Monthly Archives: October 2014

Until you drop

There is one thing I don’t like so much as a performing artist. Sometimes I feel irreplaceable and it’s a huge responsibility. Sometimes it leads to play with our health. And why?

I wrote about this theme already in my thesis Body as
Instrument. Physical demands of working as a musician. (Sorry, only abstract in English.)

Why so many times musicians get up on the stage even when they are not feeling very well or they are really sick? This mentality has to come from somewhere. If you have all your fingers in their place and you can still walk to the stage, everyone expects you to do it. I remember playing Dvořák cello concerto slow movement’s solo having fever and my heart racing in my ears in over double tempo of the piece. I told I’m really feeling bad but no one said that I shouldn’t come. There wouldn’t be anyone else to play my part and it’s kind of needed there. On the other hand, in orchestra there is maybe more easy to replace the player if the program is very known pieces so there just might be someone who has played that part. Yes, I heard one time one player had to fly from Helsinki to Oulu to the concert on the same day.

But what happened last night in the theater for me… It would have been too little time to get anyone else there on my spot since the other clarinet player was abroad. To know what parts to play without notes, where to go. I called to the theater during the day to tell that I’m feeling quite bad. But who wants to cancel the performance. It’s really expensive… So I promised to try to come there. Also because my parents and their friends and some other relatives came from another city to watch me. Only that night. There was also the irony, that I got this flu from my mum since I had to stay at my parents place earlier this week for teaching work. Maybe it would have been possible to give the performance without me but I wanted to be there. So I took all the medicines I could and called a taxi because I was too weak to walk. I believe I didn’t have fever but my nose was bleeding just before leaving and it would make anyone weak. In the show it was almost all good. I don’t have to play so much and have time to rest on the backstage. Anyway just in the final scene for me, where we are standing in the middle, I felt that blowing is too much. I even quit playing earlier because I felt dizzy. I took the arm of the oboe player next to me. I wanted to go away from the stage but it was little too late. I almost fell but our angels, servants dressed like angels in the performance, caught me just in time and dragged me away from the stage. It was a pity that it was the first time I got flowers (from my parents) and I couldn’t go with them on the stage during the applause but was lying on the floor backstage. 20141026_114825

The reasons for doing this work even when feeling so bad are that you don’t want to cancel if they have to cancel all the show. It’s expensive for the theater because there is so many other people working as well. And of course it is a disappointment for the audience.

Even if you had organized the concert yourself for example with a pianist, you should pay the rent for the venue and salary for the pianist, and perhaps refund the tickets for the audience. And how often you are able to reschedule concerts? I think never during the same year.

For a freelancer musician it also means lost of incomes. No show, no money. And same with the teaching. Many times there is the lack of health care for freelancer musicians. Should we go to private doctors? And who really understands how physically demanding this job is?

Yeah, sometimes I wish I had just a normal day job. I could call that I can’t come and someone else would be able to do those urgent things if I would help on the phone lying in the bed at the same time. Other jobs could wait until I come back.

Well, at least I can say that yesterday I gave my everything. I was there until I dropped. But I’m not sure if it should be like that.


Dream about the Sound

There is still actually something really important missing from my wordpress webpage and it’s of course music. The problem is how to create that. I have a recorder so it would be possible to record something and publish it here, but actually it’s not that simple if I want to do it right.

Well, who owns the music?

I have been playing and singing just for fun with my friend some cover songs but if I would want to record them I should get permit of the copyright owners and also probably pay some fees.

As a “classical” musician I’m used to play music that is composed to be played by other performers than the composers themselves. There is also some rules of what music you can freely record and publish. In Teosto webpage ( it’s said that the copyright is valid for the composers lifetime and 70 years after that. After recording this kind of music, I would use it as promotional material. Anyway someone might use my recordings for their own purposes without asking me or giving the information that the performer is me.

One option would be to compose my original music and record that. I’m not yet registered in Teosto or any other copyright offices. That would mean that even if I would have the copyright of my own work, someone might use it without asking my permit and try to get profit with it. Sometimes it’s very difficult to keep on track on copyright violations since the world of Internet has changed and it makes possibile for individuals to publish whatever they want anywhere. Sometimes it’s just sad that they won’t respect the rights of the creative people that want to do original stuff. On the other hand, it’s one of the easiest way to publish own version of a popular song if you want to be noticed.

I have been playing for few recordings myself. Everytime we young musicians have been asked to sign contracts where we give all our rights away for the material so we are not able to get any profit ourselves. If we won’t do it, we are not able to play on those recordings or DVD’s.

So there will be my music availabe as soon as I figure out what is the best way to make it.

Kielet / Languages

Tämä blogi on kirjoitettu sekä suomeksi että englanniksi. Syyt kaksikielisyyteen löytyvät siitä, että haluan tuoda esille suomalaisuuttani ja äidinkieltäni, mutta kansainvälistyvässä maailmassa minullakin on jo lukuisia yhteyksiä ulkomaille, joten haluan tarjota kaikille mahdollisuuden lukea blogiani. Kielet ovat aina kiinnostaneet minua ja tällä hetkellä olenkin oppinut viittä eri kieltä suomen lisäksi. Tärkeintä kielissä on kommunikointi. Ei niin väliä, jos tekee virheitä, kunhan saa asiansa selvitettyä. Suuri merkitys on myös yhdellä pienellä sanalla. Puolassa kiitin puolaksi ja löysimme yhteyden erään miehen kanssa muutamalla saksan ja venäjän sanalla ja käsiä huitomalla.

This blog is written both in Finnish and in English. Reasons for this are that I want to show that I’m Finnish and use my mother tongue but I want this blog to be international as well and be able to share this blog around the world. I’ve always been interested in languages and I’ve studied five foreing languages. I use English language probably everyday anyway while communicating with friends. My English is not perfect but I believe everyone undestrands me.

Ich mag Deutsch. Deutsche Sprache ist vielleicht nicht leicht aber ich habe die für 9 Jahre in der Schule studiert. Am besten könnte ich auf Deutsch sprechen, weil ich in Graz, in Österreich studierte. Ich entschied mich für Österreich wegen der Sprache. Ich finde, dass deutche Sprache nützlich für Musikanten ist.

Eesti keelt räägib alles umbes üks miljonit inimest. Ma õppisin selle keele ära kui ma Tallinnas paar aastad elasin. Minu jaoks see on väga huvitav keel, sest samal ajal kui ma seda õppisin, õppisin ma ka palju soome keelest. Mulle oli tähtis selle riigi keelt oskada kus ma elan. Palju kergem on aru saada mis juhtub siin kultuuris. Muidugi vahel on soome  ja eesti keeled koos naljakad.

Svenska språket är det andra officiella språket i Finland. I skolan var jag ganska bra i svenska, men efter skolan behövde jag det inte så mycket. Jag skulle vilja kunna tala bättre på svenska och nu och då tittar eller lysnar jag någonting på svenska.

Я музикант и учительнитча. Я играю на кларнете. Я хоцу русский язик учить. My Russian language is really in the beginner level but I find the language interesting. The idea of learning it came when I live in Tallinn and heard it everyday. At least I wanted to be able to read it even without understanding. And after learning the letters I actually started notice that I could understand a lot more.

Ajatuksia oppimisesta

Opettaessa joutuu kohtaamaan hyvin konkreettisesti sen, miten ihminen oppii. Olen pohtinut asiaa ja todennut, että jatkuvaa oppimista on lähes mahdotonta välttää. Tahtomattamme opimme uutta ympäristöstämme. Joka päivä kuulemme jotain uutta, joka saattaa vain jäädä mieleen. Esimerkiksi mainoksen tunnuslaulu tai radiossa juuri soittoon tullut kappale. Viimeistään toisella kerralla kuullessamme tunnistamme kappaleen ja saatamme jopa hyräillä sitä tartuttaen sen eteenpäin.

Soittotunneilla oppilaat soittavat parhaiten jo tuttuja melodioita. Kyse on siitä, että he tietävät jo, mitä seuraavaksi tapahtuu ja energiaa ei kulu nuottien lukemiseen niin paljon. Oppimistyö on tehty jo etukäteen. Miksi sitten tuntuu, että oppilaat eivät osaa soittoläksyjään? Oppimisessa on kyse myös toistoista. Jos päivän aikana kuulee viisi kertaa saman kappaleen radiosta tai televisiosta, on helppo arvata, että iltaan mennessä se on jo hyvin korvassa. Soittoläksyjä ei kuunnella tällä tavalla.

Jos mennään tarpeeksi ajassa taaksepäin, ei ollut mahdollisuutta kuunnella äänitettyä musiikkia ollenkaan. Tällöin musiikkia soitettiin itse nuoteista. Silloin nuotinluvun merkitys oli suuri, koska vain sillä tavoin pystyi selvittää miltä mikäkin musiikki kuulosti. Nuotinkirjoitus on säilynyt edelleen yhtenä musiikin jakamisen muotona. Kovasti alaa on vienyt myös äänitetty musiikki. Nuotteja ei enää tarvitse, kun kappaleen voi taltioida valmiiksi kuunneltavaan muotoon. Jotkut oppivat sitä kautta, toiset taas tarvitsevat myös visuaalisen kuvan.

Oppilaat eivät ehkä itse edes huomaa, kuinka paljon muuta musiikkia he kuuntelevat. Viikon aikana pari kertaa itse läpi rämmitty soittoläksy ei jää mieleen. Nykytekniikka mahdollistaa kuitenkin soittoläksyn äänittämisen jo soittotunnilla oppilaan älypuhelimeen. Näin hän voi kuunnella kappaletta niin useasti kuin haluaa. Kun kappale toistuu tarpeeksi monta kertaa, se jää mieleen ja sitä on helpompi soittaa. Mahdollista on soittaa myös korvakuulolta tai nuotteja apuna käyttäen. Se ei kuitenkaan poista harjoitteluun vaadittavaa aikaa. Myös kehon täytyy oppia kuinka toteuttaa instrumentin kautta musiikki.

Ehkä ympäristömme on niin täynnä kaikkea muuta, että meille ei jää energiaa oppia muita asioita. Soittoharrastus tulisi kuitenkin aloittaa vain jos on ymmärtänyt mitä se vaatii, jos haluaa edistyä.

Tämä pätee myös muuhun oppimiseen. Esimerkiksi kieliin. Helpoiten uutta kieltä oppii ympäristössä, jossa sitä kuulee ja pääsee käyttämään jatkuvasti. Sanojen ja lauserakenteiden toistuessa ne lopulta omaksuu itselleen käyttöön, vaikka samalla voi tarvita tukea erikseen kieliopin opiskelusta.

Tärkeää on myös opettaessa ymmärtää, että on vaikea oppia asioita, ilman tarvittavaa tietopohjaa. Kognitiivisen oppimiskäsityksen mukaan uutta tietoa kerätään vanhan pohjalta. Uusi tieto järjestetään sopivaksi tai vanha tieto muutetaan vastaamaan uutta käsitystä. Siksi musiikin opiskelussakin on lähdettävä liikkeelle aina siitä mitä oppilas jo tietää ja se on opettajan tehtävä selvittää. Minullekin olisi aivan turha selittää minulle vieraasta alasta jotain spesifistä yksityiskohtaa, niin että ymmärtäisin sen. Ensin täytyisi selvittää perusasiat kyseisestä alasta. Ja näin meidän omat henkilökohtaiset kiinnostuksen kohteemme selviät sillä, mihin me jaksamme perehtyä ja mistä haluamme tietää lisää. Tästä johtuen kai harrastuksesta usein tulee myös työ.

Ehkä siis kaikki voivat oppia lähes mitä vain. Riippuu vain siitä kuinka paljon on valmis käyttämään aikaa. Ja oppia ensin itselle kaikkien paras tapa oppia.

Saving the Premiere and Preparing for an Audition

Last Saturday we had the premier night of Amadeus in Oulu city theatre. I was not going to play and I saw the whole performance few nights before when there was first audience (family and friends). So I decided to stay at home for the evening and only enter the after party. It was 20 minutes to seven when I got a call from the theatre. The other clarinettist had broke her instrument just at this moment! I jumped up from the sofa and rushed to the theater. Luckily I live so near that all this took me only 10 minutes and I already gave my instrument for Reetta. She used her own mouthpiece and barrel so it was not too weird for her to step in with a new instrument. And it was still lots of time, like 9 minutes before the show started and she was ready. And luckily I decided to stay home. Otherwise I woudln’t maybe have my phone on or at least getting my instrument from home would have taken a lot more time.

These couple of weeks I’ve been using my free time to prepare for an audition. I have participated for few auditions before. The last time was in Oslo in January with E flat clarinet. This time the focus is with bass clarinet. Maybe everyone has always the same feeling. There is not enough time to get to know all the new orchestral excerpts in such a short time. Unless you are lucky and know them all already. Now for the first time I felt quite comfortable with Mozart. Adagio from the second clarinet concerto by Spohr was quite nice to learn with bass clarinet. Although it has it’s own tricky moments. Compared my last preparation, this time I’m also working all the time so I haven’t got many days only for practicing for the audition. Last time I used my whole Christmas holidays alone practicing almost everyday (people need to rest!) and had nothing else going on.

My feelings are a bit contradicting. On the other hand I’m really thrilled to travel to Helsinki to play. I believe that I wouldn’t practice so much if I didn’t have anything coming up. And somewhat I enjoy the challenge. On the other hand I’m terrified and thinking “What is the point? There will be so many others and so many betters”. But I think that it’s what we musicians have to do. Prepare ourselves for the auditions and participate many times. Everytime should be better and better but it’s quite impossible to practice these emotions and practical things before doing it.

I’m a huge fan of one tv-series called Black Box that just started this autumn in Finland. There was one brain surgeon who said to one medical student that succesful people focus on the things they can do best. Better than other people. I wrote earlier about my skills. I feel I’m quite skilled person but it also takes time to find the place where I will be able to use my skills in the best way.

Wish me luck for the next week! Time to practice again.