I am on page 287 of a book on FileMaker Pro – less than one third of the way through – and I think I’m still just reading about how to import my list of customers. I just finished a section on “Sub-Summary Parts and Printing” (that followed one on “Leading and Trailing Grand Summaries”) and I am utterly glazed over. I have not yet opened the program on my computer. I am not actually stupid, but I’ve never seen anything as apparently confusing as trying to set up a meaningful relational database.
My reed business has grown since I started it up in 1998 – and has really outgrown my little Do-It-Myself Excel (now Numbers) spreadsheet. I have become frustrated by the limitations of my system, and I am aware that I need to upgrade and start thinking of myself as a real business.
It is hard to be entrepreneurial. My education was focused on the rarified details of creating classical music. The academic classes I took were entirely music-related – Baroque Performance Practice, for example. 20th-Century Theory. Aural Skills. I understand that Eastman now offers a variety of programs on real-world marketing and business skills, but those were not there when I was. The actual process of making my living in music has been improvisational the whole way along, and I have worked very hard and have been very lucky to get where I am now. To a place where I need a complicated and expensive database program to track the hundred or so reeds I make by hand each month between performances and teaching.
On the lower end of the skills spectrum, I spent a good hour this afternoon stuffing tiny shreds of cotton into little plastic tubes to accommodate the above-mentioned monthly reeds.
This is the kind of nonsense that goes into a career in music. I love my job, but this is not one of its more glorious days.