The Hustle of a Percussionist in Boston

At 33, Tetreault was putting in 100-hour weeks on a patchwork of gigs he’d pieced together — simultaneously serving as the music director at the Galilee Baptist Church in Denver; teaching at the University of Colorado; and working various gigs with the Boulder Philharmonic, the Fort Collins Symphony, the Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Symphony, and Opera Colorado. Yes, he was doing what he loved for a living, but when he added it all up, it was barely a living at all. He’d made $55,000 the previous year, pretty good — until you factored in all the hours, and the fact that the salary had to support two since his wife, Rachel, had been laid off in 2010 from a communications job with the Colorado Symphony. The couple was living in a 625-square-foot one-bedroom apartment.

A man prepares for a year (and really, his whole life) to audition for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I got so stressed out reading this that I skipped ahead to see how it ended, because I couldn’t take the suspense. If you’ve ever lamented a lack of passion in your life, this might be a good thing for you to read. Passion is terrible and torturous.

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5 Comments / Post A Comment

(#1,428)

This article pretty much sums up why, after 10 years of piano, violin, guitar and harp, I decided not to pursue a music performance major in college. Even years later, it makes me sweat and shiver just thinking about all the anxiety and stress I used to feel before big auditions.

AnnieNilsson (#406)

Holy shit.

lalaland (#437)

Wow. I’ve never been more grateful for my general interest in everything, but lack of passion for anything.

This is why I’m pursuing a doctorate in piano performance right now. Because there’s no realistic way for anyone to survive gigging if they’re a classical pianist. Or as a classical musician really. But we don’t even have the option of orchestral jobs.

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