that's real money.
>
> Something fun to do at any rate and some guys do it just to get
> out of the house.


Beer and bike money!

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 17:42

Fun is important and personally rewarding at the same time. I've also known players who did the same thing for the same time and only made $35 - same fun, less payola.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2005-08-03 17:54

David,

If you go back and look at my previous message, you will see that I did not dispute your first statement, "The Doctoral students are almost never the most talented ones."

I took that to mean either many (most) highly talented students do not choose to enter doctoral programs or, at most universities, usually there are undergraduate and masters students who can play better than the doctoral students. I agree with the first interpretation. I think that's true in any field. The number of people entering doctoral programs is a very small percentage of all college students. I'm not so sure about the second interpretatiion. That may or may not be true and, if it is what you meant, I think you have been cavalier. The statement should be empirically verifiable one way or the other but all I've seen from you is an unsubstantiated opinion (and, while I consider you an expert on clarinet performance, I'm not sure your expertise extends to doctoral programs in performance). So I need to see some evidence but you have not provided any and I don't have the time and resources (or interest) to find out so, for the sake of argument, I originally conceded the point.

What I took issue with was your second statement: "They (doctoral students) are highly educated average talents." While it may not be what you meant, your statement is equivalent to "[All - you didn't qualify with "many" or "most" or "professional"] doctoral students are average talents." In addition to being bad logic, that statement is refutable. I only have to provide one counterexample and, off the top of my head, I came up with several.

If, as you say (and I agree) most of the highly talented students don't enter doctoral programs, some highly talented students still do. Note, too, that your original statement said nothing about when people enter doctoral programs. In my experience, most people who enter doctoral programs do so for one or more of the following reasons: (1) they aspire to an academic career (usually at the college/university level) and see the doctorate as a necessary credential, (2) they want to become experts (or, at least, more expert) in a specific field, (3) they enjoy the lifestyle of a student. Mediocrity, on the other hand, is not a usual reason.

I have taken your use of "talent" to mean "achieved ability" (accomplishment) rather than inherent (or natural) ability. I have always felt (again based on my experience) that "achieved ability" is a function of inherent ability (which, BTW, is how I would normally define "talent") and effort -- probably multiplicative. It follows, if I'm right, that, to some extent, the two inputs are interchangeable. In other words, to some extent, one can overcome a lack of natural ability with exceptional effort. Conversely, one can "overcome" exceptional natural ability with a lack of effort. Natural ability does, however set an upper limit on achieved ability. The truly exceptional performers are those who have exceptional talent and make an exceptional effort to develop it.

Now, in my experience, audition standards are quite high for most (and all the really good) musical performance doctoral programs. Whether a function of natural ability or effort or both, students applying to performance doctoral programs, which is presumably what we're talking about here, must meet a high standard of achieved ability to be admitted. They can't simply enroll because they are average musicians. (And, let us not forget that they have already completed a performance masters in most cases.) So I dispute that they are merely "average" in any normal sense of the word.

Even if most students who are highly talented do not enter a doctoral program, their number is dwarfed by the students who are average and below average talents who stop with a bachelor's degree or even a masters.

So I disagree with your statement that "Doctoral students are highly educated average talents." For the reasons I've given above, I don't think it holds water (actually, the term that first came to mind was "horse hockey") and, if you want to convince me (which, perhaps you don't), you'll have to provide much better evidence.

Best regards,
jnk

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bradley 
Date:   2005-08-03 18:04

So I lied about that being enough from me. All of what you've said just motivates me to work harder at what I do. I have been slacking off this past week and a few days, but for the summer I've put in 5 or 6 hour practise days. I played in an ensemble at a university a little while ago, and one day after there I put in way more than even that. I'm not doing that to end up "sight reading well and playing a bit of clarinet and sax". During the school year I have music for four hours every day. I play in 3 orchestras regularly and a wind ensemble, and take on many performances on the side. I DON'T do this to end up doing it as a hobby. You people don't seem to get it- music means more to me than all of that. Call me nieve for not realising the reality, but I'm not an idiot- I won't ruin my life financially if things don't work out like I've said. I'll do something else, and painfully put away my instruments until I have time for them if need be. You think you're right because you sit on the other side of the fence years ahead of me in this scenario, but for now I haven't chosen a side (I guess what you're trying to get me to realise is that the sides do the choosing, but anyway). I've already had some amazing opportunities, and if I walk away from this with my "lofty dreams" not materialising, then fine. I'll still have a lot of experiences that I wouldn't have had. I devote a lot of time to this that no-one would unless they really wanted to do it. People come on here all the time talking about taking the same path I want to (some recently, too) and they don't have nearly the drive that I do, nor the gumption to be frank. I know I'm going to give this my all, as much as the stars you have in your CD collection did and still do, and if I don't make it- then it'll be because it wasn't meant to be, not because of something I didn't do. I've had a lot happen to me in my life fairly recently, and I've become a lot more faithful in GOD (oh yeah, he played THAT card). If it's not meant to be, then fine. At least I gave it the best shot I could, and I reiterate that my life won't be ruined financially afterwards.

