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Katie
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hi. I'm back, adn I'm complaining aobut my teacher again. This time, she decided that we cna't play any pieces that aren't in the key of d major or c major. It is just driving me nuts that she doesn't realise that an 8th grade orchestra is capable of playing keys other than the easiest two!!!!

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Hiya,

What brought your teacher to this conclusion? OK... C and D are easy but so are A and g. I wouldn't expect an 8th grade group to play anything in C# or a-flat, but isn't confining you to two keys a bit too restrictive? A challenge is the best way to learn.

Ben

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: hi. I'm back, adn I'm complaining aobut my teacher again. This time, she decided that we cna't play any pieces that aren't in the key of d major or c major. It is just driving me nuts that she doesn't realise that an 8th grade orchestra is capable of playing keys other than the easiest two!!!!

Wow. I sympathise with you, and I agree with Ben's comment that there's no challenge there. Did your teacher give a reason for this restriction?

I guess if the teacher's going to be that way, the only thing you can do is play absolutely perfectly in those two keys - make sure your intonation is rock-solid, have impeccable rhythm, etc. Maybe your teacher feels that even in D maj. and C maj, the orchestra is kinda-sorta-just a little out of tune, or something; like the basics have not been mastered yet. Could be a reason for not moving on to other keys. Prove to her how easy they are!

Hope this helps, and keep us posted!

Laurel

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: hi. I'm back, adn I'm complaining aobut my teacher again. This time, she decided that we cna't play any pieces that aren't in the key of d major or c major. It is just driving me nuts that she doesn't realise that an 8th grade orchestra is capable of playing keys other than the easiest two!!!!

Hi Katie,

If you are frustrated with your school orchestra, why not look into joining a community orchestra or a youth orchestra? I really looked forward to being in my school orchestra until I finally got there and could play miles beyond my teacher. Then it was an exercise in total frustration. Even though my mom suggested I use it as an opportunity to learn the viola clef, I soon realized that the teacher didn't even know how to read the viola clef. I know that there are lots of great orchestra teachers out there, but there are some school districts (such as mine) where the people doing the hiring have no clue as to what they are doing. So it may be that you have had the bad luck to land with an incompetent teacher. In which case, orchestra at school may be a waste of time for you. I joined a community youth orchestra when I was about 9 or 10 and stayed with them for a couple of years -- it wasn't real challenging, but the director was good and I learned a whole lot more than I ever would have with the school. Now I'm in a really top youth symphony and it is really exciting playing with them. Playing with the school orchestra, though, would have done nothing to prepare me for the youth symphony.

Bobby

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I think that part of the reason that she restricted us to two keys is because she's too lazy to teach us about different sharps or flats or whole stepsor half steps. I'm not being challenged at all, but I can't drop out, I'm concertmistress and lord knows what they would soundlike without me!

K@tie

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: I'm not being challenged at all, but I can't drop out, I'm concertmistress and lord knows what they would soundlike without me!

This is the sort of thing you can think, but certainly shouldn't say. It sounds like she's teaching to the absolute bottom of the barrel talent-wise. She's a moron. But don't let this experience elevate you too high on your pedestal or you WILL come crashing down later. I really pity people with large egos...it makes for a difficult life. If you're really good, you should never have to talk about how good you are.

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I feel your pain. I too am in a school orchestra that is not the most challenging, but I am in a regional youth orchestra that plays more challenging music. Join one!!!

: hi. I'm back, adn I'm complaining aobut my teacher again. This time, she decided that we cna't play any pieces that aren't in the key of d major or c major. It is just driving me nuts that she doesn't realise that an 8th grade orchestra is capable of playing keys other than the easiest two!!!!

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Hi.

OK... this may sound stupit but there is a point.

If you are playing C are you also playing anything in a (same key sig)? The point here is: there is a lot you can do with C and a, and D and b (b minor is kinda hard to play in somtimes).

If you are incredibly bored and irritated in the group, drop out next semester (that is if you are on a semester schedule). Don't worry what they'll sound like without you. You don't need to sit there if it isn't helping you.

Ben

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Hello Katie,

Drop back to the orchestra's level by taking up viola and cello.

Develop a trio and coach it (teach it.) Play it at a concert and/or solo & ensemble contest.

