My recent interview with the always entertaining and anecdote-filled Justin Locke prompted me to poke around his site in search of more amusing tales. There, I found this post about ways in which musicians woefully misrepresent themselves to orchestra contractors. As a performer-turned-contractor, Justin now finds himself on the other end of the hiring spectrum, and he is continually surprised by the disparity between the musician perspective of contractor hiring practices and reality. Justin writes:
One thing I often found myself doing when I hire a full orchestra was an amazing amount of tossing names around on lists. Typically, here is what happens: I have a list of, say, violinists, that I know to be good players. But as we all know, some violinists are better than others, and so I have a numbered list: the best violinist is number one, the next best is number two, and so on. Let’s suppose I have a list of 20 violinists, but I only plan to hire 15 of them. What always happens is, something like violinist number 14– let’s call him Ralph– can’t make the gig for one reason or another. Okay, violinist number 16 gets hired in his place.
OK, months go by, and I’m about to hire another orchestra. I have two lists now: the original list of all the possible people I could call (which is now all marked up with revised phone numbers and recommendations and notes about who will call me back when), and another list, the list of people who played the last gig, which is nice and clean and neatly typed, has no marks on it, and has everyone’s tested current phone number and address. Remember Ralph? I have nothing against him, he’s an excellent violinist, but his name is only on that old grungy list now, and I might not even have that list anymore. Unfortunately, Ralph may think that I am a very small- minded person and may think I will never call him again because he said “no” to me once. That’s not the case at all. I am looking at dozens and dozens of names, many of whom I don’t know personally, and I just wanna get this band booked. So Ralph gets forgotten.
Read the complete post here.
Justin goes on to describe the frustration of tracking down current contact information for freelance musicians–a notoriously transient set of folk, as I am well aware! It is interesting to learn how few musicians have a website of any sort (not even a MySpace or Facebook account). Websites already function as a sort of Internet business card, and this will only become more common over time.