Viewing: Thought of the Day - View all posts

3 Things you might not know about me  

Things you might not know about me:

1) I'm a HUGE Marvel Movie fan. 

2) When the world cup is around, I stop everything and watch the games (or practice while watching, although I don't recommend it)

lastly, 

3) Fried pork chop with co slaw and mashed potatoes on the side is my absolute favorite dish. Mom makes it best ;) 

Collaboration 

I'm just bouncing off a gig in Maine and I want to write this all down for you while it's still fresh in my mind. 

This weekend I traveled a thousand miles by car, performed in two states and played over 2 hours of music 4 times. 

However, this time around these performances was different than anything I expected. They were special because of the musicians in the group. It's what made it an incredible experience. 

Collaboration is what we do on a daily basis. But in order for collaborations to work, there needs to be mutual respect amongst your colleagues. When people are prepared to do the job right, it makes the process so much more enjoyable!

That's when you can truly make amazing music together. Today, I'm off to Europe to embark on another musical journey in Italy.  


Find Eric on iTunes by clicking here to hear the latest on the ETV Podcast and subscribe! 

Practice Performing 

Practice Performing

Classical musicians that I've talked to recently say that the older they get, the more difficult it is to handle their nerves on stage. 

Why is that the case? Is it due to the lack of performance opportunities or the amount of pressure that we put on ourselves when we perform in front of an audience?

It may be a combination of both. 

That's why it's important to know your tendencies and learn how to control them. 

Each performer has their pre-concert rituals that help ease their sweaty palms and twitchy fingers. But there will be a performance where you won't have the luxury of your pre-concert ritual. 

What will you do then?

What it comes down to is the amount of time you practice and perform. We're so concerned as musicians to get everything perfect in the practice room that we forget that we actually need to get comfortable performing in front of people. 

If you're a conservatory student, then one of your options is to play in front of your colleagues in a studio class. Or, maybe you practice performing behind closed doors and you perform for your friends. You have the control of the venue. it doesn't have to be anything fancy! 

The only way you get better at it is by doing it more. It's also important to know that you shouldn't be thinking about perfection. You should focus on playing your absolute best in different settings. 

Performing doesn't need to be scary. Performing more gets you out of your shell and will help you improve on the bigger goal: sharing music with others. 

Top 10 things You Need If You're A Freelance Musician 

When you gig so frequently, you learn and make mistakes on the job. It's perfectly normal, but you want to avoid making mistakes as much as possible. Even if it's a simple wedding, or you're asked to fill in for someone the day before, you need to always be ready.

Here are the top 10 things every freelance musician needs to have a successful gig:

Your Equipment is Ready To Go

Going to a gig or a rehearsal with your instrument sounding bad will not give people the best impression of you. Make it a daily habit to check if your equipment is in good shape so that you continue sounding awesome. 

Have A Sturdy Music Stand

During wedding season, you're most likely going to be playing outside and possibly a windy area. Make sure to find yourself a sturdy stand for outdoor gigs and events so that you don't run the risk of having your music fall off while the bride is walking down the aisle. That's a no-no.

Keep an Extra Set of Strings Handy

This one's a given, but always worth mentioning nonetheless.

Sheet Music/Know the music

Again, really obvious, but make sure you or someone else at your gig has the music. 

Contractor/Coordinator

Knowing who the contractor and coordinators are for the event will help make your life easier. It's also not a bad idea to get their email or phone number just in case something happens. 

Address

Know where you're going? Good, double check to make sure you arrive in plenty of time. 

On-time arrival

Don't be the last one showing up for the gig. The rule of thumb is that if you're on time, you're late. Always arrive a little before the call time. It gives a bad impression if you're late. Always communicate with the coordinator your ETA. Oh, and make sure you have enough gas in the car. 

Business Cards

You never know who you're going to meet so it's always a good idea to have business cards, make the investment to get high-quality cards, that will leave an impression. 

Professionalism 

People never forget first impressions. Make sure people perceive you as a professional. In addition, It's also important to make friendly conversation so that people know you're human. 

Have a good time!

I can assure you that by achieving these 9 steps, then you'll have a smooth gig experience. 

