Alright, alright. Today, I am going to be sharing a day in the life of a professional musician. While I am not a professional musician yet, it is a goal that I am working towards. I want to share what I am doing to reach those goals.
Every day is different, and this is just one example of how I spend my days. For this post, I’m going to share a bit of my Mondays. Mondays don’t have to suck!
So, if you also want to become a professional musician, I hope this post gives you some ideas for how to spend your time.
My Monday Mornings
I know some people might think it’s early, but I like to wake up at 7 am. Yes, that is earlier than I would like, but it works for me.
After my alarm goes off, I sit in bed for a bit to check email, social media, etc.
Then I head to the bathroom to brush my teeth and comb my hair. I don’t always leave the house first thing, but I still like to get in the habit of getting ready for the day.
Start the day
By 7:30 or 8, I’m usually at my desk ready to start working for the day. I’m currently in my masters degree, and I work as a freelance writer. Freelancing is something I want to continue with after my degree, and it’s an amazing way to work while in school.
I pull up the various programs that I use in my work including Trello, Slack, and WordPress. My main client uses these three to manage projects, communicate with team members, and actually write content.
Depending on what I did over the weekend, I might start or continue working on an article. For personal reasons, I’m going to keep the exact workflow private.
Usually, I work for a few hours.
Call me crazy, but I don’t eat breakfast. I’m just not hungry enough for it. I do, however, eat an early lunch. Once 11 am hits, I’m ready for a work break and some food.
My lunch of choice usually involves a bagel with some cream cheese and some fruit and vegetables on the side.
I take my lunch break to watch YouTube or check social media.
Once I’m done with lunch, I get ready to go to school.
Off to School
After lunch, I make sure my backpack is packed and ready for a long afternoon at school. I keep a variety of stuff in my backpack such as my instruments, music, and flute accessories.
Let me know if you want to see everything I keep in my backpack.
At this time, I make a peanut butter sandwich to take for dinner. I also make sure to fill my water bottle, since I live in a fairly dry climate.
The parking conundrum
One of my biggest struggles when I get to school is parking. I go to a commuter school, so parking isn’t always easy. If I get to school at just the wrong time, I’ll have to drive around for awhile just to find a spot.
Once I get a parking spot, I make my way to the music building. My walk isn’t too far, but the bitter cold of winter made it seem even longer. Luckily, spring is here so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Finding a practice room
When I get to the music building, I head straight to the practice rooms. One of the nice things about my school is that you have to have card access to get to the practice rooms.
In undergrad, I would see non-music students just studying or hanging out in practice rooms. Not cool.
But even with restricted access, I can’t always find a room with a music stand. I can use the piano, but I really prefer to stand while practicing.
Time to practice
When I find a room, I check the schedule for wind ensemble. Wind ensemble is my first class/ensemble of the day. I mostly play flute, but there’s one song where I play piccolo.
If we’re working on that song, I will leave time for some piccolo practice. However, I usually only have an hour at this point. So if we don’t have said song on the schedule, I will stick to flute for this practice session.
My warm up routine is pretty simple. I try to do harmonics, long tones, and some technique practice. Another thing I like to do is practice sight reading. For this, I use Flute Tunes, because they post a new piece of flute sheet music each day.
Then, I run through the music for today’s wind ensemble rehearsal.
On to rehearsal
At this point, it’s about 1 pm, and I have rehearsal at 1:30.
Personally, I like to be about 20 minutes early to rehearsal. That way, I have time to get settled, organize my stuff, and tune.
Yes, we do tune as an ensemble, but I like to tune beforehand so that I only have to make minor adjustments (pun intended).
Rehearsal lasts for about an hour and a half, so we can usually get quite a bit of stuff done.
After rehearsal, the flute section usually meets for a sectional. We go over the tricky parts of our music, and we can hear how the first and second parts fit together.
Back to the practice room
Once the flute sectional is over, I head to an individual practice room. Most of the practice rooms are open, so it’s easier for me to find one with a stand.
Now, I focus on anything I didn’t get to before wind ensemble. That includes etudes, solo rep, orchestra music, and piccolo.
I play third flute/piccolo in the university orchestra, and that’s next up on my schedule. So I make sure to hit any difficult spots in my orchestra rep.
Then I work on my solo rep and etudes. I don’t currently have any excerpts in progress, but I would practice these in this practice session.
The Evening Begins
After my big practice session, I take a break for dinner. I eat that peanut butter sandwich that I packed as well as a brownie bar. If I’m still hungry, I’ll walk over to the student center to grab a bag of chips.
Luckily, the music building has some nice seating, so I can eat in the lobby.
Orchestra warm up
Once I finish eating dinner, I head back to the practice rooms for another practice session. This time, my main focus is on orchestra.
Orchestra rehearses on Monday evenings, and I need to show up prepared. Especially since the piccolo has nowhere to hide.
I check the rehearsal schedule so I can get my music in order and so I can practice what I need to practice.
Just before 7 pm, I head down to orchestra rehearsal. Like with wind ensemble, I like to have enough time to set up my instruments and get tuned.
Orchestra rehearsal lasts until about 9:30, but we do get a 10 minute break.
Once orchestra ends, I pack up all of my stuff and make sure that I have everything. Then I head back to my car and drive on home.
Time to Relax
Once I get home from rehearsal, I take a shower and change into my pajamas. Even though it’s past 10 at that point, I like to relax for a bit at the end of the day.
I’ll usually spend about half an hour on my phone. I don’t like to go to bed stressed, so I might play a game on my phone or watch YouTube videos.
As a musician, every day is different. This is just one look at how my Mondays pan out. Sometimes, they’re completely different.
But as much as I like routine, I also like being able to change up that routine on occasion.