Bradley

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 18:13

"In other words, to some extent, one can overcome a lack of natural ability with exceptional effort."

---------------------------

Yes and no. The player is still limited by their own "god given talent" no matter how hard they work. And if the player with more talent works just as hard, they will usually achieve higher levels of results.

I know 3 Doctoral Clarinetists who aren't even playing the Clarinet much anymore. One plays in a community orchestra, one teaches at a kids music center, and the other one is pretty much of a housewife. None of the 3 ever got a "real" job. A Doctoral Degree is a Mammoth undertaking of several years of really hard work - but it won't get you an Orchestral gig.

Name Clarinet players with Doctorates playing in full time Orchestras and you won't come out with that many at all.

Most got the gig with a Masters at most and often with just their Undergrad degree.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 18:20

That's what dreams are for, and they are important to have and to motivate you.


Just know the time when they are either fullfilled, or start to become nightmares.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Danny Boy 
Date:   2005-08-03 18:32

Oh hang on, I'm forgetting that we should never do anything if it's hard work and often unrewarding in terms of financial status.

Yes, yes, yes...there are hundreds and hundreds of clarinet players graduating and they're all damn good...so what in my opinion.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Tom Piercy 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 18:40

Bradley,

I've been reading your comments and others' comments about the "reality" of a career as a clarinetist.

I say, from reading your posting and hearing you play,you go with what you want at this point.


Keep up your drive, the ambition and the love of what you do: playing the clarinet and learning more about music.


One very important thing to remember: practice, practice, and then practice some more.

Having drive, ambition and a love for the instrument is not enough to get you where you want to be. You have to simply put in the hours of detailed work on the instrument.

It takes incredible discipline and energy and the RIGHT kind of approach to the instrument that will allow you to progress in your individual mastering of the instrument.

Learn as much as you can about the music you're playing and then even more about the instrument on which you will play that music. You need to have control over the instrument so you can master the technical and musical demands of the music you're playing. If you are inherently musical - and I think you are - the musical aspects usually take care of themselves through intuition, listening, education and experimentation.

Performing in the many groups you do is a good thing, (you definitely need the experience that you gain from doing so) but I would suggest putting more hours into your individual practice.

I have students that are playing in groups so much that their basic technique is not getting better, or not progressing as it should. They are getting the great and needed experience from performing and they are having fun but they are not spending enough good, quality practice time on the instrument.

I know fellow professionals, and myself, too - that complain about having to play so much that they don't get in enough practice time. They, and I sometimes, feel they might be getting sloppy or just stagnating. For working, performing professionals, this may be a very subtle thing, but an important distinction nonetheless.

So - keep up the good work - and practice, practice and then practice some more.

All the best,
Tom

Tom Piercy

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Tom Piercy 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 19:01

One of Kal Opperman's best quotes that I particularly like - which he has written on the wall of his studio and also written as part of his autograph in books and programs -


"Practice and Hope -
but never Hope more than you Practice."

Tom Piercy

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 19:09

Tom Piercy wrote:

> "Practice and Hope -
> but never Hope more than you Practice."


Translated:

"Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em"

...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2005-08-03 19:12

Well, Bradley, you've pretty well summarized the "reach for the stars" aspiration that is so cliched as to have become plot fodder for movies. And, there's nothing saying that it can't work out for you. You COULD also be capable of running a 3 minute, 50 second mile, bench pressing 800 pounds, and laying six thousand brick in a day's time.

The operative word there is "could". Having belief in your abilities is great, but the world is full of folks who will take advantage of such beliefs until you are left lying in the gutter with an empty pocketbook. John Powers and Barbazon take in thousands of young women into their program every year. Of those, perhaps 1/10 of 1% have 'any' commercial modeling potential, and of that perhaps .001%, only a very precious few move on to greater things. Yet, the girls (and some guys) keep lining up, all with a high opinion of their value.

Powers and Barbazon are more than happy to continue with their line of business because the aspirants spend the money to support themselves. Just as we take private lessons, and seek any kind of performance venue possible, they take the poise lessons, plastic surgery and so forth. Having done head shots for both organizations, I was one of those who benefited from their "largess". Great for me, but it still didn't change the ugly fact that only one in ten thousand or so of them was ever going to be "commercially viable".

