Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Grad Schools

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Posted by been there -- done that on January 01, 1999 at 05:47:18:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Grad Schools posted by smalltimer on December 11, 1998 at 17:56:44:

I have taught tuba at a major university, and I have performed major works on the tuba with fine symphony orchestras.

There is a series of C.D.s out there that features orchestral excerpts. A fabulous tuba player and really nice guy, Gene Pokorny, was selected to do one for the tuba. Listen to that C.D. That is the BEST stuff that you EVER get to play in a symphony orchestra. He plays it very, very well, but if you back away from it, you realize that it is NOT the most wonderful stuff ever written -- it's TUBA PARTS for gosh sakes!

Unless that is ALL that it would take to stimulate and satisfy you, DO NOT put "being a tuba player in a symphony orchestra" as you life goal. IT IS NOT THAT INTERESTING, and neither is listening to students, who claim to be serious about such an uninteresting (yet difficult to attain) goal, come into the studio and play the same non-musical stuff in the same non-musical way week after week.

Gene Pokorny has other hobbies to help fulfill his life. Although undoubtedly playing in the Chicago Symphony is quite a kick and that it offers Gene many, many wonderful experiences, I would bet that he would admit to you there are many times that he would rather be somewhere else besides sitting on the back of that stage rehearsing Dvorak.

A principal oboe job (with all of those beautiful solos all of the time), maybe. A TUBA job -- not interesting enough to be a "life goal". Even Richard Killmer, former Principal Oboist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra -- a magnificent oboist -- left his playing career. "It got to be boring. The same old stuff played with the same people for the same people year in and year out." He now teaches at Eastman. Teaching others has become his job, his hobby, his life.

If you love music, DISCOVER IT! 99.9% of all beautiful music is written in the TREBLE clef. Can you fellows even READ treble clef proficiently? Learn to read THE clef that MOST ALL music is written in, pick up that tuba and start mastering some of the classics. Where to start? ANYWHERE but tuba excerpts (good grief). You will lose interest in those excerpts about ten minutes after you start discovering the masterpieces of music and start making them your own. Tuba players as a group are the most musically illiterate group of "musicians" that I associate with.

Why an orchestral tuba job? The Money? (Ha) Respect? What percentage of society will respect you for having that job? Do you think that even the orchestral management, conductor, your colleagues, or the patrons will "respect" you "winning" your position? (Ha) I actually get e-mails from people that put their "title" after their name, ie. Joe Blow, Associate Utility Assistant Principal Second Alternate Tuba in the Greater Virginia City Civic Philharmonic Society Reading Orchestra. My reaction?>>(Ha)

Become a MUSICIAN that plays the tuba, NOT a tuba player that plays music. There are plenty of places for a true artist to perform (and plenty of pieces of music that are more interesting and more sophisticated than Ride of the Valkeries). Make your OWN niche. Don't follow that graduate school--audition dead-end track. Master your instrument. Master the ability to turn a phrase. Pursue music, not a position. If you are a master musician (not a Master of Music), plenty of people will want to hear you perform, and some of them will be willing to pay for that privilege.

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