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Everything posted by Shennie

  1. I will reply from the parent perspective. I have had 2 kids involved with youth orchestra - both for 5 years apiece. Our youth orchestra has 4 different levels. For each audition, students are required to play a solo, excerpts, scales and sight reading. Students get to pick whatever solo they want. The chosen scales are up to the judges. The exerpts are harder for the higher level orchestras. Audition packets with all exerpts for all levels are sent out 2 months before auditions begin. Students choose which level they want to audition for. If they are currently in an orchestra and don't want to go up a level, they do not have to reaudition. If they want to move up, they must audition. The conductors at each level are NOT involved in the audition process. Private practitioners are hired to conduct the auditions. Students are rated by the auditioners and assigned to an orchestra based on the auditions. All orchestras have rotational seating during the season. I have found this process to be very fair and open. My kids have not gotten written feedback, and I think that would be helpful, but otherwise, I think it is a good process. You can definitely hear the difference in the levels of the 4 groups. As a parent, I definitely appreciate the timeliness of the auditions. The ajudicators pretty much stick to the schedule. I would be very unhappy if auditions were running an hour to an hour and a half behind. Our directors like the process because they are all very busy folks and this is a very time consuming task that they can trust to someone else. They are satisfied with the orchestras that they get each fall. And we have a wonderful youth orchestra program that I have been very pleased to be associated with over the years.
  2. My son is a cellist who just finished his BA in cello performance. He has attended Interlochen, Encore, Bowdoin, Musicorda, and Heifitz. If you want a strong chamber music compontent the latter 3 are better than either Encore or Interlochen. Bowdoin is best for students who are self motivated and don't need much supervision. There is also a summer program at Ithaca college that is strictly for cellists. I, too, recommend you look at the Strings Magazine website for summer music programs. There is lots of information there.
  3. Just to add something to think about... My son is currently a cello performance major at Eastman. Eastman is part of the University of Rochester although it maintains a seperate campus, admission and financial aid. He is probably going to also get a second degree in Political Science. It is not easy given the time committment to music and will take him 5 years total to complete both degrees, but something he very much wants to do and is highly committed to. So it is possible to do the double degree, but I think that doing a performance major and engineering would be virtually impossible as there would be no overlap in the kinds of courses you need to take. As far as orchestra goes, son says that most kids are not thrilled to have to spend time in orchestra, but they have a really good conductor at Eastman which makes it better. He will also have to take 2 semesters of orchestra rep in order to graduate. I think this is true at most schools. Yes, many students have dreams of being soloists, but the schools know that many of them will end up playing in orchestras which is why the require all of them to play in orchestra all 4 years and to take orchestra rep classes. And finally, you asked about getting money to play in college. At the University of Wisconsin they have music scholarships available for students who qualify that pay full tuition as long as the student plays for whichever group they are assigned to - orchestra, chamber orchestra, or opera pit. There is quite a bit of competition for these scholarships, but I know several students who have them. I imagine there are other state schools that have similar programs. Ivy league schools do not provide merit scholarships at all, only need based, so you would not be able to get a music scholarship to attend an ivy league school. My guess is the same is true at Stanford but a visit to their website would answer your question.
  4. Not in the NE but you might want to check out Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. The school has about 1200 students and also a very strong conservatory. However, students can participate in all of the conservatory programs without being a music major. The school is very strong overall. I understand that many of the non-music majors participate in music in some way. It is one of the things that attracts non-music major musicians.
  5. Let me offer all of you good luck. I know how difficult the waiting game is. Jay - you asked about CIM. I know a few people who attend there and like it, but I also know a girl who is currently a senior who does not like it at all. She has found the violin dept. to be very competitive and the students to be highly critical of each other. She has not enjoyed her stay there much. Not sure who she is studying with but I think it is Pruecil. My son is a sophmore cellist at Eastman and loves the place. The students there are very supportive of one another. People compete with themselves rather than each other. And he says they got a new orchestra director at the beginning of his freshman year who is excellent so orch is more fun than he thought it would be. Rice is also a great school. One of the main reasons it is so difficult to get into is the low number of undergrad students they have. Every year there are about 30 freshman who enroll in the Shepard School, across all instruments and voice! So you can see that there are only going to be a few students accepted for any one instrument.
