The Orchestra Academy is a new form of cooperation between Tampere Music Academy and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra that aims to prepare music students for actual working life as a musician. The Music Academy is a learning environment shared by music students of Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Conservatoire.
Becoming a musician requires continuous practice – playing your own notes. Practice is also a never-ending part of a professional musician’s everyday life, but this takes different forms than it does during one’s studies. Orchestral musicians do not rehearse only by themselves, and only rarely do they rehearse solo pieces. Professionals rehearse with their own instrument group, as well as with the entire orchestra on a daily basis.
The playing tests for becoming a professional musician are also something that music schools do not usually provide training for. You cannot find work as a musician with a degree alone. You can only become employed by an orchestra by passing a playing test. Degrees are not enough and will not help you find work, because no orchestra ever looks at just applications or diplomas.
The key is how well you can play on the test day and how well you do with the compulsory exercises. Applicants usually complete the first round hidden from the evaluation panel, playing behind a curtain and in random order. The situation is extremely tense and nerve-racking, so preparation for it should begin well in advance during studies.
At the Orchestra Academy, the Philharmonic Orchestra’s musicians provide practical training for their future colleagues on both the challenges of applying for jobs and the everyday situations a professional musician faces. The students rehearse tricky issues in orchestral literature together with the professionals, as these will come up in the playing test, and after it as well.
Once a year, a real playing test is also organised for the students, and those who pass it are allowed to play at the Philharmonic Orchestra’s “real” concert. Santtu-Matias Rouvali will conduct the joint concert in spring 2017, consisting of Mahler’s gigantic Fifth Symphony.
The development of the education provided at TAMK is supported by 25 advisory boards from different fields. Their purpose is to maintain the continuous interaction between TAMK and professional life.
The students rehearse tricky issues in orchestral literature together with the professionals, as these will come up in the playing test, and after it as well.”
Because the piece provides a great challenge for a professional musician, it will definitely be challenging for the students allowed to join in, as well.
Intendant of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and member of TAMK’s Music Advisory Board
PHOTO: TIINA SUVANTO