Continuing with the theme of time efficiency in practice sessions, in this post we look at the best ways of tackling new repertoire.
If you’re following a balanced musical diet in the percentages that I suggested last month i.e., warm up, scales and arpeggios, study and pieces, it might be that you only have a half hour a day available to prepare for performance, auditions and competitions.
While it may seem a tall order, particularly when it comes to learning new works, success can be yours providing you maintain consistency in your sessions. Little and often is always far more efficient than blocks of several hours a couple of times a week.
Look on repertoire practice as the musician’s apple pie and cream reward for eating the meat and vegetables, rather than the centerpiece of the meal!
Editor’s Note: Every Tuesday, we ask freelancers to talk about skills specific to their field, whether it be design, programming, or music. Today Marion Harrington shares how she breaks up her practice routine to stay a freelancing musician!
How many roles do you assume in an average day? Here are few of mine: spouse, musician, pet sitter, writer, runner, editor, cook, internet entrepreneur…the list goes on.
Looking back to my years as a music student, at the time I didn’t realize quite what a privilege it was to be able to spend all of my waking hours breathing, thinking and making music. Finding time to practice was never an issue.
After graduating, it’s a different story. Each passing year inevitably brings with it a new series of responsibilities both musical and non-musical.
The game then bizarrely changes from striving to be the scholar ranked #1 for the most practice hours logged in a 24 hours period to bragging about how little tooting of your flute or blowing your horn is required for your playing to remain at a professional level!
In the real world, finding time to practice can be challenging as this very necessary activity does not generate income in itself. If you’re to maximize your income streams as well as juggle all your other commitments, you have to learn how to make every available practice minute yield results – a skill which is often not taught during training.
It’s not how much time you have available that matters but what you do with what you have that holds the key to efficient practice on a very tight schedule. Continue Reading
Back in the early ´80s – if you were actually born at that point when I was a young music student in the UK – on graduating, aspiring soloists organized the production of a nice glossy brochure, set up a few high profile concerts and then gained experience by treading the national music society circuit. You might offer teaching in order to pay your rent and perhaps enter a few local competitions to raise your profile and that was that – all quite straightforward.
With the advent of the Internet, social marketing, MP3 downloads and You Tube, from a marketing perspective it seems to me that a musician’s life is just a mite bit more complicated, or perhaps that’s just my middle-age talking! These days if you fail to have a presence in the Internet, so far as a potential audience is concerned, you don’t exist – period.
One question I’m asked a lot is whether or not a classical musician needs a website in order to be successful. I know I need a website. The answer to that poser is ideally, yes – should you have the requisite funds to pay the costs of a competent web site designer, but not necessarily – an important consideration if you find yourself in a tight financial corner and already possess some working knowledge from your personal use of the Internet. Continue Reading
Following on from my last post on Building Image, once you have completed the suggested excises, you should have a good idea as to who you are and how you want to present yourself to your future adoring public.
Perhaps you see yourself as an aspiring classical music sex symbol, a romantic Bohemian traveler or contemporary superstar. Whatever the case, I’m sorry to bring you down to earth with a bump but in the final analysis, in regards to creating a unique, memorable brand, take a quantum leap sideways for one moment and consider yourself as a box of washing up powder.
Why do people buy a well-known make as opposed to a cheaper supermarket brand even though the contents are often manufactured by the same company and the results identical? Continue Reading
Unless you were immediately snapped up by a manager and/or huge agency after graduating, the business of building your image as a freelance professional rests fairly and squarely on your shoulders alone. Please remember that image without talent is like a violin minus a string. Equally, an awesome artistic gift is severely limited in potential if you fail to develop an appropriate image to accompany it.
As a freelance musician, I’ve seen individual careers dominated by the image the musician cultivates. So what is image? In simple terms, your image is how you are perceived by others. This can refer to your public persona, private life or both.
I never cease to be amazed by the number of players I meet who still believe in playing the classical music equivalent of corporate cubicle nation – clinging onto the notion that an orchestral job is fundamental to reputation and survival.
Those of us who have already escaped from the traditional straitjacket can assure you that life is infinitely more pleasurable and less stressful when you’re fully in control of your own destiny.
For classical music jobs, successful freelance musicians center their work around the concept of a “portfolio” career. In order to survive and thrive with such a lifestyle, just like learning to play an instrument, it is essential that you start with the basics in order to build solid foundations.
Following the method outlined below, I re-launched my classical music career after two decades out of the industry and have never looked back. It works! Continue Reading