99% of the time when I tell someone I’m a musician, the response is, “Do you teach?” I don’t teach either voice or piano. Being a good teacher of anything is a difficult job, and I’m not ready to accept that challenge right now.
Since I’m neither a teacher nor a concert artist, I usually have to launch into a long-winded description of what I do from day to day. This includes:
- Accompanying. In short, I play the piano with other musicians in lessons, rehearsals, and performances.
- Singing or playing the piano for weddings, funerals, memorial services, and church services.
- Singing or playing the piano for corporate functions, parties, and fundraisers.
- Performing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, BSO, and Boston Pops.
- Practicing. Lots and lots of practicing.
I also spend at least a few hours each week on research: looking for music, listening to recordings, studying translations, reading synopses, etc.
I am eternally grateful to have access to MIT’s Lewis Music Library as a resource. YouTube also has a surprisingly decent selection of classical recordings. The audio quality is often poor, but it’s more than adequate for finding out the tempo range of an unfamiliar work, for example.
Then there’s all the administrative stuff that comes along with being your own boss:
- Emails and scheduling
- Networking and marketing
I also take lessons, which is a surprise to a lot of non-musicians. Shouldn’t I already know what I’m doing? The best analogy I can come up with is that professional sports players still have coaches and attend practice. Tom Brady figured out how to throw a football a long time ago, but he can always perfect his game. Music is the same!