A few weeks ago I was pretty darn frustrated at myself for showing up at a sound check in downtown Chicago three hours early. I read the schedule wrong and had suddenly found myself with three child-less, computer-less hours to sit at the coffee shop across the street from the hall and just think. Being it had been a while since I’d make such a rookie mistake, I humbly compiled a humorous but accurate list of tips (which may or may not also be a list of personal fouls over the last 15 years) to aid young freelancers in their new journey. There could be so many more tips than this, but napkins are only so big…KL
- Reply to emails requesting your services/availability within 24 hours.
- Know the dress code, then dress conservatively. If you have to question your choice, it’s not the right one.
- Patrons paid money to hear you- Guys: Press your shirts. Gals: Wear formal fabrics.
- Figure out where you will park in advance of the gig. I recently discovered the SpotHero app and it has been really helpful for this.
- If you are carpooling, give at least $10 more to the driver than you think you should.
- If you are carpooling, do not make your ride wait for you.
- If you are carpooling, do not eat smelly food in the car while you are on your way to your gig.
- Don’t take up half a table in the dressing room with your case. Zip it up and set it on it’s spine to make room for others.
- At the gig, introduce yourself to unfamiliar faces.
- Don’t ask colleagues about their gigs. Maybe they’ve been a little low on calls lately or maybe they are shy to brag, either way, it makes both of you feel bad, so don’t ask.
- Don’t ask colleagues who played a gig that you weren’t on, because, again, neither of you will feel better afterward.
- Don’t ask colleagues when they were called to play a gig (information you can use to find out if you were called first).
- Don’t fuss over your chair or stand. You can deal with it for one day.
- Warm up quietly.
- Ask questions of your principal player, not the conductor.
- Take your own snacks. Don’t expect that a meal will be provided.
- Don’t complain about which chair you have been assigned or which part you are playing.
- Don’t write stupid things in your music.
- Do not leave your instrument in a walkway during break.
- Thank your colleagues after your performance. Everyone put a lot of work into making the gig successful.
Graduation Year: 2009
What are you doing professionally right now? I taught privately and freelanced in Chicago for the past four years and now I am starting my DMA in Horn Performance & Literature at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
Why did you choose IWU? I chose IWU because I had such a great connection with my horn professor, Christine Worthing, and I loved the atmosphere at IWU. I was nurtured and challenged and given so
many opportunities to perform and to be a leader.
Did you feel prepared when you got to grad school, or in your first job placement? I certainly felt overwhelmed when starting my MM in Horn Performance and starting to freelance in Chicago, but ultimately I conquered these new professional challenges because IWU gave me the tools to succeed. I didn’t just learn how to be a great musician at Illinois Wesleyan- I also learned how to work well with others, be a leader, create opportunities for myself, and tackle hard times with positivity and determination. And no matter how much times passes, I know that the support network of friends and professors and colleagues from Illinois Wesleyan is always there to cheer me on.
Do you have any advice for students trying to decide on their undergraduate school? In the end, there will be a school that just “feels right” and you’ll want to be a part of the community there. The professors and the students are the heart of the university and you should go where you feel the strongest connection with their work and ideals.
Would you choose IWU again? I would definitely choose Illinois Wesleyan again. I can’t really imagine who I would be if I hadn’t gone there! Whenever I go back to visit it just feels like home!
It is a source of pride to know that our graduates are out there making their mark on the world. It hasn’t taken long for IWU Alumna Audra Loveland to do just that. I asked Audra if she would take a moment to share with us what she has been up to since graduating just four years ago. She has had amazing success, and Audra still has amazing things yet to accomplish.- KL
Graduation year: 2012
What are you doing professionally right now? I just recently moved from Chicago to San Francisco. I plan to freelance in the bay area and take auditions. Within a week of moving here, I was hired to be the Horn Professor at Fresno Pacific University. I will be teaching private horn lessons and also coaching chamber music. I am currently studying with Principal Horn of the SFSO, Bob Ward.
Why did you choose IWU? When I visited IWU, I immediately felt the sense of community within the music school. It was important to me that I would receive rigorous music training along with a liberal arts education.
Did you feel prepared after graduation? Absolutely. Because I am pursuing horn performance as a career, it was very beneficial to be studying with someone as successful in the freelance world as Kelly Langenberg. She has done everything! If you need someone to guide you as a performer or an educator, she is exactly what you need. She helped me prepare for my graduate school auditions. Immediately following IWU, I attended Northwestern University and received a Master’s Degree in Horn Performance.
Any advice for students who are currently deciding on a university? I would recommend going somewhere that challenges you but also supports you while pursuing your career. IWU provided me with amazing opportunities while I was in school and continues to help me on my career path.
Would you choose IWU again? Absolutely. Nowhere can compare to the quality of teaching and people I was exposed to while in school. I am still in contact with many of my professors and colleagues.
Hi, everybody! This is the first blog post on our brand new French Horn @ IWU Blog site. I just wanted to take a moment to let you know I feel so great about this school year, the momentum in our studio, and the talent I hear you all display every week in your lessons. Keep up the good work and I look forward to growing with you and hearing how you mature over this school year.