Excerpt from The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, 1905, Vol. 99
So, I say, the singer or player who wants to become an artist must study abroad. That means a consider able expense although foreign teachers are accustomed to comparatively small fees and do not wish to keep up big establishments in Kensington. (these social aspi rations, by the way, are one of the curses of music in England. Brahms, who was well off, was content to live in the humblest possible way in Vienna; and the everyday German professor does not waste his time in earning money to be spent on entertaining princes and dukes.) But this expense is only the beginning. A singer may perhaps after a_few lessons eke out a precarious livelihood by occasional engagements at the concerts of provincial or suburban choral societies; but nowadays a pianist or fiddler must have an extra ordinary technique to get so much as a hearing. Years upon years must be spent in acquiring that technique, and even then the public and the agents will scarcely listen to' you unless it is recorded that you have worked under some celebrated master. Few, very few, who have started poor have succeeded in passing through this stage. My first advice to the executive artist is to be born rich: you will be able to pay for your lessons and the public will be much more likely to come to hear you when it is known that you need not play for a livelihood. The most frightful expense of all is that incurred in getting yourself launched; the agents' fees, the advertising; the thousand and one things it is necessary to pay these eat up large sums of money, and then, at the end, the prospect of earning bread and butter is of the poorest. 'no English pianist or violinist can earn a living by playing in England the only foreigners who gain by giving concerts here are those who have long had European reputations.
So much, for would-be solo players. As for orchestral players, it cannot be too clearly understood that for the majority the life is a miserable one and the earnings precarious. In London especially it is highly disagreeable. Rents in the vicinities of the London concert halls are high, and bandsmen are not highly paid: hence they have to live mainly in the suburbs. This involves starting early for concerts and returning late - indeed I would just as soon drive an omnibus as be a bandsman. They have to do a good deal of Odd teaching, play occasionally for small societies - do any thing in fact to make both ends meet; and then when they grow old they are superseded by active young men and their place is the theatre or music-hall at a miserable salary.
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