Paavo Jarvi asks: ‘Do you want to spend your life doing this?’

Paavo Jarvi asks: ‘Do you want to spend your life doing this?’


norman lebrecht

February 20, 2017

From a tour promo interview with Classic FM, a reality check from the Estonian conductor.

‘The first thing any young musician should ask themselves is: do they want to be in this profession and are they aware of what they’re getting into?

‘The reason most musicians end up being musicians is because they love music, because they’re attached to their instrument. But “do you want to spend your life doing this?” is not very often asked. People don’t think about the realities of playing in an orchestra or, as a pianist, practising hours on end in a practice room. And it’s not necessarily something everyone is happy to do.

‘So I think the piece of advice is to make sure we want to do it, because it is a great, great art, but sometimes it can be quite complicated professionally.’




  • mathias broucek says:

    Good questions. My wife left the profession after 25 years as an accompanist because it was too lonely!

  • Bruce says:

    Life throws up lots of reasons not to be a musician. From there’s the difficulty of making it in the first place, to the difficulty/ies of scratching out a living, to the cluelessness/lack of respect (“no, I meant what do you do for work… ohhhh, you get paid for that?”) from the general public, to the contempt you may get from your conductor or board members, to the general opinion that your life’s work is worthless… the weeding out process never really stops. Some people get weeded out early, some late. (And some never, of course)