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Wrighter

When did you start in an orchestra?

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Greetings all,

Despite all the trials and tribulations, the one-year anniversry (sp?) since I picked up a violin is coming. (Has it really been that long?) I have never given any kind of public recital or performance, and frankly I'm not confident that I could even sound decent. Eventually though I'd like to be able to play in a community orchestra or some type of group. Also, I don't want to die of stage fright the first time I ever do perform.

My question is when did you guys start in an organized group and what kind of group was it? What was it like?

Thanks for the info!

~Wrighter

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I've had a lucky orchestra history. Quick background: I've played the violin for five years after years away from it (played as a child, some). My goal was to work hard in order to play musically.

In our university town we have an excellent orchestra. I think that our verdant Willamette Valley attracts musical types. I knew THAT orchestra was out of my reach.

But, as luck would have it, the concertmaster of that orchestra (and my teacher) decided to put together an orchestra.

Our forty-person group, Pro Musica, meets every week to play a repertoire that isn't watered down or adapted to us in any way.

Who's in this orchestra? My teacher's daughter, a Juilliard (sp?) cellist was with us for a while. A fine violist from our university/city orchestra is with his. A woman who just had a second child and simultaneously decided to return to her music is our first violin. Then there is I. And there are people who are almost beginners.

We have fun! We make music! We learn! We perform! We're beginning, after five years, to sound pretty decent (depending on the music).

Brenna

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I started in community orchestra about a year and half after picking up the instrument again as an adult. Even though I'd played in orchestra in school it was still quite daunting. I was ready to quit after my first rehearsal but my teacher urged me to stick it out.

As an interesting aside one of the pieces that caused me the most headaches was Barber's Adagio for Strings. I had a chance to sight read through the piece this summer and I was surprised at how easy the piece is technically.

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Well I started in school, so I played in the school orchestra from 5th grade through senior year in high school...I guess I still am in the school orchestra, but I'm in college so it's different now. But I started in a youth orchestra in 7th grade-12th, and played in the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra for the past two years. I've always had fun in orchestra. I guess I have a lot more orchestra experiance, but it's not listed here cuz it'd take up too much space. smile.gif

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quote:

Originally posted by U of I violist:

But I started in a youth orchestra in 7th grade-12th, and played in the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra for the past two years.

Hey, U of I violist, where are you from? smile.gif

I played in that orchestra for a number of years, about a decade ago -- I grew up in Wheaton.

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I started playing in high-school, community/college orchestras 52 years ago, at age 14, and have never stopped.

However, by orchestral beginnings were less auspicious; when I was 10, my teacher at the Manhattan school of Music said I should try the youth orchestra there. It was my bad luck, that at my first session they played through somethings at performance tempos. I felt totally embarassed by my inability to keep up while sight reading - and I never returned to the group (although I stayed at MSM for another 2 years taking private violin lessons and theory classes).

It was only many years later (probably about 50 of them) that my mind integrated the exprience and I realized that the orchestra had been "reduxing" their concert performance of the previous June. I was the only one who had to sightread.

Hopefully, had I the same problem at even a slightly greater age, I might have figured it out and hung in there. I have seen the personal value even for 9 year olds, of playing in a symphonic group, and I regret the loss of those early experiences in my own life - although I feel I've subsequently made up for them to my satisfaction.

Andy

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Like most others who've responded to your post, I began playing in orchestras as a child. However, I can tell you that I know several adult beginners who have successfully joined orchestras fairly soon after starting violin. Once you are comfortable playing in at least first through third positions, and playing a variety of tempos and bowings, you can think about orchestral or chamber music groups. If you have previous musical experience, that makes it somewhat easier.

Community groups range in their expectations of player ability from very high and selective to virtually open to all who are interested. Keep asking friends and others until you find a group that suits you.

Alternatively, perhaps you could get your feet wet by getting together with your teacher and/or a couple of individuals to read some easy chamber music arrangements and just get the feeling for playing with others. Even just playing with piano accompaniment is great fun!

