Learning About Singing From Fifth-Graders

Yesterday a fifth-grade chorus visited the Boston Conservatory Chorale. The kids sang a few pieces for us, everyone read through a piece together, then the conservatory students sang a few pieces for the kids.

The conservatory chorale performed selections from the Brahms Zigeunerlieder. Since the piece was in German, after each movement, our director asked the kids what they thought the music was about. Their earnest and candid answers were priceless.

The vengeful, bitter movement? It sounded loud and exciting and happy. Maybe like they’re having a party! Did the singers look angry? The kids shook their heads and gave a resounding “No!”

Great singing must be communicative, and the kids’ honest feedback was a great way for the conservatory students to learn how effectively they were communicating. Kids tell it like it is, whether you like it or not.

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Accompanist Fees and Policies

Updated September 15, 2017

When I began working as an accompanist, I was surprised by how informal my employment arrangements were. Some employers required tax forms and/or time sheets, some asked for invoices, and others needed no paperwork at all. The hourly rate varied widely, ranging from babysitter wages to professional musicians’ wages.

To establish my own rates for freelance work, I searched online to find documentation from other universities. I found these excellent resources, which include detailed information on fees, cancellation policies, and guidelines.

Drake University

Longy School of Music

University of Tennessee School of Music

Western Carolina University School of Music (page 33)

Westminster Choir College (page 37)

MTNA Competition Fees (scroll to the bottom)

Incorporated Society of Musicians (UK)

If you know of any similar resources, please let me know, and I’ll add it to the list.

Mood Swings

Last night I went to bed grumpy and anxious. I had picked up a stack of music that afternoon that I couldn’t possibly learn in one evening. My first conservatory rehearsal was going to suck.

Today I arrived at rehearsal to be greeted by a chorus of smiling faces and a beautiful Steinway in a brand new rehearsal room (with risers! ooooh…ahhhhhh). During our last run-through of the Brahms Zigeunerlieder, I thought, “This is the coolest job ever!”

I never had that thought in my cubicle. I guess I’m doing just fine 🙂