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Becoming an Orchestral Musician: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals Paperback – 18 Nov 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Giles de la Mare Publishers (18 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781900357234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900357234
  • ASIN: 1900357232
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


John Clare in Daily Telegraph: recommended, in 'Any Questions?' Sir Edward Downes: 'Thanks so much for your marvellous book...You should be very proud of it - and [Joan and I] both feel it ought to be a "set book" at Music Colleges for all prospective orchestral players.' Classical Music: '...[his] practical guide invites systematic reading from cover to cover...Experienced players will nod in agreement with something on every page...newcomers will be profoundly grateful for page after page of advice just not obtainable from normal conservatoire training...the many tips on relationships with colleagues often overlooked by full-time performers...Beautifully laid out on good-quality opaque paper...Davis's book is an unbeatable-value master-class.' Classic FM, The Magazine (four stars): '...[his] invaluable... book. It certainly fills a gap in the market: no one previously has thought to spell out what it takes to become (and survive) as an orchestral musician. Davis, principal flute of the BBC Philharmonic and a senior lecturer at the Royal Northern College of Music, is better qualified than most to tackle the subject. He has a pragmatic, detached view of the business...This should be required reading for all music students.' Maggie Cotton, percussionist with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for forty years: 'Richard Davis's most excellent book...a gem of unvarnished, thoughtful advice...it should be required that every music teacher in the land should have a copy, digest it thoroughly and pass on the messages to their young...[it] is worth its weight in gold.' Musician (Musicians' Union Magazine): 'Essential reading.' (December 2005) Glasgow Herald: '...it will undoubtedly prove helpful to anyone considering a career in music...for any concert goer who has ever wondered how the orchestra onstage functions...it also offers an illuminating glimpse into [its] workings and dynamics...' Pan, Journal of the British Flute Society: 'Almost everything you've always wanted to know, but didn't dare ask, is tackled: counting, nerves, trials, politeness, high finance, Pythagorean tuning...it's all in there...I must express nothing but admiration for the genial style and content of [his] book.' Education: '...a unique insight into the world of professional performers...I would strongly recommend this book to everyone studying or teaching music at a more advanced level, and...essential reading for anyone associated with children who aspire to be professional musicans.' Clarinet & Saxophone Society Magazine (editor's choice): 'No aspiring musician can afford to be without this comprehensive guide to entering the music profession...It [should be] kept within easy reach on the bookshelf at home and in the music and career libraries of all schools and colleges...All the practical advice and information is as essential... as a map and guide book is to the discerning traveller.' Jennifer Cluff, principal flute of Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, in reply to a college first-year student's question on her website, 'What is the best advice for becoming a professional soloist or symphonic flautist...[and] on the process of auditioning/joining a symphony and/or becoming a professional soloist?' she wrote: 'See Becoming an Orchestral Musician...this is a phenomenal book! Read it cover to cover!!...[it]is the best book ever written on the subject... and I have read hundreds. I loved it and read it cover to cover in one day.' Reviewer (Chris Downing) on Amazon.co.uk (five stars), from UK: 'I love these books that relate careers as they really are rather than how a journalist or a professional writer sees them from the outside. This book covers all aspects of being a working musician and can be related to any instruments easily...reading this book will help you avoid the pitfalls, enjoy the successes and understand what you'll need to be doing every day to earn a crust.' Rachel Brown, distinguished flautist, lecturer and author, London: 'Just finished reading your wonderful book. It only arrived two days ago. I've read it from cover to cover as I couldn't put it down. It's so eloquent and so readable. Time after time I heard a voice in my head saying "Yes! Exactly!" Now I'm completely behind with the work I should have been doing but I feel like working...I'm sure the book will be an inspiration to so many.' Reviewer on Amazon.co.uk (five stars), from Moscow: '[It] transported me from the audience, my normal vantage point, to behind the scenes of an orchestra...I read this book from cover to cover in one day, never losing interest -- and I'm not a musician! Strongly recommended for any serious music fan, and an absolute must for any music student (and his or her parents).' Winds: '...it will have balanced suggestions for any query you might have about the music business...[it] should be in every school library and on the bookshelf of every music teacher and professional player.' All Flutes Plus bookshop: Congratulations on an excellent book. We are certainly very pleased to recommend it as a "must have" to all aspiring young professional musicians and their parents. A much needed publication, I'm sure it will be deservedly successful.' Jo Buckland, freelance graduate violinist: 'I have never read such an inspiring book...an eye-opener...[at] Dartington this summer, I wasn't the only one talking about it -- so many others were saying how inspiring it was...I just wish I'd known about it at college...[where] it should be on the reading list.'Perfect Fifths, Resources and Reviews for Violin, Viola and 'Cello Players: '...a lovely, well written, informative book...this all-encompassing guide...' Leo Eroed, Linz, Austria, orchestral bassoonist: '...a fantastic book that covers nearly [everything you need] to know about the business...I was inspired to find a publication of this quality...' Gerloff Music Studio, California (five stars): '...[it] gives great insight not just into what it takes to become a good ensemble player, but what it takes to be a great musician. I love this book...highly recommended.'


Becoming an Orchestral Musician takes you on a journey into the musical profession. It is the first comprehensive guide for professional musicians on how to succeed in joining an orchestra or ensemble, and how to survive as an orchestral musician. Such crucial topics as how to obtain the right tuition, music college versus university, auditioning, nerves, the secrets of ensemble playing and intonation, conductors, the mechanics of the orchestra, performing philosophies and strategies for survival are covered in separate sections. The matter of how to explore and adapt one's musical psyche, the pitfalls of a career in music and the highs and lows of performing are also discussed. The history, mythology and science of music-making and numerous anecdotes provide a vivid background. It is essential reading for all orchestral musicians, including players of every instrument, whether at college or university or during their career, whether full-time or part-time, and whether professional or amateur, and also for the parents of budding instrumentalists. There are probably more orchestras and ensembles in the length and the breadth of Britain today than ever before.

With the renewed recognition in schools of the importance of music, the competition among younger musicians has become intense. Schools and colleges need to be well informed about career guidance for their students. Richard Davis's book will give the answers to many of the questions those students will be asking. It has been warmly welcomed by his colleagues in the BBC Philharmonic, and by other musicians, too. Twenty of them have been interviewed by him specially for it on their experiences and on advice they would like to give to younger musicians on many different themes. They include principals and rank and file players, soloists, academics, music critics, fixers, chamber musicians and people involved in management.

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4 customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

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9 March 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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6 February 2013
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6 May 2017
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
R. Baird
5.0 out of 5 starsBest Investment for a Musician aside from their instrument!
2 June 2010 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
G. M. Gerloff
5.0 out of 5 starsBecoming an Orchestral Musician is a great book!
1 March 2006 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
Richard M. Stanton
5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
1 October 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
R. J. A. Davis
5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating even for Unaspiring Non-professionals,
6 April 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
3 people found this helpful.
Chris Downing
5.0 out of 5 starsReviews from Europe 'Calling it as it is'
6 April 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback