Many of our staff members at Music Management are professional freelance musicians in addition to working as sales associates in our office, but what does this mean? I thought I would give our blog-readers a glimpse into the life of a freelancer as I am in the midst of a very eclectic but typical series of engagements.
As in other freelance fields, a freelance musician does not have a steady performance contract with one ensemble. Members of the Boston Symphony, for example, are not freelancers since they are paid an annual salary. Freelance musicians are paid per service.
For me these past few weeks, this has meant playing with the Portland Symphony Orchestra in April for their spring pops concert featuring music of the ‘70’s. That’s right, two and a half hours of disco and funk music with a full orchestra and the local band “Motor Booty Affair.” Basic black tuxedos were put aside and all the musicians donned their best platform shoes and polyester cocktail frocks.
The following engagement had me commuting back and forth to Falmouth, MA to perform as a soloist for Vivaldi’s “Il Cardillino” Concerto. Concertos are usually performed without looking at the sheet music, so I used the commute to do all of my mental preparation and memorization!
On May 8, I played with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra to close their concert season with a performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony.
Finally, the next weekend I had the pleasure of playing Bach’s magnificent “b minor Mass” with the Back Bay Choral Society in Sanders Theater, Cambridge.
Now, keep in mind that these are just the performances, so the weeks leading up to each performance typically included three or four evening rehearsals. After a full day in the office, a 7-10 rehearsal can be a challenge, especially when you consider the 6:00 AM wake-up call from my daughter and the necessity of fitting in a few hours of practice each day to actually prepare all the music.
So why do we all do this crazy freelance thing? Well, everyone has a different reason. For me, it is because of the chance to play many styles of music with many different types of ensembles. I play because I love performing and will do whatever it takes to have as many opportunities as possible to make music.
Vanessa Holroyd is a flutist and has been a member of the Music Management team since 1998. In addition to being an active freelance musician, she also founded and directs the classical ensemble, Anima, that performs for over sixty private and corporate events per year.