dirty business news in the wind
it is a funny thing, trying to make a living as a classical musician. especially if one forfeits teaching option. i do miss teaching the tiger cubs though. however, teaching isnt the right option for me at the moment, as i have booked another summer ticket to head across the puddle for an extended period of time. all the different things i get to do, i think not only it helps to balance the books, it helps me to be a reasonable human being. especially from what i have heard in the wind recently.
this city has many pianists who earns through accompanying. some do it through music schools, some do it through dance schools (this is one of the many specialized areas). some pianists are called vocal coaches, as they work specifically with singers for not only musical content but also of diction, interpretations, etc. some are better known as 'reduction' players and often i am called upon to read 'open' scores, which means i read multiple staffs of music and reduce it to fit the hands. and there are many other types... (yes, musical theater would be an entirely different type from me, haha!)
however, i recently heard about a case where a person started to cold-calling people regarding their recitals and performances, asking them specifically about their accompanists: how much they are being charged and how one would be willing to undercut them by making a counter offer.
now, this is not only ethical but completely crazy. i do understand that it is done more often than people would like to admit, but i cannot even begin to think about the guts that it would take. i wonder if that person simply views the action as simple solution: to make a living.
it is a funny thing to talk about rates and other things among other pianists. however, most of my friends/colleagues are honest and i try to be honest as possible. yes, it would be nice to work more, but no, i wont undercut your rate. nor i would up my charge to simply make more money rather than coming up with a figure that seems reasonable for myself (for experience, etc).
i wonder if this particular person has lost sanity completely. i wonder how many people have taken the offer and how many will be keeping the contact information to save a few bucks. i understand that as music student, one can be short of money but to directly offer to undercut someone else's rate?
i thought the life of an accompanist, unlike that of soloist, would be simple. but life says no. how weird.
i suppose i am still going to continue to do all kinds of work to make the ends meet, however, once again, i am realizing the importance of keeping one's integrity. and i hope that my colleagues will also keep their persons intact- yes, life is hard, but let's keep it together. we cannot be in arts if we are not proper human beings. good wishes to all who works honest and hard.