Offer to hold sectionals for all sections.

Do you play keyboard? If you are playing Baroque music, learn to play BC with your orchestra. You may not have a harpsichord, but you might get an electronic keyboard that sounds acceptable.

Offer to sort out the school's music library.

If nothing else, treat this as a learning experience for something other than technical musical advancement. Keep contempt totally OUT of it.

Sorry for this lecture if that's what it seems like.

A. Brown

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Katie,

Hi, I'm a senior in high school, and I am in the same position as you. I've been concertmaster since 7th grade. It isn't very challenging. However, you can use this to your advantage. Join a youth symphony, and try out for district (regional-state) orchestras to play with peope who are better than you are. There is no better way to improve than trying to attain the playing level of superior players. When you get closer to the top of these groups, you know you are improving. While you are working to get to the top in these groups, you have the top spot in your school orchestra, where you can relax. You can enjoy the laurels you get at school, while being challanged outside of it. Besides, sometimes a school orchestra can open doors for those at the top of it(i.e. Distrcit orchestras, and All Eastern orchestras. You cannot be in these groups if you are not in your school orchestras.) After all, if you are as good as you make us think you are, then you kinda owe it to your school to improve the orchestra, and the music program in general. There is something to be said for giving back to the school community. And lastly, for purely superficial reasons, it looks good on a college application to have been concertmistress since you entered the school. Good Luck.

Kreisler13

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: Hello Katie,

: Drop back to the orchestra's level by taking up viola and cello.

: Develop a trio and coach it (teach it.) Play it at a concert and/or solo & ensemble contest.

: Offer to hold sectionals for all sections.

: Do you play keyboard? If you are playing Baroque music, learn to play BC with your orchestra. You may not have a harpsichord, but you might get an electronic keyboard that sounds acceptable.

: Offer to sort out the school's music library.

: If nothing else, treat this as a learning experience for something other than technical musical advancement. Keep contempt totally OUT of it.

: Sorry for this lecture if that's what it seems like.

: A. Brown

This input is probably totally unwanted, but everyone listen to my embaressing situation. I am 15, I just started playing the violin about a year ago, and everyons says that it's impossible to become anything good starting at 14, but I really enjoy the violin and am told I am advancing relatively fastly. Well right now I'm playing 1st violin in a middle school orchestra I think it is. I don't know if I'm THAT much older than everyone else there, but I am blessed with having grown to six feet tall at the age of 14 so it's a kind of embaressing predicament playing with people 4 feet tall. Just thought you all might appreciate hearing something dumb like that.

Jon

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: This input is probably totally unwanted, but everyone listen to my embaressing situation. I am 15, I just started playing the violin about a year ago, and everyons says that it's impossible to become anything good starting at 14, but I really enjoy the violin and am told I am advancing relatively fastly. Well right now I'm playing 1st violin in a middle school orchestra I think it is. I don't know if I'm THAT much older than everyone else there, but I am blessed with having grown to six feet tall at the age of 14 so it's a kind of embaressing predicament playing with people 4 feet tall. Just thought you all might appreciate hearing something dumb like that.

: Jon

Hey- great to hear from another "late starter!"
I'm 16 and have been playing just over 4 years.
I am in my youth symphony's first violin section ( I joined whan I was 14), and am fairly "advanced" as far as violin students go. Still working further on things like spicatto, but I guess everyone works on things like that forever.

Keep it up!
A word of advice: stretch out afterwards. I got a bad repetitive-motion injury, which might be partly because I started practicing a lot all of a sudden, when I hadn't had years to build up to it.

Well, have fun.
Rachel





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Wow!! Last year i tried out for the district honors orchestra. Since i wan't as "into" my music as I am now, I didn't even bother to LOOK at the audition music before I stepped into the room for my audition (BADDDDD Idea, kiddos!) but I still got a seat as a second violin. This year, however, I've been working on it with my teacher since I got the music. It's really easy (just a E scale and a C scale and one short little etude), so I'm confidant that I will get a MUCH higher chair this year!!! Grin. I don't think I'll be concertmaster (mistress) of that, since the chair's as good as promised to a friend of mine, but I'm sure i'll at least be first or second stand. Thanks Kreisler13 and everyone else for your wonderful answers to my questions, and wish me luck on my upcoming audition!!!!

