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  • So, we recently made an announcement

  • asking you guys to ask us

  • any questions you might have about

  • life as a professional orchestral musician.

  • It's been a while, actually. Back in the days.

  • Days where we used to sightread...

  • I mean, uh...

  • Practice all my parts. Haha, what?

  • Rehearse and play in orchestras

  • with great conductors and soloists

  • and all the other great musicians.

  • We will do our very best to answer

  • as honestly as we can.

  • - All right! - Here we go.

  • First question, from bella.

  • Yeah.

  • I'd say so.

  • I think musically,

  • you get to taste a lot of different genres very quickly.

  • - 'Cause you're always playing new works every week. - Yes.

  • Especially with working with all the conductors

  • - that come in every week. - Yeah, I was gonna say,

  • it depends a lot on the conductor.

  • The second thing I would say,

  • it really helps you develop ensemble skills.

  • Especially in professional orchestras,

  • there's very little tolerance of playing out of time.

  • - Oh, yeah! - You know like, school orchestras?

  • - Oh, yeah, everyone's... Yeah, yeah. - People are kind of still like, out of time.

  • - The conductor's just like, "Ah, whatever." - Yeah.

  • If you're out of time in a professional orchestra,

  • - and it's a good professional orchestra, - Ohh!

  • - everyone knows. - Everyone knows if it's you.

  • And then if you play wrong notes, out of tune,

  • - and stuff, they will notice you. - Yeah.

  • I would say, when I first joined an orchestra,

  • - it really pushed me into it. - Oh, yeah.

  • It's all coming back to me now.

  • Alright. So, if everyone goes...

  • And you're the only one that goes...

  • You stick out. 'Cause you're just...

  • holding your note value a little bit too long.

  • And you ruin the whole sound of the section.

  • Next one!

  • I can only speak for myself.

  • I was a casual.

  • And I did, I think, one or two years

  • I actually can't remember.

  • One or two years of contract,

  • where I was basically employed for the full year,

  • but as a "casual." Right?

  • Usually, it's about 40 hours

  • - a week, for us. - A week? Yeah.

  • From what I remember, there was like,

  • one and a half months.

  • - I think it's... - Actually, it may be even less.

  • - It was like, around like, January, right? - Yeah.

  • But usually, the typical week was like,

  • you start rehearsals Wednesday.

  • And you perform Saturday or Sunday.

  • - Mhmm. - So you rehearse throughout the week.

  • - And Monday and Tuesday are off. Yep! - Yep. Yep!

  • Next one!

  • I mean, now zero.

  • (Ooh!)

  • - I mean, it's kind of true. - Yeah.

  • Even our tour.

  • - Concert tour had to get canceled. - I know!

  • - Can't see you guys! - Wanted to see you guys, right?

  • Hopefully when things clear up,

  • when everyone behaves,

  • we will be back on the concert stage.

  • Okay. Usually like two, three concerts a week.

  • Actually, sometimes one as well.

  • Actually, you know what,

  • one person wouldn't always be doing three.

  • It would be too much.

  • They'll be rotating people out.

  • So like, you can get the day off on this one.

  • Except for ballet.

  • - But weYou didn't have that many ballet concerts. - But I've done it before.

  • - Like, three... - Ballet is like, ten concerts in one day.

  • I remember it was like,

  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday,

  • and then Saturday matinee and like...

  • - Two concerts on Saturday. - Yeah.

  • And then maybe Sunday,

  • - one in the afternoon. - Yeah...

  • It was the double concert on the Saturdays

  • - that really got me. - Oh, that kills you! You're just like...

  • You do the whole throughout ballet,

  • and you come back at like, 7:30pm.

  • And you have round two.

  • And then if you're lucky,

  • you're like, sitting in the outside of the pit,

  • - you can kind of glimpse what's happening up there. - And you just see their head.

  • Like, half their body like, moving.

  • Next question.

  • - Not for us. - No. No for us.

  • I know some do, though.

  • And I think it's not a bad idea,

  • - to be honest. - I think it's a very good idea,

  • because it'll keep everyone sharp.

  • And PRACTICING!

  • My personal opinion is, uh...

  • Even if the every year audition is not to like,

  • if you don't pass your second audition,

  • - you get fired. I think that's a bit... - Yeah, that's a bit harsh.

  • But I do think it's nice to have something

  • to make sure the players are

  • still practicing in their own time.

  • - Yeah. Stagnant. Yeah. - And not kind of just, getting stagnant and complacent.

  • I feel like a lot of...

  • ...orchestral players will hate me

  • - for saying that though. - I know.

  • Oh, yeah!!

  • Oh, my god!

  • There's SO much pressure for the first time!

  • I remember the first time playing with Sydney Symphony.

  • It was Mahler 7.

  • Ooof!

  • It was messed up!

  • Mine was Mahler 6!

  • Oh, that's too much.

  • Yeah. I was playing like this.

  • - Like just really, really safely. You don't wanna stick out. - Yeah, yeah!

  • It's a lot of pressure because,

  • - a) You don't have the experience. - Yeah.

  • b) You don't know. You're like, you're...

  • worried about things could go wrong.

  • - Yeah. - And because you're worried,

  • - things will more likely go wrong. - Yeah.

  • But it's one of those things where after a few times,

  • - you just get used to it. - Yeah.

  • - You mess up one or two times. - Yeah, you will mess up.

  • You realize like, it's not the end of the world.

  • - Hopefully, your colleagues are supportive about it. - Yeah.

  • And then, yeah.

  • Well generally they are more, they're quite supportive.

