When I was a student at Queen’s, I remember being asked what exactly music students did all day. Did we head over to the music building after breakfast and just play our instruments all day? Well, not quite. We did spend significant amounts of time each day in the practice room, or in rehearsals, but that was on top of our academic classes. Being a music student was hard work. Sure, we had our creative outlets, but our days were fairly routine. Much like life after graduation. Because being a professional musician isn’t as glamourous as it may seem. Don’t get me wrong, being a professional musician is wonderful! There are some really cool aspects to this job. As a musician I sometimes get to travel to places I would otherwise not have the opportunity to visit, I get to work with all kinds of interesting people, and, one of my favourite parts, I get to wear beautiful gowns. For work! But “musician” is still a job, and just like any other job, it isn’t exciting all the time. So I thought I’d share with you how I spend a typical day….
Morning… I’d love to say that I wake up at 6 am, work out, and proceed to have a full day before most other people leave for work, but I’d be lying. What usually happens is this: my alarm clock goes off any time between 7 and 8, and I proceed to hit the snooze bar several times before willing my eyes to open. (Clearly, I am not a morning person.) Once I’ve gotten up, I make tea, pour myself a bowl of Cheerios, and sit down to have breakfast. While having breakfast, I usually watch some TV, check Facebook, and respond to emails. Then I go to the gym. (I try to go at least 5 times per week, but some mornings I just don’t have the time, although I would if I tried that waking-up-at-6-am thing.)
Afternoon… I’m a creature of habit, and I usually eat the same thing for lunch every day (peanut butter sandwich, chocolate milk, multivitamin). During lunch I once again watch some TV, check Facebook, and respond to any emails I forgot about in the morning. After lunch is when I usually do my practicing. Depending on what I’m working on at the time, practicing could include learning new repertoire, reviewing audition pieces, translating and studying a score, or reading text aloud while conducting myself to keep in rhythm. When I finish my practicing, I usually start getting ready for work. Depending on the day, I’ll have time before work to play my guitar for a little while, or work on a jigsaw puzzle (my current favourite hobby). Then I go to work. I usually teach from 3:30-8:30 pm, sometimes longer, sometimes with no breaks. If I do have a break, I get out my own music and do some extra practicing.
Night… After work I usually have a snack, watch TV, check Facebook, and read any new emails. Sometimes I’ll do more practicing, but typically I just need to rest after a night of teaching. I might relax with more tea, read articles online, or play my guitar. And start thinking about the things I need to do the next day.