10 THINGS BLOG POST
But can be more…

Add a “WHAT YOU CAN DO” bit in bold at the end.
Or a TOP TIP
Or a ADVISE FOR MORE
Or WORD OF WARNING

I’ve written this piece of advice to coincide with the launch of my new teaching page and also my (new – find synonym?) association with those wonderful people at Musical Orbit

• learn. Really learn. Study it well. Find a teacher. A good one. One who has really worked hard on their technique too.
• Get out more. I mean to rehearsals. I used to go to loads of these in London. I count myself as very lucky. And let’s be honest, many people can’t do this, and certainly not to that level, as often, in one of the world’s greatest musical capitals.
• Talk to people. Primarily the conductor. Sometimes they’re OK about this, sometimes not. A world famous conductor in the midst of a fraught dress reh is not the time to test your networking patter, or elevator pitch. After all, you’re supposed to be a conductor: über aware, permanently perceptive and open to all incoming signals – so don’t misjudge that one
• Read. And not just Mozart’s letters and Elgar’s biography. Read proper literature. Proper poetry. And read business books, too. Why? Not all of them are BS self-help-lite
• And don’t read. If you must read Facebook, LinkedIn and Norman Lebrecht then either add a few hundred layers of thick skin, or add a ridiculously large pinch of salt. I’m all for keeping up with news and articles about the musical world, but in this most competitive of professions, you’ve got to be aware of the avalanche of others’ trumpeting and apply requisite filters. Or just not read. For the good health of your own ambition. Whilst maintaining good presence on some social media is annoyingly crucial in today’s world, it’s only a small step to obsessive monitoring, or wondering why, why, why. And that isn’t healthy. It’s not conductor X’s fault they won the audition at the Bognor Sinfonietta, and they’re right to shout about it. But that same social media world we musicians whirl around in nowadays can all too quickly lead to bitterness, resentment and self-doubt. Maintaining a good dose of EQ – cf the entry about reading more business books, above – or, simply, reading far less …

• Fear…
Orchestras can smell fear. Like dogs (with no offence intended to all my friends).

• Get up early. Or earlier. Musicians are night owls. For good reasons. Added to this, we each have differing rhythms – nocturnally speaking –

• Present yourself well (1) – in person
• Present yourself well (2) – in videos, photos,

• Stop trying to DO things with the music. Certain interpreters attempt to impart their stamp and every bar of the music. Well, hate to break it to you, but the composer’s already done that. Most of the time. Stop doing things, peel away the layers – of both your own ego emblazoned all over the score, and of every single interpretation stretching back way before the advent of the recording industry. Stop doing things with and to the music. It already has enough, and the chances you’re adding to it at all is EXTREMELY slim for about the first 4 decades of your career
• Buy a metronome. Boy oh boy the number of times I’ve witnessed a dodgy ticker on the podium. Daily contact with a metronome is crucial.
• Listen to recordings. But only some. I mean, really, if you’re learning exclusively with CDs, Spotify or Naxos then, well…
But there’s a veritable gold mine out there. Plunder the alladin’s cave of NML and spend time with conductors from yesteryear, the golden age… For starters, try the following:
Stop listening to Dvorak conducted by Hrusa, try instead…
Stop xxx try yyy
Fricsay
Karel Ancerl
Mravinsky
Anthony Collins (Sibelius)
Knappertsbush

• Run. Exercise. Feel physical
• Tai Chi, or… Understand your body
• Buy nice stationery. And while you’re at it, buy nice scores. And nice batons. Think about it, the costs are nothing compared to the average fiddler or oboist

• The Kleiber thing