I love the use of the word \”simply\” here

In fact the imbalance has become self-perpetuating and detrimental to the orchestra as a whole. The Philharmonic’s most recent female member had to spend nine years on probation, rather than the customary three, simply because she took time off to have children. The orchestra’s own spokesman has stated that playing for the Philharmonic is “a demanding job and not practical for female musicians who want a family”. Why would female musicians put themselves into an atmosphere so antediluvian?

Perhaps antediluvian is the right word, perhaps it isn\’t.

Rather depends whether having \”time off\” to have children includes not doing the three or four hours a day of practising that a professional musician needs to do.

8 comments on “I love the use of the word \”simply\” here

  1. How about “Royal Philharmonic Orchestra allows women extra years of probation so they can start a family without losing their job”?

  2. Are three-year probationary periods legal? Let alone nine.

    Enjoying the concert as I write. Prosit Neujahr to Tim and all regulars here!

  3. It’s not the practising, Tim – it’s turning up for session recordings, community outreach sessions, touring, the occasional rehearsal, and quite a few orchestral musicians have teaching gigs as well…The orchestras have rather demanding schedules just in order to survive. It’s hard to see how you can raise a family while playing concerts from 1930 to 2130, then maybe recording a session of film music from midnight to 3am plus all the other daytime stuff

  4. It isn’t the Philharmonia’s job to decide whether or not a woman on maternity leave can do 3-4 hours’ practising a day. However, it is their job to decide whether, on returning from maternity leave, she still meets the required playing standard. If it takes them three years to decide whether someone actually can play well enough to be in their orchestra, then a woman would indeed have to serve a three-year probationary period after each child. The right question is whether a three-year probation is really necessary. Anyone know how long the probationary period for the Berlin Philharmonic is?

  5. @ Frances
    I agree with nearly all you say.
    Except using the probationary period for the Berliner as a benchmark – it should be the time for the Philharmonic to run through the cycle of its repertoire at concert performance standard, during which time it can check whether each probationer is good enough all round to be accepted onto the permanent staff. If maternity leaves were timed badly (missing key items twice) it could indeed transform three years into nine but that shouldn’t be automatic.

  6. Frances Coppola – “It isn’t the Philharmonia’s job to decide whether or not a woman on maternity leave can do 3-4 hours’ practising a day.”

    It was traditionally the case that in some jobs the probationaries had to put in a set number of hours. Lawyers for instance were only called to the Bar if they had attended a certain number of dinners. Doctors to this day have to do a period of time slaving away in a hospital.

    “However, it is their job to decide whether, on returning from maternity leave, she still meets the required playing standard. If it takes them three years to decide whether someone actually can play well enough to be in their orchestra, then a woman would indeed have to serve a three-year probationary period after each child.”

    I don’t see the fairness of a probationary period after each child – although I suppose you might have to check to see if the quality of her playing had declined. However you assume that the only criterion here is the ability to play well. Let me suggest there is another one – the ability to get on with people. That is important in a large musical group like this. That may well require a long probationary period.

    “The right question is whether a three-year probation is really necessary.”

    I don’t think so. Employers ought to be able to choose any method they like within reason. If they have more potential players than positions why not impose a queue? The alternative would be a pay cut which is problematic.

    It looks to me that the generosity here is allowing a woman three times as long as anyone else if they have children.

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