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What Should I Do?


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I was told at an audition that I should learn some symphonies. However, if I followed the advice of the conductor and learned some symphonies, shipping and money for the music would be about $100. In your experience around the country, do libraries usually have 1st violin parts for symphonies or is it best just to order first violin parts with Kalmus? I don't know what to do. Another option would be just to look at the Gingold Excerpt books. Is this sufficient for most auditions to practice sightreading? If I wait on the library to get the music for inter library loan, I'm taking a chance that the library might not have it. But then again, if I order from Kalmus, I'll know that I'll be getting the music for sure but then I'd be forking out about $100. This wouldn't be such a big deal if I was making more money but I'd appreciate any advice anybody might have on this. I am not going to school at this time and might be starting my doctorate next fall. Sorry for the long winded post.

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What you will generally find in libraries are scores, not sets of parts. Luck's will sell you individual parts to works. Excerpt books are sometimes fine (but they really only serve one purpose, and that is to hopefully identify the major technical/soloistic passages that a player might encounter in a composition), but you won't be learning the symphonies--just a few lines--which is sort of like scanning a 4 page plot outline of War and Peace to find out about the book. You certainly won't learn anything about the actual symphonies by just playing a couple excerpts. You can get a great collection of the complete parts (Vln 1 AND 2) for many of the major works through www.orchmusiclibrary.com (the individual parts come on a CD), and then go to your library to borrow the recordings to listen to--this is where you will get an idea of what the printed notes on the page need to do. If it is your playing knowledge of symphonic repertoire that is lacking (and if you can't build it up by actually playing the compositions), this would be a good route to take.

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You might try the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Fleisher collection is, to quote Martha, a good thing. Alternatively, if a trip/call to Philadelphia is out of the question you could probably check with the music departments of local colleges, or if your teacher is in an orchestra see if they can copy stuff from the orchestra repertoire for you. Studying with an orchestra member helps with repertoire a lot...at least I know it did for me when I waited for the last minute and had to learn the introduction to the third act of Lohengrin in a day. Depending on your finances, it could be a good idea to add an orchestra violinist to the payroll for repertoire coaching.

Also, depending if it's an option, music publishing software would be a good way to go as well. Option 1: rent scores from a library or something and "write out" the part yourself. Option 2: Download midi files from wherever you can find them (classicalmusicarchives.com is a good source). In some instances each part has their own track and you can print out the parts and practice from that. And in some instances the parts are actually sequenced correctly.

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