Good luck!

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I started lessons at the age of 15. After two years I joined a small community orchestra and stayed in it for 1 year. (My high school did not have an orchestra.) Then it was time to go off to college.

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quote:

Originally posted by U of I violist:

Glen Ellyn! I went to Glenbard West High School. (I'm a newbie though, I'm a sophomore at the U of I in music ed)

Cool. smile.gif I grew up next to what's now Danada -- went to Wheaton Central. My mother tutors math for a lot of students at Glenbard West.

What youth orchestra did you play in?

I got started in DuPage Youth as a fourth-grader -- played with them a number of years (I think I unfortunately started the trend towards younger and younger kids in the orchestra). I played in Chicago Youth, too, plus the Classical Symphony one summer, and Wheaton a couple of summers. (I'm told there've been some good new youth orchestras that've arisen recently, though.)

[This message has been edited by lwl (edited 09-15-2001).]

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Wow lwl,U of I; small world. I grew up over by the Streams and Cantigny. Would Have gone to Wheaton-Warrenville, but moved to PA. I think you are the first people I have met (of sorts) in 15 years to comre from wheaton/ Glen Ellyn. Oh the memories! smile.gif

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When I was 11, after three years of lessons, I played the three easiest pieces in a youth orchestra for the concert and stayed off-stage the rest of the concert. The next year I was a full-fledged second violn, then I was a first, last year I was concertmaster, and this year I hope to do some student conducting, along with playing in a more challenging orchestra up north.

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lwl: I played in the Youth Symphony of DuPage...they have two orchestras a preperatory (which i did for 3 years) and the symphony, also for 3 years. I almost didn't play in it my senior year, but by then I thought, why quit now? Did Tham conduct it when you were in it?

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Yup, Tham did. I played with the prep orchestra for two and a half years (I joined mid-year, initially), and the concert orchestra for, hrm, three or four years, I think. Concertmaster of the prep orchestra, and then principal second of the concert orchestra, midway through those years. I quit halfway through high school, though, when I started doing enough freelancing professionally that I didn't want Monday nights tied up being yelled at by Mr. Tham. smile.gif

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I started in orchestra in school when I started violin--4th grade. Then played through 12th (Lyons Township, for those of you from Glen Ellyn). Plus I did a Western Suburbs youth orchestra. Plus I played in Chicago for one semester. Then to college, where I decided to row in the crew rather than do regular orchestra (crew being a Huge Time Commitment). I just played in the Gilbert and Sullivan and other show orchestras in college. Then no orchestras for a long time.

I sure wish my current town had an orchestra I could be in...the college orchestra here practices during the afternoon while I'm at work, and the nearest symphony that's semi-pro is too good for me. So I've taken up fiddle.

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It's hard to tell. He was pretty angry at me. I'm not sure if it was just a particularly violent gesture and the baton slipped out of his hand, or what. wink.gif"><P>I

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Thank you all for your posts again!

Funny, my last lesson (right after posting this) my teacher says, "say, have you ever thought about playing in a chamber group or small orchestra?"

So of course I said, "yeah, that would be great."

I guess she teaches a bunch of private lessons, and wants to bring all her students together in a group.

The funny part is she said I was "her second oldest student." I'm 21; apparently she generally teaches kids. So it could be pretty weird. (Lesson in humility? So what if that 9-yr-old is better than me, right?) LOL. Any thoughts?

Wrighter

http://www.wrants.com

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Wrighter- This isn't as stark a contrast as you're talking about, but the youth orchestra I'm in is very young. I'm a senior in high school (17, 18 in December) and pretty much everyone else in the orchestra is 7th-9th grade. I feel so old! But I just started playing cello two years ago, so you can't be too picky I guess. smile.gif

Aaron

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I started playing cello one summer when I turned 12, and four weeks later, I was playing in the school orchestra. Being in the Public School system, there was no audition. So I guess I have been playing in orchestras since the very beginning. When I got to college, the week didnt seem complete if I didnt have an orchestra rehearsal.

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