20. March 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: FBQD

Broke my oboe before my concert witch is at 6:00!!!!!! So mad!!!!!

20. March 2013 · 5 comments · Categories: Ramble

Here are just some quick, “spit out” thoughts about the San Francisco Symphony and why people comment angrily about the musicians …

A good number of people played instruments when they were kids. In fact, just last night on Jeopardy a contestant was introduced and Mr. Trebak said something about her being a harpist. She said yes and went on to tell him she fell in love with the harp when she was seven, that she didn’t play it any longer, and when he asked if she ever owned a harp she said “no”.

But still she was introduced as a harpist.

When we are children we have toys that could allow us to call ourselves doctors, bus drivers, architects, mothers, artists … the list could go on and on. We study math. We study biology, chemistry and, for some, physics (I avoided the sciences whenever possible: my brain just switch off with them). We take history classes and language classes. None of those means we would call ourselves doctors, parents, mathematicians, bioligists, chemists, physicists, historians, or linguists.

But if you took music lessons you are suddenly a musician? For life?!

When one of our kids was in kindergarten another mom and I ended up chatting. When I told her I was a musician and played in the San Jose Symphony (RIP) she asked if I was paid for to do that. When she learned that I did, she actually got angry and said, “I should join the symphony too. I played clarinet in high school!” I was shocked enough I didn’t even respond. Her assumption — and I think the assumption of many — was probably threefold (at least). 1: She played an instrument in high school and, because of that, was just as qualified to play in an orchestra as I was 2: The arts are frivolous and don’t have meaning (she was a realtor and I suppose she saw that as quite meaningful and I know she made good money I would have liked to have said, “So you sell other people’s things and make a bundle, eh? I could do that!”). 3: What I did was “fun”. After all, I “only” played for a living … I didn’t work!

When I had a hand injury I went to the doctor to have it checked out. I explained that my hands were rather important in my profession — that I was an oboist and if I couldn’t play I’d be in trouble. He smiled, checked my hand out, and then asked, “What do you really do for work?” I replied again that I was a musician. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Yes, but what do you do for your real, daytime job?” He never did accept that music was my real job.

How does one get people like those two to see things differently? How does one explain that what we do takes a skill they, most likely, didn’t and couldn’t have? How to explain that the arts have value and can be quite beneficial to a society, when that realtor had never even heard a professional symphony performance and probably never would? How do I explain that that verb “play” isn’t saying that we don’t also work, and that it’s hard work as well as extremely stressful? How do I explain that every time we get up on that stage we pretty much bare our souls and then we get home and read a newspaper that tells us, sometimes, about our failures and weaknesses? How can I get them to understand that a musician does have a real job?!

I guess I don’t. People who say, “I could do that!” and think that being a musician means I don’t have a “real job” just don’t get it. I’m guessing they never will. But I know that there are others who do get it, and do know that those at the top of their game, like the Big Guys up in San Francisco, are earning much less than the Big Guys at the top of their game in any other profession. If you want to argue about salaries, why don’t you complain about those who make much, much more instead?

Okay. Rant over ‘n out. And yes, I will screen comments here. It’s my blog, so I get to do that! 🙂

20. March 2013 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

I officially have much respect for Oboe players, at least ones with amazing tone….. And not deep voices

20. March 2013 · Comments Off on Food For Thought · Categories: Read Online

For the past few days, I have found myself increasingly depressed and angry over the general reaction to the strike by the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony. I have observed via social media and in person a variety of people refer to these top flight musicians as “whiners” because they make @$165,000 per year. Such comments are usually followed by, “I wish I made that much money.”

Well, you might if you were at the TOP of your profession, although in virtually every other profession, you would probably make much more than that for being the very best at what you do. Mid-level managers make more than that in high-tech companies. Government bureaucrats running small agencies at San Francisco City Hall make more money than these highly-skilled and extraordinarily-gifted musicians. In San Francisco, LOTS of people make more than that who are not the very best of their profession.

Read the whole thing.