[Dixielandjazz] A SAD STORY

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 13 14:57:08 PST 2004

on 12/13/04 1:34 PM, Stan Brager at sbrager at socal.rr.com wrote:

> Steve;
> Thanks for putting this article on the DJML. I'm certain that many on this
> mailing list can relate to the experiences of those in the article. However,
> I would go even further to say that the similar experiences occur to many
> who continue their education after high school. After all, as the article
> points out, these "kids" who were at the top or near the top of their high
> school class and work hard in college, discover that the working world is
> more than merely talent in one's chosen field. For many, the struggle after
> college to find the job for which one has trained turned out to be a
> daunting task. Many, to pay the bills, simply go into other fields where the
> opportunity for work is better.
> Rather than a sad story, this is the story of life.

Hi Stan (added you to my mailing list)

Just finished a gig where I had asked Glenn Dodson about the subject. Glenn,
now 75, was among the top 4 classical trombonists in the world and 28 years
Principal Trombone with the Philadelphia Orchestra and 1950 graduate of
Curtis Inst of Music in Phila, among other things. His students are now
Principal TBs at NY Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony etc.

He said one of the reasons also is the decline in demand for classical
musicians. Used to be that the Orchestras did not pay much. He made $2500 a
season with New Orleans Symphony in the mid 1950s, early 1960s.

Consequently there was about a 25% annual turnover among most Orchestras as
musicians found better paying jobs teaching, or outside music. Most grads of
Curtis or Juilliard did not have to wait long for an orchestra gig.

Today is vastly different, at least in the top symphonies. Concert Masters,
first chair, etc routinely make $200,000 in Philly, NY, San Francisco. And
even in smaller units, make a pretty good buck. Some Principal players make
close to $500,000.

Therefore, Glenn says, there is almost no turnover at the major Symphony
level anymore except for death or a disease which erodes one's skills. Thus,
the hard time even 44 graduates have in getting an orchestra gig.

He also says Curtis does a better job than Juilliard in getting employment
for their graduates, but that was not always the case.

Larry's comments about Military Bands are well noted. In Washington DC, the
military players are superb and they make a good living. And when they
retire after 20 or 30 years, have a variety of playing options along with a
good pension.

Yes, you are right, this is life. Supply and demand rules. Right now in
virtually all musical genres there is a huge supply of musicians and a much
smaller demand for them. So the successful ones (bottom line earnings that
enable them to stay in the field full time) must differentiate themselves
somehow from the rest of the pack. In that vein, Kenny G rules.

We see it all around us in OKOM also.


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