Saturday, January 23, 2010

Psychology of an orchestral career

Dear Flutists,

I found a detailed article about the Psychology of Orchestral Musicians.
Most fascinating. Do read and comment.

Best, Jen
Comments (1)
Anonymous Basia said...

what an interesting paper. I found the Somatron relaxation odd indeed. :-) However, the study seems to be very well set up.

I'm not sure that the result is very original, but it definitly gives a little perspective on orchestra playing. What really surprised me is that I can see that many of the comments are valid for how I reason as an adult beginner. Of course there is huge difference between when you play profesionally to support yourself, and when you play for fun.

Nevertheless, social reasons (enjoying beeing a part of a group with the same interests) and love for music are important incentives both for pros and amatures. And both pros and amatures seems to worry about not beeing good enough or not living up to the expectations. There was actually a student in the beginner ensemble I belong to who quit because he/she felt the pressure was to large. Amazing, since the ensemble i clearly aimed at beginners, we don't play in public, the student was actually pretty advanced compared to the others, and we were all very supportive of each other in general. And still this student felt the need to prove some kind of skill.

Pros forsake a lot of their "free" time" to reherse and practise, and amatures also say no to activities because we want to practise after work instead. And amature could also get bored if they just keep working through method books and repertoar without making sure they take the time to enjoy the journey.

To sum up, the risks mentioned in the papaer are a lot scarier if you are dependent on playing to make your living, but I still find it very amusing that you could find parallells to lower level playing.

The result also made me think about that at least in my country there are fewer and fewer full time proffesional orchestras. Maybe that is not such a bad thing after all? Maybe you should have some kind of other part time occupation in order to keep perspective, and to enjoy the music making in a more relaxed way? I wish that everyone who loves playing an instrument gets plenty of time developing their skills, but the best way is maybe not to be in the same full time orchestra for the most part of your carieer.

The conclusion I draw from the result in the paper is that what seems to create most preassure is the lack of freedom and options to influence working conditions. I believe it's possible to reduce the preassure by beeing a little creative, and I think many musicians do find ways to make the working life interesting and inspiring, and do overcome many of the risks mentioned.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 6:53:00 AM


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