And if you're not commercially viable in modeling, what then? Well, most come from environments that have taught them to do something other than stand around and look pretty. And, if they are "pretty enough", even without any skills they have "employment" potential as a trophy spouse (mostly women there, but there is the occasional man as well).

So it helps to have a backup. Lesson #1, and one that anyone in any music field should learn early on.

Lesson #2 is somewhat harder to swallow. You, along with everyone else, has to realize that:

No matter how good you (or the best of the best of the best) may be, there is a very limited call for your talents in the world in which we now live.

Here, I'm not talking of someone who's been in the industry for many years, or who is a student in the here and now; I'm referring to the ugly fact that there are precious few "duty slots" for even the very BEST of the best of the best.

Sabine Meyer is a wonderful clarinet player, few here would dispute that fact for an instant. But, there are not enough places in the world for the Sabine Meyers that are out there, much less the up and coming folks who hope to replace her.

Look at it from a population standpoint:

• Assume 100 symphonic orchestras in the United States, one for each Standard Statistical Census Area of 100,000 population or more. This would include (in 1990, the last time that I ran the figures) such locales as Newark NJ (!), Springfield MO, and so forth. True, not all such locals have a paid group, but there is some overlap with opera, ballet and commercial work that would account for the difference.

• Now, assume four fully paid clarinet positions for each of those "orchestras". This too is a stretch, since not all of them would have four slots, and many of the orchestras that do exist pay only part time wages, if that. (Check International Musician for a month by month synopsis of what you can expect to be earning if you're one of the lucky ones.)

Run the figures and you'll see that there is a ceiling number of some four hundred paid professional "clarinet players" that a nation the size of the United States (295,734,134 souls at the current time, according to the CIA; one wonders how it is that they can make such a precise prediction) is willing to support. And, that support is not going to be a living wage in (guesstimate based upon figures in International Musician) about three-quarters of them. No matter; let's assume that there are a full four hundred "living wage paid professional clarinet player" duty slots out there.

• Now, let's double the number again, this time to take into account all of the "professional level" (i.e., college level) clarinet professors and the like. Rounding up (I'm a generous guy), that gives us a thousand duty slots that budding clarinet players are going to be aspiring to fill.

How many "quality" clarinet players are we going to get a year? Interesting question.

• Let's start by assuming that every state's principal university has a quality music program (most do), and that at least one of the two "state level" schools produces two clarinet prodigies a year. (For our foreign friends, we have both state universities and state "normal" schools (which were formerly tasked with producing teachers but now are equal partners in most ways.) This gives an output of 100 clarinet players every year, fresh faced and ready to start conquering the world.

(Mind you, this is a VERY conservative estimate. I'd peg the high end at something like five per school per year, and something like twenty per state per year (for the large states at least). One program of which I am aware (North Texas State up in Denton) doesn't even fall under this definition, yet Jim Gillespie continues to turn out fine clarinet players up there every year.)

We'll then throw in another fifty or so for private schools (Peabody, Eastman, Berkeley, Northwestern, etc.). This is still on the light side, but all of my clarinet playing friends from Washington University will just have to sit on the sidelines.

Final output of this side of the equation (a very "low ball" total, to be sure) is something in the order of one hundred and fifty new players, each and every year, all ready to go to work. Where do they go?

Answer: not too many places. Let's look at the prospects:

• Studio work in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles? Well, it is pretty well tied up. You can "fit in", but it's a long and arduous process to get "accepted". Many of the next category people also fill some of the available slots in this area.

• Paid symphonic work? We've got those very optimistic 400 slots, which automatically assumes a first, second, Eb/third and bass player for each group. Of those, figure maybe a 5% attrition due to death and retirement each year. That's a whole twenty openings in "true performance"...

(A further look at a couple of those 100,000 population areas may be illustrative. San Diego CA fits the definition of a large city by any stretch of the imagination. Yet their putative four slots have gone down the tubes, as the local art music organization has repeatedly been dissolved. Florida (specifically the central Florida area) has proven incapable of supporting a paid orchestra, even one paid at "for service" rates. San Antonio, second largest city in Texas has lost its four putative slots in recent years. That's a total of twelve clarinet players subtracted from the wildly optimistic 400 that are not (in reality) there.)

• Teaching? Far more openings, to be sure. But, once again, not more than 5% of the total is going to turn over in one year. And, there are a lot of those brass, percussion and string folks out there as well, not to mention voice folks AND music education majors who are all looking at that slice of the pie.

In short, you've got a minimum of 100 highly qualified candidates (and I still think my guesstimate is well on the short side of the actual total) looking to compete for what? Maybe twenty slots in actual performance opening up in a given year, plus maybe three times that in other venues. (And the others will require more than just the bachelor's in performance to fill, remember.)

