A Process for Everyone: Teachers, Freelancers, and Big-Job Auditioners

Audience calibration can be difficult. Being an opera timpanist is, to put it mildly, a very specific niche. But one of my aims with this blog overall is to use my specific experience to extract and extrapolate principles that are universally applicable. So, reader, who are you? If you clicked your way here, you might be a percussionist at a conservatory, or an auditioning instrumentalist, or a dedicated music enthusiast. (Feel free to comment below!) Maybe you saw a facebook post, are on the mailing list, and/or have already read some of …

Continue ReadingA Process for Everyone: Teachers, Freelancers, and Big-Job Auditioners

What’s It Like Starting at the Met Opera?

Pre-season orchestra rehearsals recommence at the Met this Tuesday, September 5th. I’m thrilled to have 4 brand new colleagues joining the orchestra this season, and thinking about their journey takes me back to September 2013 when I was just starting myself…. Man, what a whirlwind. What’s it like starting at the Met? In many ways, the “starting” part happens long before that first rehearsal. To begin with, you have to find a place to live, and then actually move to New York City. Both are non-trivial tasks which, especially for a timpanist, …

Continue ReadingWhat’s It Like Starting at the Met Opera?

Well-Documented Failure

One of the funny things about being a former scientist in the orchestral field is encountering musicians’ perceptions of a “scientist.” Among people already in scientific fields, this really isn’t something that ever comes up — we intuitively understand the basics of what we do, and the day to day machinations of our jobs. And this cuts both ways: among orchestral musicians, there are lots of things we can assume as understood when it comes to the rhythms of our lives that are non-obvious to outsiders. Thankfully, I see a growing number …

Continue ReadingWell-Documented Failure

Why did MUSIC win the “cagematch”?

Okay, so as discussed last time, my “science vs. music” situation wasn’t really a “cagematch”…or even Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. I did not experience my education as a zero-sum competition for my identity, with one field’s gains necessitating the other’s losses, ultimately leading to “victor” and “vanquished.” Instead, I’ve always found science and music to be overlapping and mutually reinforcing. They augment each other. They are cross-pollinating. I wrote that, for me, music and physics “are really just different directions on the same axis. We seek outward on that axis of curiosity to …

Continue ReadingWhy did MUSIC win the “cagematch”?

Science vs. Music: the CAGEMATCH

(or, “Being a Liberal Arts Human-Venn-Diagram”) “So…do you miss science?” I get asked this question a lot. Which I totally understand. I’m a “human venn diagram” after all, with seemingly disparate skill sets that overlap in unusual ways. Specifically, I’m one of a small handful of players in major orchestras who’ve had full and totally different careers prior to winning a big audition. I currently know of four others: Mark Almond, the recently-appointed co-principal horn of the San Francisco Opera who previously practiced medicine in England; Steven Hendrickson, the former principal trumpet …

Continue ReadingScience vs. Music: the CAGEMATCH

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend