Not Before Noon, Dear
Heather, let me tell you. When I got a job teaching music in the schools, all I could think was: hooray! No more late nights! A day job! I'm a musician with a day job! Yes, finally!Hmm. I have one job, and one job only, for which I do not mind getting up early, and that is Sunday's service at Mission Dolores. Sunday mornings are special, so much more still and quiet than weekday mornings, and even if I am ... recuperating ... from a late Saturday night, I drive across the bridge feeling as if I own the whole of the bay. There is something extra-beautiful about everything on Sunday morning, and that is enough to make me not mind that my fingers are at work at 9am.
As for the rest of it, well, I recently decided that there should be no piano playing before noon. At least, not for anyone besides myself. It's not that I hate mornings. I'll get up and swim for an hour, I'll do laundry, I'll put in the hours of solo practice. But I do not want to deal with anyone else before noon. After noon? Great! Conductors, I'm awake and limber and thinking. Let's teach these kids their do re mis! Singers, I've put the teakettle on and can pepper a four hour marathon rehearsal with lots of silly gossip. (A good vocal coach must also be an entertaining storyteller.) Finally, I arrive at the very best time of the day: the 7-10pm rehearsal. This is when all the best work gets done! And after rehearsal? I need my unwind time, a glass of wine at my favorite bar, and maybe some funny conversation before finding my pillow at some blurred hour after midnight.
Unfortunately, I haven't quite figured out how to make a living as a "p.m." pianist. I still must take what work I can get, and that usually means a school job and a classroom full of boisterous teenagers. At 8am.
But someday. Someday, between the day musicians and the night musicians, we'll get this all worked out. I'm sure of it.