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Classical Music: A Profession or a Hobby?

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Avatar for rebeysa85
Written by   69
1 month ago

When I was entering my teenage years and the question "What are you going to be when you are older" began to surface amongst my friends, I was always mocked because I always said, "I'll be a professional musician".

AtFrom Unsplash

The joke was because in that time, even if I got to travel internationally with my National Orchestra and visit the best places and got cool stuff to gift to everybody, a musician was not well seen because "Music is a Hobby, Not a Profession".

That always pissed me off, because the joke came from ignorance, from not knowing exactly all the work we have to put into our "Hobby" every single day, and the consequences that come with that, for better or worse.

On Monday, I had a rehearsal with my local orchestra and after a 4-hour set, I came home, ate lunch, and sat on the computer to transcribe some sheet music for one of my kids. The job was finished around 10 pm, with no breaks, only to eat and go to the bathroom. And that gave me the idea to share with you all, some interesting facts you might not know about the life of a musician.


1.- We all are Busy Bees

At the beginning of our careers, as with everything, we don't know anything.

We start to learn what is music, what's a Staff, Stave, or Pentagram, what are the names of the notes, etc, over here even taught how to play the flute.

Well, after that we pick our instrument and have to keep learning notations, how to read and write sheet music, how to play the instrument we pick, some of us change along the way and end up knowing the basics of several instruments, then there's the orchestra, so now we have 3 classes to go to, plus school, plus any other activity our parents had us on.

As adults, we balance our jobs at the orchestra with other jobs, and we also teach and some even have soloist programs and events, so easily you can find a musician with a busier agenda than a politician.

2.- Music is Physically Demanding

Musicians have a busy schedule, take it from me and I'm below average. But there was a time when I had 12 to 18-hour sets of rehearsals divided into 3 to 4 turns each. We play sitting down.

Can you imagine all day sitting in the same position? Some might answer yes, I do it all day at the office.

But for us, we have to add the physical effort that comes from playing our instruments. For a string player, violinist, cellist, violist, is common to have lessions like:

  • Rotator cuff injuries of the shoulder.

  • Tennis elbow

  • Wrist tendonitis 

  • Low back pain

Yes, you read right, tennis elbow, and they got that injuries from bad technique, musicians get it from too much practice.

For the wind section, we can have:

  • Wrist tendonitis 

  • Low back pain

  • Carpal tunnel

  • Swan neck injury

  • Cervical lordosis

So you see, it's not easy being a musician, in fact, I believe there are studies that prove that a professional musician can be compared with high-performance athletes.

3.- We are as competitive as compassionate

The job I did on Monday, was it mine to do?

No, my sheet music is fine and I know that piece by heart, but the kid doesn't know it so I helped him. That's what we do, we help each other most of the time when our competition is safe and sound. If I have the time and the capacity to help another fellow musician, why shouldn't I? Most of us are like that, but then, of course, there are the ones who see things like the one on Monday as an Advantage to rise above others and stump on you.

Anyways, check out the job I had to do:

This is one of 4 pages. Picture from my friend Endris

This is what came out:

2 of 4 pages I transcribed. Screenshoot.

4.- Study Time is never-ending...

This is one of the most demanding things about the life of a musician, and it goes in stages, depending on what area are you developing in.

For an Orchestral Musician, we always have to be at the top of our game, which means, we always have to be studying the music we are assigned. Why? because we all are important pieces of the machine, if one is not well oiled, the rest won't perform at its best.

If you are a Conductor, you have to learn the music of all instruments, so the studying is even more demanding; also, you have to be aware of the harmonic and melodic structure of the piece in order to be able to identify its ups and downs and the climax of it. It's super stressful.

If you are a teacher, all you teach you must know it by heart, even if you are of duties, like me. Even if a play with the orchestra, in not currently on duties, meaning that I don't go to classes or even have a schedule to keep, so I can come and go as I please. But, I still study because I have to keep the knowledge fresh for my student, and if he asks me to play something I have to be able to do so, otherwise, what kind of teacher am I? I can't teach what I don't know, so, back to studying it is.

5.- Funny fact: Not all of us can Sing and Dance

Have you ever met a person who is a bad singer or is a bad dancer and later found out that has a background in music? I have and it's hilarious.

