Mozart in the Jungle
Blair Tindall
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Buy *Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music* online

Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music
Blair Tindall
Atlantic Monthly Press
288 pages
June 2005
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Everyone is familiar with the notion of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.” But this book is more along the lines of “Sex, Drugs, and Beethoven” – or, even better: “Sex, Drugs, and Bach n’ Roll.” One thing is for sure, whether you’re a devout classical musical enthusiast or a full tilt rock ‘n’ roller (or anywhere in between, for that matter) this memoir is an interesting and overly informative look into the classical music scene by Oboist Blair Tindall.

Part autobiography, part scathing observation on the business that is classical music, Mozart In The Jungle is a bit of a disjointed read. It dryly moves between industry information (who would really care except aspiring musicians?) and her own personal experiences with sex (sleeping with men to get gigs), drugs (the creatively enhancing marijuana), and, oh, yes – music, forever hitting a nasty C sharp and playing with constant nerves, stage fright, and overall anxiety. To be fair, many actors, musicians, and artists have, and continue to, do drugs. This is no revelation. But stage fright can be a crippling affliction that professionals in any chosen field can come down with for seemingly no reason.

“In the days following my Philharmonic audition, I was paralyzed by a musical form of postpartum depression. Now that it was over, I had no direction. Although I loved classical music, I had never honestly been interested enough in the field to make it my career. I simply got hooked as a teenager because it earned me attention. Knowing I’d have to make the best of it, I felt stuck in a life that was wrong for me.”
I’m really torn between the sour grapes and showing the plight of struggling musicians (this can go for anyone pursuing creative endeavors). It’s hard to “make it” no matter what genre you’re pursuing, and like my daddy used to say, “That’s life in the big city, kid.” Not everyone gets a shot at the big time and when you do – you'd better bring your A-game. Most importantly, you have to love your instrument, love your craft, and believe in yourself. If nerves are a constant barrier to you achieving success, then you don’t deserve to play with the big boys anyway.

© 2005 by Bobby Blades for

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