At the recent IHS North Texas symposium I led a panel discussion related to the Orchestra 101 series in Horn Matters. I have a final thought at end, but first the series in review as part of our University of Horn Matters series. Click on any topic for more information:
- What is a Service?
- The Cast of Characters
- The Sound Check
- The Run Out Concert
- Overscale and Doubling
- Dress Code
- Overtime, Young Conductors, and the Temperature Clause
- What Conductors Really Think About Horn Players
- The Money Question
- How to Get Fired
- Wi-Fi in Rehearsal
- Look at the Conductor if Possible
- What is an Orchestra
- Playing Extra – Before the Gig
- Playing Extra – Before the First Service
- Playing Extra – At the Gig
- A Session at IHS 44
To close, as I anticipate this will be the last post in the Orchestra 101 series, I have this thought for anyone who dreams of an orchestral career. Full time orchestral players know the good and the bad points of their jobs over a long period of time. On a good day with good rep it is literally the best job in the world, and in the horn section you have the best seat in the house so far as I am concerned. There are certainly low points though where you are sitting 4 feet in front of a drum set playing irrelevant whole notes on a pops show (not exactly high art), and you may possibly find yourself in actual conflict with other players due to orchestra politics and such.
I look back fondly at my years in Nashville especially as great years working with great colleagues in a great community. It was fun, but I know though that, realistically, it was not a life without problems. A key to overall happiness in this (or really any type) of job is to try to focus on the good parts of it as much as you can and also have an active life away from the orchestra, with “regular” people you know through church, hobbies, activities, etc. You get to the gig by being very focused, but you can stay happier there if you have a balanced life in general.
UPDATE: A few more related articles–