Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rockabilly in the Orchestra

So I had my first rehearsal in an orchestra. The bass line consisted of five bassists, all of which were roughly half my age (not that that should matter, but in some strange way it did). They were all very friendly in greeting me. Our first piece was Tchaikovsky's 4th. Sight reading this piece gave me three insights: my sight reading needs a lot of work, the other players in the section are VERY good, and I'm not as bad as I thought. I actually held up OK. One guy even commented that he thought I did well for my first time in an orchestra. Some of them even asked me for advice on playing pizzicato. (I didn't slap anything or stand on my bass. That would have really impressed them!) In other words, I did OK and I felt great leaving the rehearsal. The later pieces were a couple of student compositions and part of the Brandenburg Concerto. (I didn't do so well in the last one.)

There is something about playing in an orchestra (this one is only about 40 pieces) that is magical. Being with that many musicians playing a piece (almost regardless of how it comes together) is inspiring and gives you a kick. I have to admit that for the last year (at least) I've been thinking of putting things down and leaving my current band. I feel inspired by the experience to try and become more proficient and more creative in all my musical projects.

I now understand the desire to be in the ranks of an orchestra. I've always said that people should have to, at some point, perform in front of others. Whether its playing music, giving a public talk, lecturing, teaching a yoga class... whatever. The idea is that you should have to get up there, give something your all AND let yourself be judged by others. Most times, you never hear the judges comments. Most times those comments are good/neutral. Sometimes they are bad, and sometimes you can learn from those comments. Now I think I should add performing as an anonymous part of a group. This lets you experience the magic of having a group come together and play. The key is that, if it goes well, you'll never get the credit for it. You will however get an inner spark or "kick" from the experience.

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