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Barroom Speculation: Future of tuba-ing Employment?

Postby dante jones » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:41 pm

Several topics come to mind for post-pandemic speculation:

*If & when North American symphonies and bands return to their schedules, will there be a crush of auditioners going to LA, Buffalo, Richmond, Princeton, the US Army bands, maybe one weekend after another? (does anyone know if St. Louis is still scheduled for next month?)

*Will there be a large number of retirements at this time a year from now from universities and orchestras?

*What are the chances those institutions make those jobs adjunct and per-service, respectively?

*How much should we north american teachers encourage our students to relocate to Asia/Europe to work as tubists? Or we as individuals?

*What kinds of entrepreneurial gimmicks (listen i'm a wrestling fan, I use that term endearingly) will be most successful (able to be replicated easily) as future avenues of employment for tubists?



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Re: Barroom Speculation: Future of tuba-ing Employment?

Postby Doc » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:42 am

dante jones wrote:Several topics come to mind for post-pandemic speculation:

*If & when North American symphonies and bands return to their schedules, will there be a crush of auditioners going to LA, Buffalo, Richmond, Princeton, the US Army bands, maybe one weekend after another? (does anyone know if St. Louis is still scheduled for next month?)


If there are a ton of auditioners that want to go to auditions (doubtful it would be anymore than any other time; the COVID break isn't long enough to produce a bunch of new tuba starlets and dump them on the market), and unless policies change (doubtful), auditioners will still face the same scrutiny in the initial screening/pre-screening process of each organization prior to actually being allowed to attend.

*Will there be a large number of retirements at this time a year from now from universities and orchestras?


Hard to predict, as we are in a bit of a holding pattern. Once things pick up steam in whatever direction things are going to move, that might become more predictable. My thought is that if folks have jobs/get paid, they aren't going to want to retire or jump ship into another career unless the circumstances (new normal???) make it necessary.

*What are the chances those institutions make those jobs adjunct and per-service, respectively?


As long as the government continues to back up student loans, and people continue to embrace ridiculous debt, there is no incentive to fire faculty, reduce staff, change the structure of positions, etc. at institutions of higher education. If those institutions are pressured by the government or public sentiment to tighten their belts, these changes could become a possibility. Conversely, symphony orchestras have already been facing financial struggles for years, so the long-term impact of the COVID hiatus and resulting new way of doing things could further financially cripple orchestras (and other performing arts). If there is not a return to normalcy, some orchestras (or some of the positions) could very well become per-service, or those organizations might simply fold and go out of business. Unions, of course would beat the drum, but if there ain't any money, there ain't a drum to beat.

*How much should we north american teachers encourage our students to relocate to Asia/Europe to work as tubists? Or we as individuals?


I'm not sure what would prompt this question. Is there some indication or perception that the rest of the world has a vast, unfilled overabundance of paid tuba jobs and a shortage of tuba players and teachers to fill them? Is there some indication or perception that there will suddenly be Corona-related openings? If you want to live and work in Europe or Asia, work toward that goal. If you want to live and work in North America, work toward that goal. If there are real, actual, money-making career opportunities (that could actually happen) and bona fide advantages for moving to those places not being used by the locals, I'm sure a bunch of folks here would like to know.

*What kinds of entrepreneurial gimmicks (listen i'm a wrestling fan, I use that term endearingly) will be most successful (able to be replicated easily) as future avenues of employment for tubists?


That may vary, depending on the person and their circumstances. One thing that may help (before the brainstorming begins) is to realize and admit that you cannot take yourself incredibly seriously. You cannot be the Funky Winkerbean band director. YOU and everything you DO is ENTERTAINMENT. When you cut through all the chaff and get down to the brass tacks, the most serious and talented orchestral musician (who rightly take their craft very seriously) are ENTERTAINERS. They produce high level entertainment, for sure. But the person that cries, "Art for art's sake!" needs to sit down, shut up, and stop typing. Musicians and artists, plus teachers who work in the arts, take their art seriously, and they should, but no one who wants to get paid and have a job or career wants to hear that "art for art's sake" nonsense when it comes to getting paid, save for those with an entitlement mindset. When you finally come to grips with the fact that you, the ENTERTAINER, provide ENTERTAINMENT, and that you need to attract and please a PAYING audience, you can start to brainstorm and embrace ideas outside of the very rigid, traditional box. Again, how you do that may depend on your personality and circumstances, but until musicians' and teachers' heady, self-important attitude changes (and sometimes one of entitlement) and they start thinking like business people, entrepreneurs, and salesmen getting people to spend their money, they'll have to, at some greater or lesser level, embrace the suck.
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