Achter de façade van spotlights en applaus schuilt een grimmige werkelijkheid. Psychosociale druk in het leven van een orkestmusicus. "Most people around me have had affairs, abuse alcohol or smoke. It is a hugely toxic environment."

 De Britse krant The Guardian heeft een langlopende serie "What I’m really thinking", waarin mensen anoniem het achterste van hun tong laten zien.

Deze keer vertelt een freelance orkestlid over zijn dagelijks leven.

Bron: The Guardian

What I’m really thinking: the orchestral musician
Most people around me have had affairs, abuse alcohol or smoke. It is a hugely toxic environment


The Guardian
Saturday 9 April 2016

I have done this for so long, my mind is free to wander while I play. The thrill of this being a fresh challenge has long gone: I just want to get to the end of the concert and go home.
Travelling against commuter traffic is great, but it’s also a reminder that most people are on their way to relax and I’m only just getting started.
“Oh, but you play music you love, on an instrument you love,” I’m regularly told. I don’t: I was forced to learn my instrument by abusive parents who thought classical music was posh.
Whatever is put in front of me I have to play; I have no say in it.
We’re not all friends. The person on my right had an affair with the person on my left, and the ex sits close by. We all spend six hours a day together on average. Most people around me have had affairs, abuse alcohol or smoke.
The working conditions are gruelling enough that people develop coping mechanisms. It is a hugely toxic environment.
Late nights and out-of-town work mean I often get home after midnight, but I sleep only around six hours or I’ll miss the family in the only half-hour we have together. I work most weekends and holidays, then have random weekdays off.
The freelance pay structure and low fees keep my nose glued to the grindstone, with almost zero opportunities to develop broader interests or a social life outside. People fraternise exclusively according to instrument, reinforcing the incestuous lifestyle, especially on tour.
Once in a blue moon, a performance will be extraordinary. But for now, please stop clapping. I just want to go home, even if my family will already be asleep when I get there.


Lees ook: What I’m really thinking: the private music teacher.
When a child does not practise and cannot remember note names or values week after week, my heart clenches in despair.