 

Music Is Not JUST A Profession 

Music Is Not JUST A Profession

The life of a musician can be tricky.

Any job someone takes in the music industry can be exhausting and even frustrating. That's why music is more than just a profession, it's a lifestyle. Vienna is arguably the classical music capital of the world. To the Viennese, music is embedded in their culture. They can't live without and breath without it. The Viennese put a hierarchy on music over sports. Can you imagine?

Of course, it would be unfair to compare sports and music. They're entirely different things. If you're reading this, you're probably a teacher, orchestra performer, quartet member, or all three. My friends, you need to know how to do everything in this field. And isn't it amazing that we have the chance to do everything? 

I'm so grateful that I have variety in my career. Music to me is much more than a profession. Taking my life into various settings and playing music continues to be a joy to me and I never get tired of it. The countless hours of practice and dedication we put if you don't love what you're doing then why bother?

You go to the practice room and I get frustrated if I'm having a bad day. I get it, it stinks. I've been there and I know you've been there too. But the feeling when you go on stage and make music with the right people at the right time, it's priceless to me. And those are the moments I live for. 

Gratitude in the Freelance Community 

An important thing I've noticed in music recently is that it's important to treat your colleagues the way you treat yourself. Gratitude in a competitive gig/freelance economy comes a long way if you're trying to make it. 

When you're performing in a violin section, your stand partner is going to forgive you if you miss a note in a performance. We're only humans and it happens. Yes, you and your violin playing make an impression. But gratitude will help you continue getting work as a violinist.

There will be a moment where you'll have too many gigs and don't want to run the risk of double booking yourself. All of a sudden you're in a position where you have the opportunity to help contract gigs!

I recently handed over a violin gig to a colleague recently and I'm glad this person was able to take it.  A few years ago when I was trying to get my name out in the Boston freelance scene, there were people who believed in me and believed in my potential even when I was starting out.

It's all about giving gratitude to the people around you and believing in them

It's a reminder that we're all in this together. If we help instead of compete then we create an awesome musical culture that will help violinists continue getting work in a communal effort. In the end, we'll continue doing what we love and make our audiences happy. 

The music world is small and people are watching whether you like it or not. Pay the gigs forward and good will come your way! 

Curiosity Sparks Imagination 

Spark Of Imagination


It's fascinating to me as a violinist when I look at a piece of music for the first time and try to find something (or many things) interesting things about it. When I'm curious about something, I get inspired to grow this idea!

I try to get to know a piece of music not just by practicing my violin. Some of those things include basic things like learning the score to a piece or getting interested in the history of the music. That's the stuff that excites me! You can learn a lot about what the composer was thinking about during the time of when the composition was written by asking some of these questions:

Is the music trying to say something specific?

How does the composer want me to play their piece?

Once you've answered these questions, then it's time to expand your creativity and play the piece through your voice. That's how you stand out from everyone else.

Audiences come to listen to music, sure.

But they also come to a concert to see and hear you, the performer.   

People want to hear what you have to say and they'll be coming back for more. Give them the opportunity to transcend into a different world if they have never experienced your music before. Let your audience be curious. Show them that playing the violin, or any instrument for that matter, gives them the opportunity to dream with their eyes and ears. 

Audiences want to be inspired

Why not you be the first one to give them that gift?

Brady vs. Beethoven 

Brady vs Beethoven, an overview of Tom Brady's Tom vs Time and a closer look at the relationship between sports and music. 


There's a certain truth when it comes to playing the violin. If you want to find success in music, there's a lot of work and sacrifice you need to make. People are going to start with you at the beginning of your journey, but there's no guarantee that everyone will make it to the end with success. 

In the spirit of this past Super Bowl, the release of Tom vs Time,  a documentary giving the world a closer look into the life of Tom Brady, a quarterback for the New England Patriots. Brady reveals to the world of his views on parenthood, a role model to the world, and the daily routines that help him become the greatest American football player of all time. 

