June Matayoshi recently contributed a post to Chicago Classical Music blog about getting by as a freelancer. I have played a lot of gigs with June in the past, and it is great to hear from her on this blog. In the post she describes the complications of keeping a full-time job while still maintaining a very full freelance life.
I can certainly relate to her experiences. Getting in the car after a full day (usually teaching in my case, or else coming in from 600 miles away after playing a concert the night before), already exhausted, and heading out to a gig that is 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, or more miles away is all too familiar for me.
I am also very familiar with the late night grocery store trips (I frequently do midnight shopping trips after gigs), never eating at home, and the like. Luckily, I don’t have to make reeds after the gig!
Patty from oboeinsight wrote an excellent follow-up post to June’s that I also recommend reading. Her experiences with freelance life are somewhat different to June’s, and it is interesting to read both of these perspectives.
I have never had a day job since I’ve been freelancing, so I can only imagine June’s balancing act. Full-time freelancing has its own challenges of course, and it can be equally exhausting. For me, full-time freelancing means that I need to take every gig, no matter how bad, far away, or musically frustrating (provided that it pays enough), in order to make ends meet. I get a lot of calls, which is a good thing, but it also means that I basically never have free time, days off, or vacation. If I didn’t have the financial pressure to take every single gig (and I take some BAD gigs, believe me!) I would probably be a lot happier musically.