Training to fill one of a very limited number of potential spots of employment has never been a good idea. We used to have coach makers and other trades that were once in high demand, but are now all but extinct. There may be the market for four or five coach makers left in the United States, but that's all right because the number of new ones being turned out has shrunk to fit that demand.

With "art" music, there is the same greatly diminished demand for the product, but unfortunately few of the aspirants have caught on. So, the $200,000 university education gets spent and they end up working as a secretary at the AAA branch (true story of a fabulous 'cellist of my acquaintance).

When you hear about orchestras packing them in and being able to support themselves without heavy subsidy from government and endowments, that's the time to look for a career in clarinet playing. Until that happens, play clarinet on the side (playing the same music as you would as a pro) and enjoy it as part of a normal life, not one of (dare I say it, private lesson folks?) drudgery.

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 19:40

What's the chance of undergraduate college instructors giving out Terry's essay on the realities of the job market to all prospective entering freshman music performance majors?

Never going to happen....

Why would they? It would eliminate their own jobs...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2005-08-03 20:17

I'll have to find my original "Stephen and Susan" essay...it was a much better read than the ramblings I've given out above...

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2005-08-03 20:47

David B. responded to my statement:

"In other words, to some extent, one can overcome a lack of natural ability with exceptional effort."

with:

"Yes and no. The player is still limited by their own "god given talent" no matter how hard they work. And if the player with more talent works just as hard, they will usually achieve higher levels of results. "


I agree entirely. In fact this is exactly what I said two sentences later:
"Natural ability does, however, set an upper limit on achieved ability."


As far as the rest of it goes. I guess I'm too dense to see how any of your comments support the assertion that there are no highly talented students in doctoral programs. Or, for that matter, the weaker assertion that the average doctoral student is less talented than the average undergraduate student or master's student. It seems to me, you're changing the discourse, perhaps because you recognize your original statement was indefensible.

The fact that there are some people with doctorates who have never held a "real" job may tell us something about them, but it doesn't tell us anything about all doctoral students. And you haven't really demonstrated to me that they are only "average" talents (or that they are "highly educated" for that matter). Could any of them have played the Nielsen at some point in time?

Not all highly talented clarinetists aspire to full-time orchestral positions. (And your apparent assumption to the contrary, is, I think, the fallacy in your argument.) For most people, the objective of a doctorate is an academic position in a college or university. The truth is, by their very nature, doctoral programs that require a dissertation almost certainly put their students at a disadvantage for an orchestral career because they focus the students' efforts in other directions. Doctoral programs are designed for a different purpose than bachelor's and master's programs and programs leading to performance certificates. That doesn't mean that the people who choose them necessarily have less talent. It simply means they want a diffent career and the lifestyle that goes with it.

Right now, Bradley wants a career in music performance. Would I recommend he plan to pursue a Ph.D. in music or D.M.A.? Absolutely not. I would tell him to get into the best conservatory he can with the best teacher he can find. Then he'll be in a program tailored to prepare him for an orchestral (or at least classical music performance) career. On the other hand, if he wanted a faculty position at a major university would I recommend a that he pursue a doctorate. Absolutely yes.

I think the whole orchestral position argument is a straw man here. In my opinion a better test of your original assertion (sampling problems, notwithstanding) would be to look at the past several issues of "The Clarinet" - specifically the section that lists student recitals. Rate the average difficulty of the works performed by undergraduate students, master's students and doctoral students in their recitals. See who comes out with the highest average level of difficulty. It won't be the undergraduates and, if it happens to be the master's students, it won't be by a wide margin.

And, while you're at it, take a look at the recitals at the last couple of years of clarinet fests. I'm sure there were many performances of extremely difficult works by clarinetists who do not have a doctorate but that's not the issue. The issue is not whether there are highly talented clarinetists without doctorates. There clearly are. The issue that you defined is whether there are also highly talented clarinetists with doctorates. I will guarantee that the folks with doctorates weren't playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in concert Bb (unless it was in a Karaoke bar after a few libations).

Finally an example of highly educated average talent who has a "real job" but not with a full-time orchestra. (BTW, the pianist has a doctorate, too.)

http://www.unl.edu/clarinet/MP3/Track01.mp3

Best regards,
jnk



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 21:11

Re: The above listening track


You own me back 11'42" of my day.

Something I'd crave to hear again? No

Something you would hear other than outside of the sheltered university academic world or in an assembled room full of clarinet devotees? No

Then again...

What do I know? I also like Country and Western music [wink] ...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2005-08-03 21:16

Wow this thread got way off topic!