  6. My son is currently a cello performance major at Eastman. He practiced about 2 hours a day freshman and sophomore years in high school. He dropped math after sophomore year so he could have more practice time and was able to get in about 2-3 hours each day then. His senior year he cut his schedule back further for 1st semester to give himself 3-4 to prep for auditions, but went back full time second semester and had to cut back on practice to 2-3. At Eastman he currently practices 3-4 a day. I think that 6 is more than you probably need and that practicing efficiency needs to be looked at. Also, look at your high school classes and see what you can cut out. My son figured out that he didn't need calculus to be a cellist, so he quit math after he finished pre-calc. He has always been a very strong student and actually put his school work before his practicing. In spite of that, he was able to maintain his grades AND get into a great undergrad program.
  7. Hey Rainyann! My son had to do one of these for his applications last year, but he was going for performance, so it was pretty detailed. He included the following categories: Competitions - included anything where he had competed against others for the opportunity to perform a solo and finished with an honorable mention or better. Public performances - included all his recitals and other times he appeared in public as a soloist seperate from winning any competitions. State Solo and Emsemble honors Summer music programs Other musical activities - here he listed his membership in youth orchestra (with mention of his being principal) and membership in community orchestra and his quartet. If your son is not going for performance, his probably doesn't need to be this detailed but should include some of the above elements. I would certainly mention the fact that his orchestra had performed at Carnegie Hall and that he is principal for his orchestra. He may also want to mention who his primary teachers have been. I would be happy to email you a copy of my son's resume if you would like to see it. Just email me.
  8. This is not an exact definition of course, but I think of classical music as music of an orchestral nature, using orchestral instruments. Obviously there is some cross over and there will probably be less and less distinction over time, but if you think about it, classical music does not usually involve non-orchestral instruments. You see violins in country and bluegrass, but they have evolved into fiddles. You see trumpet and flute in jazz, and percussion everywhere, but you don't often see cello or viola or oboe or bassoon or horn outside of what we think of as classical music.
  9. I bet this is a phenomenon associated with commercial classical stations. In our area our only classical station is the statewide public radio station. While I am not 100% satisfied with their programming, we get a wide variety of classical including quite a bit of chamber music. I listen quite a bit and I would have to say that almost every day I get to hear something that I am not familiar with.
  10. My son did quartet for 3 years in high school. They were coached weekly by a former professional quartet violinist who teaches violin privately in our area. He was paid his going lesson rate by the group, so his hourly rate was divided by 4 with each person paying a quarter of the fee. They were all very serious and ended up going to national competition their last 2 years. I think that high school kids don't have enough of a knowledge base to play string quartet well without some coaching. If your son's group is only interested in gigging, they won't need weekly coaching, but a few sessions with a coach will not hurt. My son is very serious about quartet and has found his high school experience to be very helpful this year at conservatory. My younger son plays in a piano quartet. They are not nearly as serious, but have benefited quite a bit from working with a coach, a graduate student at our local university. For that coaching, we pay an extra fee to Youth Orchestra for the chamber music program and the Youth Orchestra pays the coach. I don't know what she gets paid, but she met with the group about 8 times each semester.
  11. My son's cello and bow were appraised by the man he bought them from. He appraised them higher than what he sold them to us for since it would cost more to replace them. When son left for college we had them reappraised by the same man who increased the appraisal again. He recommends that we have them reappraised every 3 years and keep our insurance updated. The insurance will cover up to the appraised value if either cello or bow need to be replaced.
  12. Engprof - A suggestion you might give your teacher - My son's viola teacher teaches out of his home. We walk into his house and go into a seperate room from where he is teaching to unpack and get ready for the lesson. There is also a basket there for payments. When the time for his lesson arrives, the previous students leave the teaching room and he goes in, all ready to go. When his time is up, he leaves the teaching room and goes back to the other room to pack back up. This means that no time is wasted during the lesson for the packing and unpacking. His teacher keeps a very strict time schedule. He is very good about pacing the lessons. When time is up, you leave, even if the next student is not there. (If the next student is late, we will sometimes use that time to chat.) I think that if the teacher is very clear on their expectations and stick to them, parents and students will adjust.
  13. Son just finished his freshman year at Eastman in performance. He practices 3-4 hours/day 6 days a week. Then he has rehearsals - orchestra, chamber music, other ensembles - in addition to that time. It is not unusual for him to actually be playing 7-8 hours each day during the school year.
  14. "It has to be ten times worse for violists... just not a lot you can do to make a viola case look small" And imagine what cellists have to go through...
