October 8, 2007 at 7:31 PMFrom time to time friends acquaintances (and in the more distant past me) have tried to organize chamber music events of one sort or another.
Almost everything has failed. The only exception was sort of a miracle. It was the Mendelssohn Octet with 5 professionals and 3 amateurs. I don't know how it happened but every effort since has been a decisive failure.
I am more than a little disillusioned and I am very reluctant to get involved in new efforts. It isn't that I don't want to play chamber music. I actually do but I am tired of futility.
Here are my rules: (Keep in mind that I am an amateur.)
1. Everyone can play their part at tempo at the first rehearsal. Amateurs may have some ensemble or continuity issues that may need to be worked out in rehearsal but there is no "I'll learn this by the next rehearsal" or the like. This clearly affects what is attempted.
2. No mixing of amateurs and professionals unless the professionals are paid at local union scale. Professionals make their living playing music and you cannot hold them to a rehearsal schedule in lieu of income. By the same token if a professional says they'll play then it has to be a contracted priority. If an amateur member begs off the professional still gets paid unless the professional replaces the chamber gig with something else.
3. The rehearsals start with a definite goal and and end date for the repertory being played. Typically it will be a performance.
My rules are stringent and they disqualify me for opportunities because I can't meet rule 1 for significant amounts of chamber repertory. Generally it means no reading. But the rules also protect my expectations.
While it felt more than a little unfair that I was doing all that work in my group, the end result was very satisfying.
If one is willing to put in more work than the others in the group, one will be able to create groups to play in.
While it isn't exactly fair, it's still worth it. At least it was to me.
My teacher (who is a conservatory trained pianist) says that the piano parts take twice as long to learn as the string parts. (yes he plays the string parts).
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