[ Threads do have a way of evolving down their own path. While we have strayed somewhat from the original question, there have still been a number of questions raised which merit discussion. Thus the thread continues...GBK]

Oh, I totally agree. Just making an 'observation.'



Post Edited (2005-08-04 00:27)

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2005-08-03 21:20

"I also like Country and Western music ...GBK"

GBK, I'm crushed! How will I ever respect you in the future?

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2005-08-03 21:46

"But...are you paying state and federal income tax and SS tax on your performing and teaching income?"

Yes. I am. I'm not about to go down that road.

"Pay $800 a month for daycare and see how far that gets ya "

Yeah, well, there's yet another good reason for me not to have kids. ;)

"What do I know? I also like Country and Western music"

I knew y'all were ok, GBK! ;)

And to come back to the initial subject, I am not surprised to hear that a ballet company has done this. Orchestras become much too expensive in these days of the bottom line fueling much more than the art. I'm not saying that's a good thing. Of course I don't play much classical anymore myself, so maybe I dont' know enough to talk about this...

Katrina

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 23:13

Could any of them have played the Nielsen at some point in time?
---------------------------------------


Just the Nielsen?? Uh, yeah - all of em, and at the Undergrad Level.


But that really doesn't say much of a thing. My x-brother-in-law played the Nielsen for his Senior Recital at NEC under Hadcock, yet he didn't "have it" (the ability to get an Orchestral job).


I could go on and on, but why bother



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2005-08-03 23:26

Geez Glenn. It can't have been too bad if it took you 11 minutes to figure out you didn't like it. I can usually spot a country western song in... oh, 5 or 10 seconds. [rotate]

Best regards,
jnk



Post Edited (2005-08-04 02:57)

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 23:35

"The issue is not whether there are highly talented clarinetists without doctorates. There clearly are. The issue that you defined is whether there are also highly talented clarinetists with doctorates."
---------------------------------


Actually that was the issue. That there are players out there without the Doctorate who are every bit as good if not better than the ones who doing that course work or have.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-03 23:38

btw jnk, she is a very good player (and another name you mentioned I just received her CD - Caroline Hartig).

Don't like the piece much at all as it sounds "too academic" of a modern composition for my liking. She played it well though.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: archer1960 
Date:   2005-08-04 00:17

"I will guarantee that the folks with doctorates weren't playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in concert Bb "

Maybe at 1/4 note=220, two octaves above the staff <ggg>?

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: archer1960 
Date:   2005-08-04 00:28

"Re: The above listening track

You own me back 11'42" of my day.

Something I'd crave to hear again? No

Something you would hear other than outside of the sheltered university academic world or in an assembled room full of clarinet devotees? No"


Actually, I thought it was kind of cool. I'm going to reserve final judgement until I listen to it at least one more time, this time on a good stereo instead of on my computer with the $5 speakers.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: lowclarinetman 
Date:   2005-08-04 00:37

Well i'm going to throw my 2 cents into this over written topic. I am a professional clarinetist of the newer generation, i finished my studies with a master's degree in bass clarinet solo performance in 2002(i know what WAS i thinking) . I took some auditions and decided to take the first thing i got... which was co-principal clarinet in an orchestra in mexico. It doesn't pay much... but with gigs and teaching i pull in around 2k a month plus another 1k from my wife. It is a hard life. I work 9am-2 or 3 am in the mornign most days. my general day is orchestra rehearsal 5 hours of teaching a banda rehearsal or more classes and then some sort of bar playing until god knows when. On the weekends also playing tons of weddings and dinners for weddings.. More or less what I call musical prostitiution. About 20% of the playing I do is what i would call rewarding, mostly because the orchestra I play in right now is not at a wonderful level... better than a part time regional orchestra but not at a level with say Kansas city or better.

It is a hard life....

and yes, my freidns have tons of money to buy houses and toys and expensive cars... but for the moment i am happy. I have a great house that i rent and save a good bit of money, don't have any debt and get to play some of the great pieces in the literature(my orcheatra is nothing but fearless). And i believe playing all of the pieces on the audition list in a live professional setting is helpful to say the least. Luckily the cost of living south of the boarder is significantly different than life above the boarder.

I have to play perfectly all clarinets and saxophones(everythign but bari and lower) and I have to be able to sightread like mad and transpose into bizarre keys fast... reading Bb parts on Eb sax, or flute parts in the 4 octave on clarinet... but, and here is the but... i am doing it.

i make my living only from playing and playing related ventures. In 6 months I will have enough money to buy a very nice middle class home here... and am I trying to move up the orchestra rungs.. you bet. Are the odds hard... sure.

what i tell ALL of my students... do soemthing else for your main source of income. If you truely cannot be happy doing something besides playing practice your heart and go for it, but the life is not an easy one and the odds of success slim.. even partial sucess like i have achieved.

is it worth it.. every second.


bob
co-principal clarinet orchestra UANL monterrey, MX

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: diz 
Date:   2005-08-04 01:21

bob

what a fantastic story, good for you ... as to your friends cars - just be thankful it's them, not you who are stuffing up the world's climate

Without music, the world would be grey, very grey.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2005-08-04 01:32

"I have to play perfectly all clarinets and saxophones(everythign but bari and lower)..."

