Author Topic: Tell us your professional life as a clarinetist or otherwise  (Read 28 times)

Offline TMHeimer

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Lots of stuff about clarinet models, mouthpieces, etc.  As professionals, we come to a point where we are pretty satisfied with our equipment. How did you get to where you are?  Is there further to go? Money?

My story is on LinkedIn and elsewhere, obviously. I have sat next to about 40 clarinetists professionally over 5-6 decades-- those that are in my wheelhouse-- that is-- really very good but not top professional. What is your story?-- Similar to mine?
The Most Advanced Clarinet Book
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom
(click on the book image then on PDF for samples)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Tell us your professional life as a clarinetist or otherwise
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2020, 10:39:23 PM »
I never went pro. I played clarinet at UCLA in a variety of groups

1. Symphonic Band. This is the standard band group for non-music majors (I got a BS in Meteorology, BA in Asian Studies and MA in Asian Studies)
2. VGOC (Video Game Orchestra and Choir) which became GME (Game Music Ensemble). I was one of the very first members of VGOC, when there were less than 20 members. When GME began, there were up to 200 players, so many that they had to audition for each individual peace. Each piece in a concert was played by only a fraction of the total membership.
3. On-call Contra Alto Clarinetist. As I appeared to be the only C-Alto Clarinetist in Great Los Angeles, I was the on-call guy whenever UCLA had any event that needed a Contra player. My favorite was probably the Doctoral Concert for a guy who was pursuing his Doctorate in Conducting. As I understood it, the concert was basically part of his PhD dissertation. It was nice to be invited to such a special occassion.

I haven't really played clarinet since college. I transitioned almost entirely to clarinet repair and restoration, with a bit of "Clarinet Historian" on the side. I also help with this forum and ClarinetPages.xyz (though I've been slacking on the .xyz site - I'm sorry, Phil)

Long story short, I was never "good" enough to make money playing. I always found it a fun hobby, and used my skill as a rare contra-alto player to get myself gigs where necessary.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Tell us your professional life as a clarinetist or otherwise
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 10:41:07 PM »
in terms of a truly professional life, I am woefully unemployed due to the virus.

Ironically, I had three active job offers before the plague struck. I turned down Bank of America and AAA in favor of a management track at Geico. However, the Geico offer was entirely rescinded so I was left on unemployment for the past several months.

With unemployment around 13%, I don't have any real prospects for the future. At least the local Home Depot and Trader Joe's are hiring...
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline BLMonopole

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Wow, Dave....really sorry that it has been a rough time for you.  Hang in there....things are getting better, the economy is opening back up, and I know that you'll be back in a good place with work soon. 


Offline BLMonopole

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I played clarinet from 4th grade through the end of high school.  I was pretty good, but hadn't planned on playing in college.  Fate intervened when I found out that I basically needed a scholarship to even afford going to college, and I ended up getting some money at an out-of-state school as part of a music scholarship. My parents later moved to that state during my sophomore year, and therefore the scholarship was no longer needed.  I immediately changed majors, took on a huge course load to try and graduate on time with a more business-focused degree, and never looked back.  I literally didn't play for over 20 years. 

I have had careers in advertising, marketing, agriculture, and I have run a non-profit for the past 4 years.  I've been lucky to have enjoyed each step along the way, and to have made a nice living as I've gone along. 

Once my life, family, and career were in a good place, I started to miss music.  I started back playing with a community band almost 10 years ago now, and have loved it.  I now study with a teacher, play in chamber ensembles, and have built up a stable of great instruments that I enjoy playing.  Continuing to play these awesome vintage instruments is basically my "retirement plan," although retirement is still several years away.