  • - If you're new. Yeah. - Yeah.

  • - Yes, they are mandatory. - Dude, yeah.

  • - You need... You need rehearsals! - You can't just not go to rehearsals.

  • 'Cause orchestra doesn't

  • pre-record the audio and dub on top.

  • 'Cause we actually practice and do the music properly!

  • Ah, I would say like, four a week?

  • Yeah. So, four rehearsals.

  • One general rehearsal, and then one or two concerts.

  • - Yeah, usually it's like that. - Yeah.

  • Six or seven calls. Sometimes nine.

  • But nine would just mean it's like a cinematic piece,

  • - Harry Potter or something like that. Yeah. - Yeah, it also depends on the repertoire, you know?

  • No, the competition didn't stop that for me.

  • I was just very very very very very shy.

  • Still am very very very very shy.

  • I just didn't want friends.

  • I don't think there's that much competition.

  • - 'Cause you're already kinda in it. - Yeah.

  • Unless you're like, on trial with another person.

  • But even then, from what we've seen,

  • I don't think people really behave that way.

  • - Nah. Not in orchestra. - It's not like those, it's not like those

  • crazy Juilliard stories.

  • Everyone's kinda like,

  • friendly to each other and we help support each other.

  • Keep in mind though, this is Australia.

  • - Yeah, that's true. Australians are pretty chill. - We're pretty chill. Yeah.

  • - Oh, you get - - Oh!

  • - Don't be late. - You're never late.

  • If anything, you rock up like one hour early.

  • Or 45, 30 minutes earlier.

  • There were a few times where I was

  • stuck in traffic before a concert,

  • and I would make it there like,

  • - 4 minutes before, 5 minutes before. - Oho!

  • - That's cutting it close. - And that was

  • some of the most stressful moments in my life.

  • Don't. You don't want to play that game.

  • - Rock up before every rehearsal 30 minutes early. - I think so.

  • And if it's a concert,

  • - get there like an hour earlier. - Yeah.

  • They did say, "What's the consequence?"

  • I think if you're late too much,

  • - you get fired. - Yeah.

  • - Or they'll put you, they put you, - I don't know.

  • I think they put you on like, probation.

  • - You're on watch. - Yeah yeah yeah yeah.

  • - And people know, you just don't want to... - Yeah.

  • If it's soloists,

  • the orchestras kinda rehearse separately.

  • - And then do like, one or two rehearsals - Yeah.

  • with everyone again with the soloist.

  • Generally, I feel all orchestra members are onstage.

  • Ah right, yeah. Like, you don't really have sectionals.

  • - Sometimes. - You don't have, yeah. Rarely.

  • If it's a sectional, there's like, serious stuff.

  • Actually, one thing.

  • Good conductors know how to

  • schedule their rehearsals, so if there's any movements

  • - where like, brass has tacet, - Yeah yeah yeah.

  • they do that at the beginning or end. So,

  • - Yeah, it's like everyone can go. Yeah, yeah. - brass doesn't have to sit around. You know?

  • Yeah, I mean...

  • I...

  • Sometimes it does, if you play...

  • - Let's say, ballet for like, ten times in a row. - Yeah.

  • To be honest, like, first time playing it like, yeah.

  • But by the ninth, tenth concert, you can imagine

  • there's just no more passion in it anymore.

  • There are certain weeks when the orchestra cares,

  • and people make the effort

  • - and we make good music. - Oh!

  • And the other weeks, where you can tell...

  • ...they're just kind of going through the motions.

  • And personally, I try to care,

  • because my mind says, "I'm here.

  • - I might as well try to further myself as a musician, - That's true.

  • - make the most out of it." - Mhmm.

  • But then other times, um...

  • - If it's like a Harry Potter concert, - Oh.

  • - and then some people just stop caring. - Yeah.

  • Uhhh...

  • They do have more responsibility.

  • I know the first violin section,

  • we look at the concertmaster.

  • - Yeah! We typically do, - Yeah.

  • we don't look at the conductor as much.

  • The other principal second violin, violists,

  • cellos, double basses

  • - kinda look at the concertmaster as well. - Yes.

  • I believe the principal winds

  • - also look at the concertmaster. - They do, they do.

  • - Yeah. Yeah. - So it's like a second point of contact.

  • 'Cause there are some freak accidents where

  • - conductors just misses it, or something. - Yeah.

  • - And then concertmasters do take charge sometimes. - Yeah.

  • Oh, there's so many stories.

  • - We never did that many recordings, you know, actually. - Ahh... I didn't do that many, yeah.

  • I'd imagine they're on a tight timeline as well.

  • - 'Cause it's very expensive. - Yeah.

  • I would imagine they would just do...

  • Two or three run-throughs, and patch it up.

  • - 'Cause they can't afford it. It's too much. - Yeah.

  • It's not like you're one singer.

  • You're a hundred musicians, you gotta pay for them.

  • - You just gotta get it done. - Yeah.

  • And hope no one screws up.

  • I remember this recording we did, in...

  • It was youth orchestra.

  • It was like, a new composer.

  • - Like a student composer's work. - Yeah.

  • - It was just modern music. - Yeah yeah.

  • So it just kinda sounded a bit funny.

  • - And then I made eye contact with Oliver, the cellist. - Yeah.

  • And we just lost it. We're like...

  • And it's like, a recording.

  • - You don't want to mess up the recording, right? - Ohhh, that's the worst!

  • And we were just like..

  • That's so bad!

  • Oh, that would be so much pressure!

  • Ooh!

  • In orchestra.

  • 'Cause outside of orchestra...