Philistine! A bass clarinet player who doesn't play the baritone as well? Athemia!

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-04 02:54

Diz - Mexico has some of the worst cars anywhere. Old, old, OLD vehicles that in the US we wouldn't think are around anymore but yes, they reappear in Mexico and those polute the heck out of the air.

You can even find Gremlins on the road in some parts.....



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: lowclarinetman 
Date:   2005-08-04 15:28

well the car situation here is exactly how David put it. You will find cars here that you do not have any idea how they are still operating. I do have a moderately nice car... i personally drive a Explorer sport from 2002... not helping the polluting myself either i guess... oh well...

it is common to see vw bugs from the 60's on the road and cars from the early 70's as well.. but then you will also see the most expensive cars you can buy in parts of Monterrey...


but all in all still happy to be here

bob

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2005-08-04 16:04

A Pittsburgh Tribune editorial calls the change "arrogant" and "dishonest." It's also a "bait and switch" scheme, because the Ballet sold subscriptions on the basis that it used live music.

http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/archive/s_359967.html

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2005-08-04 16:22

Then that really takes the cake for dishonesty; for, as previously mentioned, half the reason for attending the ballet is the music on which it is based. Take that away, without warning the audience....

Not that there haven't been great recordings.

That's like going to see the Rolling Stones in Fenway Park, only to find a big boom box and a life-size figure of Mick.

Sue Tansey

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-04 16:47

Mexico is beautiful depending on where you are. Mexico City is a smog zone, but there are great and very beautiful areas which are like a slice of heaven.

Often musicians are having to go to Mexico, Europe, and occasionally Asia searching for jobs as the US market is and has been overcrowded for many, many years and it won't be getting any better. And it's highly valuable paid experience.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: stevensfo 
Date:   2005-08-04 18:29

>>interesting point, do the people in these towns typically go to both or is >>it a vastly different group of people going to the types of performances.

>>Just got me thinking as always, about the downfall of american society


I don't understand you comment about downfall of society. Care to elaborate?

However, yes, in my experience people attend both the ballets and classical concerts.

I lived for 4 years in the UK, in a town with approx 40000 inhabitants. There was an amazing 'Sports & Leisure centre' with gyms, squash courts etc and a large auditorium.
As I previously stated, it wasn't big enough for a separate orchestra pit, so the ballets had taped music - though probably be some sort of mp3 type music these days.
We also attended ballets and concerts in London. Of course, there, we had orchestra and dancers.

Great, yes? Well, yes and no.
Going to a real genuine ballet was a real experience. But, the auditorium was enormous! The dancers were great, but rather far away.
In our town, we were much closer. The atmosphere was fantastic. We were literally within metres of them.

I must admit to being rather bemused by this discussion.

Will people stop going to discos because the original bands aren't playing live?

Steve



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-04 19:24

stevensfo wrote:

> Will people stop going to discos because the original bands
> aren't playing live?



People will probably never stop going to discos, however the word "disco" was shortened from "discothèque", which was a blending (or morpheme, or portmanteau) of the words "disc" (record or recording) and "bibliothèque" (library).

Thus, the accepted implication is that the music is recorded.

With ballet, up until now, the accepted historical implication is that of live performance ...GBK

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2005-08-04 19:54

A disco is a place one goes to dance, not to be part of an audience.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2005-08-04 20:08

You mean sort of a do-it-yourself ballet? (And are there really still any of these places around/)

Best regards,
jnk

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: msloss 
Date:   2005-08-04 20:54

Most people also go to the disco to dance themselves, not watch others in performance. And even so, the turntablists at the clubs now are creating new mixes and new pieces on the fly (musique concrete anybody?). I don't think the comparison holds up.

Perhaps for pure dancing afficionados who truly are only interested in the people on the stage this might be acceptable. For most of the performing arts audience though a ballet is the sum total of the live music and the live dance. I've said this before on the board -- the life goes out of a performance given to a recorded track. There is no opportunity for a dancer, or singer for that matter, to stretch a moment, extend a phrase, change pacing, etc. That kind of rigidity turns it into a purely mechanical athletic exercise. The creative moment is diminished. And at a more practical level, if something goes wrong on stage, and it will, the tape is merciless. It doesn't slow down, it can't skip a measure to catch up. What is left of the illusion is blown at that point because it can't be fixed. A live orchestra can serve the dancers. In the new world order, the dancers are slaves to the tape.

