What Do Musicians Do All Day?

The blog has been awfully quiet lately. It’s my summer break from teaching.

The joke around here is that musicians mostly lay about playing music all day. Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was a court musician for the Esterhazy family – wealthy Hungarian princes who loved music. Haydn composed music for church, opera, orchestra, string quartet, piano, and marionette theatre. He was also responsible for the care, music, and instruments of 15-20 court musicians. There was no time off, except at the discretion of the prince. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was responsible for writing a new cantata for each Sunday’s church service, i.e. compose the work, write out all the parts by hand, conduct rehearsals, and have it ready to perform on Sunday morning. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was good at everything, and basically worked himself to death.

There is music all day long, but I don’t seem to be laying around much. My job description can be summed up as planning for the future and executing for today. Teaching schedules, concert bookings, and student programs are planned a year in advance. Daily lessons and practice session accomplish a step or two that will achieve the long-range goal. Planning, teaching, practising, performing.

In the last week I’ve been to three rehearsals for three different groups, accompanied a violin exam, worked on the plan for a year of piano lessons for 30 students, organized some student performances for the end of the month, and practised for an upcoming performance. I wonder what next week will be like.

Ah, the lazy days of summer.

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