I just finished reading a short article on doing taxes in the latest AF of M International Musician paper.

Side note: Why read it online and not wait for it to arrive in the box, as is the norm for me? Jason Heath is included in this month’s publication, and he wrote to say my name is mentioned in the article. (Thanks so much, Jason!) So between knowing he was appearing, and that my name was up there for all to see, I just had to have a look-see. (Or a read-see I guess.) I’m kind of vain that way.

Anyway … it’s a bit too late to get tax advice for 2007, of course, but I thought I’d read the article to see if there was anything I didn’t know.

Nope. Nothing new that will allow me some miracle and save me tons of money. Such is life.

But I did have to laugh. At one point the author talks about filing as both an employee and an independent contractor. He writes that, for instance, sometimes a player is in two orchestra and in one the player is an employee while in the other is considered an independent contractor.

Okay … that’s when I start laughing. Or at least kind of sighing. Or something. It’s not that simple.

Wanna know how many W-2s I have? Let’s see … counting … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 … yes … six. And that is down from years past. I also have my private studio income and a few jobs where I’m deemed an independent contractor (thus the employers avoid paying my social security and medicare taxes and I get the honor at the end of the year). (I’m sure that Jason has this issue, and I’m guessing he has even more W-2 forms than I.)

Doing taxes is absolutely insane. Fortunately I’ve done it so many years now I know how to go about figuring out percentages for schedules A and C, and as much as a grumble it does all get finished in time.

This is a crazy life when tax time comes around. As if it’s not already crazy enough before that! It’s the one time of year when I really wish I had one job, one W-2, and a simpler life. But then what the heck would I whine about?

02. February 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

“In any orchestra, there’ll be lots of wonderful, valid opinions. The thing that makes (the concept) work — or doesn’t — is a continuity of concept.” Going conductorless doesn’t mean a group can’t find it. “It just takes longer,” he said.

“It takes a grand bit of selflessness.”

(RTWT)

Musicians?! Selfless? Okay, okay … I know groups make this work, and they make it work well enough to put on great concerts. I’m impressed.

I wonder what the personalities of the players are like. I’m not one to speak up, and I’m one to quickly acquiesce for the sake of peace. In other words, I’m extremely wimpy. In a very pathetic way. And of course there are those musicians who are the opposite. They can eat me alive, and I have to be very cautious around them, so that that doesn’t happen.

So how do all the wacky personalities work in a conductorless setting? I know I’d be the … “well, whatever” sort who might be burning up inside but wouldn’t let it show. Not healthy. Others would not stop talking and telling people what to do. (I quit a woodwind quintet because one musician could never stop telling me how to play my part. It finally went so over the top even wimpy old me had had it!) I would think rehearsals could be long and painful. But maybe only a certain type of individual would agree to be in a group like that anyway. I wonder.

02. February 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I used to vow I’d never teach on weekends. That lasted for a good long time. But sometime in, I think, the late 90s, I gave in. So many parents work, so many students have sports or SAT classes or you-name-it after school, and I can’t teach in the evenings, due to my rehearsal and performance schedule. So Saturdays it was. And is. Part of me wonders if I should add another student, as I received another request for Saturday lessons. It would mean that I’d begin teaching at 8:45. A tad early for a musician, but not all that early for most people out in the work place, right? So I’m tossing the idea around. After all, I’m up right now, and have been since 7:00. I could do it.

Of course I do have late Friday nights much of the time. Hmmm.

What to do?

I also had, at one point, bragged to a colleague about how I had Monday off. I figured everyone deserved a two-day weekend, and since Saturdays weren’t free, I’d at least take Sunday and Monday off. (Well, yes, I have concerts on Sunday, but I do my best!) That policy didn’t last; Mondays turned into a teaching day. Funny thing is my friend loved my idea and no longer teaches on Monday. Wouldn’t you know?

So now I teach Monday through Saturday, and rehearsals and performances any day of the week. So much for a guaranteed day off. But I love teaching. Really. (A number of my colleagues are baffled by that and while some teach, they hate it. Others simply choose not to teach.) Teaching keeps me thinking about how I do what I do, keeps me in touch with younger people and, well, it just makes me happy. Most of the time. Yeah, I occasionally get very bugged, when a student doesn’t practice and pretends to have done so. (Note to students: Just give it up! Be honest, please. We can tell if you’re pretending you practiced when you didn’t. Mostly because we’ve all done the same thing!) And last minute or frequent cancellations are irksome; this is a major portion of my income, which many parents don’t fully understand. (I charge by the lesson so no one ever “owes” anyone anything … it’s the only way I feel I can work with my wacky schedule.)

So I suppose I’ll ponder that Saturday student. I’m quite torn. I’m not sure what I’ll do.

All I know is I refuse to add Sundays to the mix. And that’s final.

Update
I just received an email saying I’ve won the lottery in the UK. Wow. I didn’t even buy a ticket. I guess I can take those Mondays off after all. ;-)

02. February 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

If an artist is not a Modernist when he is young, he has no heart. And if he is a Modernist when he is old, he has no brain.

-Einojuhani Rautavaara (read at Civic Center)