When you work as a musician you live funny and sometimes adventurous moments almost every day. From losing flights connection in the middle of a South American tour to broken strings (especially baroque gut strings) in the middle of a concert. Something quite funny and at the same time terrifying happened to me just one month ago. I started working this year with a very famous worldwide-known orchestra and had the privilege of playing as a concertina (the person sitting right next to the concertmaster). The concert was great and we were playing with a great soloist as well, sold out of tickets and almost 1000 people sitting in the audience.
Long story short: no one told me we were supposed to play an encore as well. "Oh right, you have good sight reading," I thought when my stand partner showed me a score we never rehearsed. He smiled at me, he knew I never played that before. We started playing, first few lines sounded good, I noticed right away the other players were not looking at the score: they played that score as their encore for many many concerts and many many years. At some point everything turned black: the stage light went off and I could barely see the tip of my fingers on the fingerboard ... but everyone kept playing. I have no idea what happened in the following 2 minutes but, somehow, I managed to play till the end.
On the other hand
The biggest challenge for me was definitely being able to find a healthy relationship with the violin. When you are a student and your goal is to become a professional player it is very easy to think you must practice 10 hours a day and forget about your life. Sometimes you might also feel bad if you don't do so. I spent many months practicing 9 or 10 hours a day and sometimes I still do it if I have to prepare for a competition or audition, but I now try to make sure It is only for a limited amount of time (for example one week) and I always take one or two days of pure rest after it. Those rest days allow me to think and meditate about everything I practiced and to relax my mind and muscles as well. If I can I also try to spend some time around people that inspire me or walking around art galleries and museums. Art feeds art.