How to navigate from scientist to principal timpanist of the MET Orchestra

Posted on: April 28, 2017

“I was senior scientist at a nanotechnology company in Chicago for 10 years, and now I’m a tenured member of the great MET Orchestra,” writes Jason Haaheim in his inaugural blog post on Wednesday (4/26). “I consistently get variations of the following: ‘I heard you were like some scientist guy, and then one day you won the audition for one of the most competitive timpani positions in the world even though you’d never studied music.’ … Yeah right.… I did study music, percussion, and timpani for many, many grueling years…. I think of myself as a tenacious loser…. The Met was my 28th audition. Prior to that, the auditions I lost included Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Fort Worth (twice), Virginia, National Arts Centre, Fort Wayne, San Diego (twice), Calgary (twice), Pittsburgh, Oregon, Dallas, Bergen, SPCO, NSO, Seoul, Oslo, Grand Rapids, Tucson, and Cincinnati…. Most orchestral players … have lost more auditions than they’ve won…. First, I decided I wasn’t going to have any attachment to an outcome. Second, instead of chasing specific outcomes, I embraced a process of continual refinement…. Basically, I worked really hard, smartly and efficiently, for a very long time. And now I get to drum for a living.”

Posted April 28, 2017