With five NFL championships under his belt, he could've easily retired by now. Yet, he's playing well (if not better) than he did when he was in his twenties. Tom vs Time shows Brady's devotion to the sport. We learn through these episodes that he strives for greatness because of his work ethic, his mental toughness, and we learn most importantly, that he's never satisfied. He's always looking for ways to be better every day. 

Now, why on Earth would I bring a violinist's attention to Tom Brady?

Violinists and athletes share a lot of the same qualities in their careers. While violinists spend hours practicing, researching and score studying, athletes like Tom Brady are analyzing each play they made the week, and in years past. Athletes, study, practice, and need rest as violinists do. 

Would it be fair to compare Tom Brady to Beethoven?

Musicians can learn a lot from athletes because, in many ways, we are athletes.  The number of hours athletes and musicians spend training for their next event are countless. Malcolm Gladwell's theory that it takes ten thousand hours to perfect a skill is a good theory to compare to. But if you're able to watch the Facebook episodes, you see Brady spends a lot of time off the field studying defenses similarly to violinists and all classical musicians alike to prepare for an audition with an orchestra score in front of them. 

Brady, like Beethoven, is never satisfied. We know Beethoven was always trying to improve his music. He was constantly searching for the meaning of life through music.  Through five different Facebook episodes released earlier this year, while all of New England called him the Greatest of All Time, we see a man trying to find balance in his life between career and family. Something violinists can learn from this documentary is the work ethic

What can classical musicians (particularly violinists) learn from Tom Brady and his journey in Tom vs Time?

  1. Playing the violin is a physical and mental game
  2. To a part of the game, being social is
  3. Violinists work with their emotions
  4. Music, in many cases, helps us grow spiritually.  

Beethoven had many struggles along the way. That didn't stop him from composing.  Just like Tom Brady, he won't stop because of failure. It doesn't stop him from pursuing his passion. 


Liked the read? Share it with someone who you think might need this. 

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly 

3 min. read


In the freelance circuit, you're going to meet a lot of different people. 

You're going to meet different musicians with personalities that are the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As a violinist, sometimes I don't have to luxury to choose the people I play with. If you're in a contracted gig, and you're there with a person you know has a reputation of showing up late and shows a lack of effort, you have to try and make the most of it. 

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to making it work. 

Each problem is unique and each situation has its good and bad.  So as a violinist, what do you do? 

For starters, you can approach the person in charge or a person you know you can trust that's not in your current situation or in that group of people like a manager, colleague, mentor, etc. They can always give you an unbias overview of your situation and they can give you some advice. It's important to get advice from someone who's been in the business for a long time and may have had a similar experience.

If option 1 doesn't work, then you go to option two: you go with it. 

You're going to be in a situation where you won't get along with our stand partner, or your contractor. If you have a temporary contract, then stick to it. Be patient, and play well. You never know if that person you sat next to has the power to give you a gig in the future. The people around you are going to see how you portray yourself and you always want to present yourself in the best possible light. 


Like this article? Share it with your friends and join the conversation. What was your worst gig experience? #myworstgig 

 

You vs. You 

 

As classical musicians, we live in an age where we compare ourselves to others.  

When I went to school for music, there was a competitive feeling that you couldn't escape. I was trying to prove myself to the world. Now, competition is good because there's an opportunity for you to learn and 

After living in a bubble of good players in a small community for a few years, I noticed that I couldn't focus and play as well as I wanted to. 

I didn't believe in myself. 

Musicians of all genres constantly go through this cycle. 

From, "I don't know if I can do this" to, "They're better than me" to plain old, "Nope, better to save myself from embarrassment."

You're lying to yourself if you're reading this blog post and saying, "This has never happened to me and haven't experienced this at all." Everyone will see through this. 

I've been playing the violin all my life, and I still get the nerves.

I'm probably preaching to the choir to some of you. To those of you who just came across this post, I'm here to tell you that there is no competition.

That's right, zero. 

You've been given a shot to make the most out of your music career, take advantage of it. The soloists out there probably started out where you are now, unsure of where to go in music. the moment you switch your mindset as a musician/entrepreneur, creating opportunities for you, then a lot of the pressure is off your shoulders. 

It's You vs. You. 

Block the noise...You got this. 

 


Was this helpful? Leave me a comment below!