A friend sent me an article that appeared on July 1st in the Guardian. In it Susan Tomes, pianist in the Florestan Trio, talks about how musicians in Europe view the possibility of raising their mandatory retirement age (which is low compared to what our colleagues are used to on this side of the big pond). Take the time, click on the link and read the story.
Here are two excerpts:
- Of course, a great artist who is loved by the public can afford to show the vulnerability of old age. But most musicians live in fear of the least sign of degeneration. A doctor attached to a symphony orchestra told me that almost all the players who consult him about physical problems beg him not to let their secret get out, because they know that there are plenty of other musicians waiting to take their place.
- Playing a concerto with a Swedish orchestra last year, I was amazed to see a box of earplugs by the door leading to the stage. It's unfortunately telling that orchestras should need to wear earplugs to protect them from the sound they're making - the very sound the audience has come to hear.
For those who have little children: please have them get the chicken pox vaccine. Although the disease itself is just a nuisance for a child, Varicella Zoster hides in the body and is ready to strike again as shingles. The pain from that can be horrendous and almost impossible to treat. Get it on your face and you can lose your eyesight or hearing. In my twenties, I couldn't bear the weight of a shirt during my second outbreak: students came to my house for their lessons with a topless teacher for two months. But being Finnish, they didn't think anything of it.