I was having dinner with friends yesterday and was asked what I did for fun. That is inbetween running an events business and two websites for musicians. Well I do belong to a health club at a vast expense which it was my new years resolution to visit at least once a week and which I have managed to do about 3 times in the last 6 weeks! Do you still play your clarinet someone asked. Well yes but not as often as I would like to and not as seriously as I would like to and actually I would not class playing the clarinet as fun anyway. Now that I am no longer professional (following a road accident some time ago) I can no longer spend the time practising on a regular basis which is what I would need to do in order to bring my playing to the standard which would enable me to fluently and effectively express the music that I want to play. My friend also plays the clarinet and said that after she gained a distinction in her grade 8 at school she decided not to study to become a professional clarinettist for the very reason that it would no longer be fun! She was therefore glad that she is doing what she is now doing which, as it happens, is a very important and well paid job. I would whole heartedly support her in that. You should only become a professional musician if you have no other choice, as a means of earning a living it can be a disaster and any musician reading this will know that!
Playing is exhilerating and liberating and creative and challenging and I love it to bits because it is, or was fundamentally the way that I expressed myself. I went on to be a professional performer in the same way as I continued to breathe, it was not a choice, it was just what I had to do. When I had an accident which gave me a whip lash injury which meant that I could no longer hold the instrument for more than 20 minutes without being in a huge amount of pain what I missed was not fun, what I had lost was my voice. Sometimes, just sometimes I get a glimmer of that back when I play but mainly now I get the chance to hear it in the playing of others particularly in the groups that I coach. I also get a little of it back in the work that I am still writing for tutti.co.uk about wind playing. It is aimed particularly at adult players and I should have completed it in August had not our whole lives been disrupted by builders and I really do intend to finish it soon after the next event and after – oh well, hopefully in the summer at the very latest – I will keep you posted! Until then – have fun!