Katie :-)

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Hi Jon,

I also started violin at age 14, or maybe three weeks shy of my 14th birthday, something like that. My first orchestra experience was as a freshman in high school playing with a beginner's middle school string ensemble. At the same time, other kids I knew who were the same age as me were going to Korea and Japan with our school's top-level chamber orchestra. Yes, I felt dumb (Still do sometimes). I am not quite as tall as you, only 5'3", but I did have to play "Twinkle, Twinkle" with the 5-year-olds at a Suzuki recital once, which was kind of embarrassing. But I progressed quickly too (well, "quickly" is a relative term-- in the earlier stages I think that in general, older students learn a LOT more quickly than most little kids-- the question is, will the older students stick with it after they start getting busy with high school and college and jobs and dates and no parents to force them to practice, blah blah blah.) And by the time I was a senior I was playing "real" music in the first violin section of my high school orchestra, like Mendelssohn, Mozart, Dvorak, stuff like that).

I am now 21, a senior in college as a music theory and composition major, and I really enjoy the intellectual side of music. However, I'm not planning to stop there; I want to play the violin full-time and make a career out of it. I have a heck of a long way to go, and I will probably have to study and practice my violin (in my spare time, while I try to eke out a living with whatever kind of job I can get, pay back my loans, etc.) another couple of years before I will even get into a performance program at a music school, but I've found the passion of my life in playing violin. I've heard it said that you can't make it if you start at age 14, and it used to depress me a lot. I've got plenty of things going against me, including lack of time to practice and the fact that at my age and at this stage of my life I'm supposed to go out there and get a good job, start a career, and make lots of money, which is definitely not going to happen.

Whether I "succeed" or not as a professional violin player doesn't matter, and honestly, I don't think people like us have time to listen to naysayers and so-called "realistic" people who say that we are too old to get good. I know that I'm too busy practicing and performing and loving it to care. I'm ready to go out and prove all those people wrong, or at least put all I've got into trying.

Best wishes. And keep up the great work-- even if you grow another foot in the next six months and end up being nearly twice as tall as the other members of your orchestra.

Irene

: This input is probably totally unwanted, but everyone listen to my embaressing situation. I am 15, I just started playing the violin about a year ago, and everyons says that it's impossible to become anything good starting at 14, but I really enjoy the violin and am told I am advancing relatively fastly. Well right now I'm playing 1st violin in a middle school orchestra I think it is. I don't know if I'm THAT much older than everyone else there, but I am blessed with having grown to six feet tall at the age of 14 so it's a kind of embaressing predicament playing with people 4 feet tall. Just thought you all might appreciate hearing something dumb like that.

: Jon

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: : This input is probably totally unwanted, but everyone listen to my embaressing situation. I am 15, I just started playing the violin about a year ago, and everyons says that it's impossible to become anything good starting at 14, but I really enjoy the violin and am told I am advancing relatively fastly. Well right now I'm playing 1st violin in a middle school orchestra I think it is. I don't know if I'm THAT much older than everyone else there, but I am blessed with having grown to six feet tall at the age of 14 so it's a kind of embaressing predicament playing with people 4 feet tall. Just thought you all might appreciate hearing something dumb like that.

: : Jon

: Hey- great to hear from another "late starter!"

: I'm 16 and have been playing just over 4 years.

: I am in my youth symphony's first violin section ( I joined whan I was 14), and am fairly "advanced" as far as violin students go. Still working further on things like spicatto, but I guess everyone works on things like that forever.

:

: Keep it up!

: A word of advice: stretch out afterwards. I got a bad repetitive-motion injury, which might be partly because I started practicing a lot all of a sudden, when I hadn't had years to build up to it.

: Well, have fun.

: Rachel

Thank you for the encouragement and advise. By the way, what sort of stretches would you advise. I read some books by Yehudi Menuhin and a lot about stretching, but I often forget to do a lot of his stretches, because to go through a lot of the stretches it takes about an hour(after which I feel great and really loose and relaxed), but I just can't do that every day. Or I don't have the willpower to remember to.

-Jon

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