  15. Q: What seperates the viola players from the lower apes? A: The second violins
  16. My son is a cellist who just finished his first year at Eastman. He attended public school for all 4 years of high school. During his sophmore year he found it increasingly difficult to practice as much as he wanted, attend the rehearsals he needed to, and complete all his homework. After much soul searching, he dropped math his junior and senior year. (I must add here that he was an advanced math student and would have started Calculus junior year, but saw no need for it as a musician.) This allowed him to leave school 40 minutes early during the second semester of junior year. It cut down his homework considerably and gave him more practicing time. During his senior year, he didn't go to school at all until 11:30 first semester so that he could prepare for his auditions. Second semester he went in at the normal time but had an hour free in the morning where he would go to a practice room and practice. We started discussing all of these options with his guidance counselor during his sophmore year. We were able to come up with an academic plan that met the graduation requirements and would meet the academic requirements for the music schools he was interested in applying to. When he missed school for music things, I would call him in and his absence would be excused he was responsible for getting the makeup work and turning it in in a timely manner. Since we live in an urban district with lots of students doing lots of different things, he only needed the signature of his counselor to get approval for his program. I work in a smaller district where this kind of programming would be more difficult. I think your first step is to meet with your guidance counselor to let them know you are having difficulty doing school and studying violin. Do your research. Within the structure of school day, come up with a plan that you think might work that allows you complete your academic requirements for graduation, but gives you some extra time. You may need to get approval from the school board to do something different, so make sure your plan is workable and well thought out. I know kids who take a day off every week to travel to a lesson out of town. It isn't easy but it can be done. A lot will depend on your school system and how well they deal with students wanting to do non-traditional things. Good luck!
  17. My son the cellist says that Engelharts should all be burned and that schools should be forbidden from purchasing them. The are not well constructed, are difficult to play and don't sound very good.
  18. My son has the Cushy also, and loves it. He rides his bike to school everyday and carrys the viola backpack style. Not only is he able to backpack it, but it also is extra protection if the weather gets bad.
  19. There was a story about him on "All Things Considered" this morning. You could probably find it on their website. Anyway, since today is his 100th birthday, they have put together a small collection of his artwork that he collected along with some other things. They said in the story that his grandson has his cello. I imagine that his grandson is loaning it to the display and it will only be an orphan for a short time.
  20. So where do you get the granules?
  21. I understand that the chemical in the bag is the same stuff they use in baby diapers to absorb all the moisture and not let it leak out. You probably noticed how small the crystals were in the bag before you put it in water and how much they expanded after being soaked. As long as you keep it rehydrated every couple of weeks or so, you won't have any problems. However, if you let it dry out completely, you get a little rock hard clump of brown in the bag. At this point, it usually won't rehydrate. So I usually start each fall with a new bag which can be puchased from Shar. As an aside, my sons occassionally forget to soak the bags and they get pretty dried out. We discovered if you let them soak for several hours, you can sometimes recover them. On the other hand, they can become over hydrated and burst the bag, so you have to watch that. We discovered the hard way that if the plastic case does not close over the bag let it dry out some before you close it or the bag may burst also. Also, for cellos, you should be using 2 bags in your plastic case, not just one. We tried using one and found that it wasn't quite enough, but 2 is great. The plastic case is big enough for 2 bags, while the system for violin and viola only holds one, but I don't ever remember reading in the instructions that you should use 2 bags for cellos. Maybe it is obvious, but it took me a while to figure that out
  22. Have been using Stretto for several years now for cellos and a viola. Two weeks is about right for soaking the bag. A bag will usually continue to rehydrate all winter long. I then have let them dry out completely over the summer and start with a new bag in the fall. We have been very pleased with the system.
  23. I don't play but my son does. Cello bows are slightly shorter than violin bows. I don't know the exact difference, but they are a little shorter. And no matter how tall they are they all use the same bow length. Son is 6'4" and his former teacher is 6'9". They both use a standard cello bow. The real difference in violin and cello bows is in the weight, with the cello bow being heavier. They are measured in grams with the average being around 80 grams for cello bows. Don't know what the average is for violin or viola bows.
  24. Kantor is currently teaching at CIM.
  25. I know cellists who fly regularly with their cellos in the the plane with them. These are folks with instruments that are worth 100s of thousands of dollars so there is no way they would consider checking them. She should check with another person at the airline or consider another airline. I frequent the cello chat board and no one there has reported not being able to take the cello on board if they have purchased a ticket. The only problem that might be encountered is being asked to remove the endpin. My guess is your wife's niece needs to talk to someone else at the airline.
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