Frankly, to get half a live performance, I would only pay half the money. It really is a shame. From what I understand, axing the orchestra is saving them less than 10% of their operating budget. Giving away 50% to get 10% must be part of that new-fangled math they are teaching nowadays.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2005-08-04 21:00

Mark or Glen -

So -- as this string approaches 100, what's the record for the longest one?

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-04 21:24

Ken Shaw wrote:

> Mark or Glen -
>
> So -- as this string approaches 100, what's the record for the
> longest one?



[ We're not even close: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=112434&t=38334&v=f - GBK ]

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Bradley 
Date:   2005-08-04 23:23

Well.....I looked at that page, and I remember it being long- but I couldn't figure out how to know the number of responses. Did I miss something? Either way, how long is it?


Bradley

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2005-08-04 23:28

Bradley wrote:

> but I couldn't figure out how to know the number of responses.


Click "Go to Topic". It's 260.

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2005-08-05 00:36

Guys and gals, get a life.

Music is the world's greatest college major, but the world's crappiest way to make a living for the 99.99 percent of us who must live in the "real" world.

I could expound at length, but will not -- lucky you.

Take care and keep those responses coming. Let's get this thread over 100.

Cheers,
Mary Vinquist
(Mrs. Ken Shaw)



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2005-08-05 03:23

"Most people also go to the disco to dance themselves, not watch others in performance."

Also known as "social dancing" in that it is not necessarily the main event, but a means to socialize with others. I believe this used to happen in the musical world, in that folks would congregate to play music on whatever instruments were available that they could play. Should we call this "social musicmaking"??

I also suspect that 19th and early 20th century salon-type evenings were more about the "meet-n-greet" than they were about the requisite performances by whichever "important" musician happened to be in town...

Katrina

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2005-08-05 15:48

As Mary says above, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what passes for "success" in this segment of the world. But, I can easily understand why young students, operating in the relatively sheltered world of the school system and universities, can get the impression that what they are doing is at the center of the universe and absolutely the most important thing in the world.

Unfortunately, this just isn't the case. Just as sports enthusiasts and art enthusiasts, immersed deeply in the craft that goes into making each of those categories so enthralling for their fans (a word that is a contraction of "fanatics", remember), sometimes lose track of the concepts that make their infatuations so marginal to everyday life, music students (who live in a similar rarified world of practice and focus on their "main chance") can get swept up in the "musicality" of it all and lose sight of the reality.

Musical reality is that, no matter how good you are (Stanley Drucker and Sabine Meyer included), you are only very good in a _very_ limited field. That Stan and Sabine have the spot that they occupy is a wonderful thing (both for them and for those who are entertained by what they do). However, there are only two of them (and perhaps a thousand others like them world-wide) simply because there just isn't the depth of support for "art music" that there is for (say) quality concrete work.

Sport is an excellent comparison, for there too we have "useless" (in terms of "practical") talents taken to the nth degree. (I don't think I'm going to get any arguments there, although some might dispute that professional clarinet playing falls into the same category.)

Lots of kids play basketball (category 1), lots of them play it pretty well (category 2), and a significant number of them play it well enough for schools and colleges to "spot" them the chance to play it in their names (category 3). Of all of those, there are perhaps 1,000 who will make the transition to the "pro ranks" (category 4).

The problem is that there are far, far too many of category 2) above for the limited number of slots in category 3), and that there are virtually no slots in category 4), so few opportunities that they might as well not exist for practical purposes.

Yet, despite the "odds" against success, any number of category 2) folks batter their heads against the gates of category 3), all in the hopes that they will somehow succeed in making the stratospheric leap into category 4). Some go so far as to mortgage their futures by paying all their attention to their roundball skills, training in them to the virtual exclusion of everything else. (Does that sound familiar?) And, when it comes time to pay the balloon note that life eventually calls due, they find that they've got nothing to work with.

Change "basketball/roundball" to clarinet in the above examples, and you should be able see the analogy quite clearly.

I keep forgetting about student loans. My wife and I went through college on a pay as you go basis, and my son and daughter were held to the same standard. But, I know that huge numbers of people take out the various loans and other obligations, the better to fund a quality education.

The reasons that they give you those loans are a) because they expect them to be repaid, with a fair amount of interest, and b) that your education will make you a more productive member of society, thus helping society as a whole. However, reason a) is far more important in their eyes than reason b), and using reason b) as an argument against reason a) in an effort to delay payment is a strategy that you will find has...umm..."limited traction".