People might think that because we know about tempo and are able to keep the beat we can dance anything. Wrong!

Dancing it's not for everyone, so, no matter how good of a musician you are or how well renowned you are, if you were born with two left feet, that's that. We are 6 brothers and sisters and I'm the only dancer and not a very good one.

The same happens with singing, we know how to tune and instrument and also know when we are on and off-key, but when it comes to singing, it's another technique, it's another story, so, just because someone knows how to play the violin doesn't mean that they are great singers, well, maybe karaoke perhaps.



Any profession in the world is demanding and has its worth. Classical Music's not an exception to this rule and never has been.

I don't quite understand why this profession has been so underestimated throughout history and perhaps I'll never will.

But what's on sight doesn't need glasses, right?

I'll leave it to you to decide...

From Unsplash

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Blessings

@rebeysa85

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021.

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Written by   69
1 month ago
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Comments

mi hermoso padre me dijo una vez muy en serio que yo nunca iba ser musico jajaj que eso era un don con el que lapersona nacia ajajaja desde ese dia me puse las pilas bien puestas y estudie , practique y estudie hasta que conseguí tocar prácticamente donde yo quisiera , sigo estudiando y practicando me ha ido bien económicamente a pesar de todo y es muy cierto yo no canto ni bailo pero puedo tocar prácticamente cualquier música por cierto acabo de publicar mi primer articulo si le puedes echar un ojo seria excelente gracias de antemano https://read.cash/@emanuel78_/caracoles-en-su-tinta-0414e6f3

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1 month ago

Hay músicos que naces, otros se hacen, lo h visto, lo he vivido. Gente con poco talento pero son genios porque estudiaron y se prepararon como tiene que ser; otros que son más sordos que una tapia y son expertos en armonía y contrapunto. Es cuestión de esfuerzo y dedicación. Vale, ya voy!

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1 month ago

gracias !!! soy de dedicación no bailo ni canto nada , pero puedo componer de acuerdo a las reglas de la armonía moderna y también improvisar sobre cualquier standar de jazz

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1 month ago

Good reminder. Music is the food for the soul. It requires a little bit of luck to be able to commercially successful as a musician. We should pursue whatever comes to our likings. Maybe, we can enjoy practicing music in our leisure time. It is valid for any subject of arts, literature, painting, etc.

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1 month ago

The problem surfaces when we are diminished for not choosing somethings that guarantee what is called "Safe Money" like a lawyer or a doctor might get. As musicians, we go through many struggles even if it is just a hobby because reading and writing music and learning how to play an instrument is not easy. But hey, maybe I'm biased haha

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1 month ago

You are correct. It takes a lot of pain to master any subject of performing art. In my opinion, every trade is like a performing art. The teachers need the performing skill of presentation to explain it in simple words to the students.

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1 month ago

Unfortunately musicians are poorly paid, because it is seen as a hobby and not as a profession, of course not everywhere. In my profession in agriculture something similar happened, when I did some work on a farm they wanted to pay you with a soup, or with some vegetables. It seems that these are unimportant professions for many people. I remember that a former governor said with respect to the construction of the orchestra headquarters: "I do not support that, because that is music for the dead". What ignorance

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1 month ago

For a time here in Venezuela musicians of professional orchestras were very well paid, I can confirm that first hand. Now the situation is different and in some parts of the country that culture has changed.

Now, a youngster who plays the violin and what's to get into the Simon Bolivar Orchestra is a kid who has a very good prospect of a future.

But in towns like mine that's not the case "You look lovely with your violin", and that's that. And like that man you mentioned are many many people who sadly see us like we are unworthy.

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1 month ago

I am going to be honest here. I love music, but I never dared ventured to seeing if i could find a feet there, cos i have always known that music can be as demanding as any other job.

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1 month ago

Haha that's so true! One time I had to play in an Opera. A 3 hour concert, 5 days straight, plus all the rehearsals alone and with the cast of actors and singers. The madness!!

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1 month ago

Music is not my thing. I don't know but I can't even memorize the song lyrics hahaha

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1 month ago

Hahaha I'm a musician and that happens to me sa well Lol

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1 month ago

Wow as in a musician.

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1 month ago