John Floeter put out a great post on his bass studio blog recently about his thoughts and observations on freelancing and auditioning. This post is quite relevant to many of my writings about the freelance business (which you can find under my Articles link).
Here are a couple of key points from this post:
I’m in my late 40s. Lots of things make me feel old. Times change, new stuff gets invented, like the internet, cell phones…and people actually buy recordings of rap and ringtones quite frequently these days. But why should someone preparing for an audition make me feel old?
When I’m finished with the GPO season, I have my usual patchwork of employment from a dozen or so places, and most without guarantees of renewal. I don’t want to get in a rant about how great they’ve got it over me. I’m happy with the kind of work I do throughout the year, but I am open to new opportunities. Also, I can’t afford to play badly. When you freelance, a few bad concerts can kill a career. Even without musical inspiration,a lack of job security keeps me practicing.
Ever since I’ve been able to consider myself a professional musician, I’ve always been fascinated with the lack of age barriers in serious music. I have to remind myself that art music is entertainment for the educated, so I should still smile and bow at the right times. There are plenty of youthful bands out in the pop music world. But serious music, such as jazz, classical,(even theatrical music) emphasize sound over appearance. Veteran musicians help the young guys with their experience, and the new guys usually have some incredible chops to contribute. Even on a break, I’ve found it quite easy to shoot the breeze or even grab lunch with people that are older than my parents or as young as my kids. We do the same work together, and I get a glimpse of what it’s like to play and love music for a lifetime. If I still like doing this after 20 years, I’ll probably like to do it for 20 more.
This is an excellent post from a person with a wealth of experience in the classical music business, and I urge you to check out the complete post from John’s blog. It’s essential reading for any musician.
- All bass blog content about John Floeter
- John’s double bass studio blog – great resource
- Elgin Symphony bass section – photo
- Chicago Bass Ensemble (John is a member)
- Lazy bassists – photo from John