I'd not want to be the one with thousands of dollars coming due who is looking for one of those precious few category 4) jobs in music to help pay down the note. I'd want to make sure that I started out in life with as much of a chance as I could to be "debt" free as soon as possible. And, as part of the strategy to deal with this "real world" problem, I'd want to size up my chances before I grabbed the dice and threw them on the table.

Playing classical music (which is what being a very good clarinet player means) is not the way to that kind of money. Look at the minimum wage money that the various "for service" orchestras pay. As someone pointed out, you can get more money washing cars than you can playing an entry level orchestra position.

If you can't see this, then you need to go have a head valve reground or something, because it's an established fact, and one that you (as a future member of what we call "society") are going to have to confront tout suite after you finish those golden, sheltered, "hothouse" years of college. There are just too few positions chased by far too many people, most of whom are just as good as you are. Maybe you'll make the cut, but most likely you won't (pure statistical probabilities at work here). If you get a job, you'll still be on short commons; if you don't, you'll be in very tight straits indeed.

Consider that contrabassoon audition that I mentioned earlier. If _dozens_ of contrabassoon folks are interested in one position in a marginal orchestra, just imagine how many clarinet people are going to do the same thing for a similar slot.

(For that matter, just imagine dozens of contrabassoons in the same place at the same time. That would make the ICS convention showroom look placid by comparison..."Each bassoon, having its big, fat say" indeed!)

Go get a degree in marketing or something else that is in demand (engineering is always good), and continue to play the clarinet all you want on the side. You'll still have a full musical life, you'll be able to play the exact same literature for about the same audience size (i.e., slim to none) plus you won't have to hustle to try and pay the bills every month.

And, keep in mind that even engineers have a hard time getting hired in some circumstances. It's always a crap shoot with employment, no matter what the field. However, your chances are far better with a field like engineering, the medical professions, or even (God forbid) marketing (all areas where there is some demand for new faces) than with anything having to do with music.

Join the union (just so you have easy access to the "Position Available" ads), read the International Musician each month, and use a calculator to figure out just how much your years of effort are going to be worth in the best of circumstances. And, for God's (and your parent's, and your) sake, do it before you make a decision which will (in large part) determine the course of the rest of your life.

(And, please don't go on about how I'm anti-music. I am not anti-music by any stretch of the imagination; I've played art and other styles for many, many years in a wide variety of professional and semi-pro venues during that time, and I intend to keep it up until I die. It's just that I'm taking a realistic view of the question, something that far too many young folks don't bother to do. And, I'd extend the same advice to a theater, visual arts, "beauty industry" participant (modeling) or (yes, indeed) sports enthusiast in the same vein as I have with those in the music field.)

"Work to live, play to enjoy"...it's a better credo than "Play to live, work to enjoy".

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

Post Edited (2005-08-05 15:55)

 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2005-08-05 16:34

Great post Terry - I'm saving this one.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: stevensfo 
Date:   2005-08-05 17:51

>>>People will probably never stop going to discos, however the >>>word "disco" was shortened from "discothèque", which was a blending (>>>or morpheme, or portmanteau) of the words "disc" (record or >>>recording) and "bibliothèque" (library).
T>>>thus, the accepted implication is that the music is recorded.

Thank you GBK. I would love to hear you analysis of 'Salopettes'. Mine are in the closet ready for skiing next year.

[grin]

I have never said that ballet shouldn't be performed without a live orchestra. Wherever possible it should be.

However, to reiterate for the umpteenth time, when an auditorium is limited in space, what should we do? "No orchestra, no ballet!" or "Use recorded music and at least give the kids a chance to see something new!"

Steve



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: clarinetwife 
Date:   2005-08-05 18:25

Terry Stibal wrote:
"Work to live, play to enjoy"...it's a better credo than "Play to live, work to enjoy"

Interesting way to put it. When I was sixteen, one of the the things I was thinking about when deciding what to study in college is that I wasn't at all sure music would be as much fun if I had to depend on it to pay the rent or to pay for the next meal. In my Idaho way I wondered if I was being "chicken". :) Maybe so, but for every lowclarinetman who seems to enjoy the life he is leading in many ways, there are those people like my teacher's best student ever who was quitting his symphony job to have a bit easier time financially in middle age. One of my own teachers in college also gave up his symphony job and has his MBA now. So, even for some of those who do make it, music is not necessarily life, just as football was not life for my engineer trombone playing friend who played in the NFL.



 
 Re: Pittsburgh Ballet Dumps Live Music
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-08-05 18:46

For those who didn't see it last year, you may be interested in reading the thread I wrote about my professional clarinetist friend who suddenly and totally quit playing the clarinet:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=143051&t=143051

...GBK


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