13. May 2010 · Comments Off on A Response · Categories: Links, Ramble

Another musician responds to the conductor tirade I blogged about yesterday. I think it’s worth a read.

Included there are comments as well. Here’s one to consider:

By the way, I looked up the RSO’s wage chart just now (the one from the ‘07-08 season was the most recent available) – those musicians make $105 per service (a service is a rehearsal or a concert,) and they’re not guaranteed any minimum number of services per season. (Clearly, they’re also not guaranteed to receive their paychecks at all…)

The average annual income a section string player earns from the RSO is $2625 before taxes. They’re allowed one sick day per season, receive no health insurance coverage, no “mileage” payments for the long commutes many of the musicians must make from other cities in Texas, and the cost of insuring their instruments is their own. Oh, and their contract is up this year. What do you suppose are the odds they’re being asked to take wage cuts?

Many people I’ve talked to these days about how musicians live their lives do seem to understand we aren’t living in RichLand (other than the RichLand of Incredible Music) … or at least those around me are. They know we provide our own “tools” (instruments). They certainly know we double reed players make our own reeds (due to my whining!), and of course we have to purchase our own reed making tools. I’ve explained the cost of instruments, although I’m not sure they can quite comprehend the cost of those incredibly expensive string instruments. (Heck, I can barely comprehend that … especially the cost of a single bow!) They know we spend a lot of hours studying and practicing. They know we frequently have long commutes. Most know that those of us who teach privately then get hit rather hard at tax time, due to our self-employment. But I think that going to a concert and hearing us play makes them forget all of that. I wonder.

Shoot … sometimes playing my instrument makes me forget all that too! 🙂

[Side note: I just finished up with the Met’s first act of Der Rosenkavalier which I had recorded off of PBS so I could watch it on my own time … talk about incredible music! Wow. I listen to that and I think, “I can think of no other career that could bring me such incredible joy! Now off to play some English horn, preparing for tonight’s first concert of the Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3.]

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