November 6, 2010 at 3:02 AM
When I first moved to Houston, I was pleasantly surprised on all the musical opportunities that were available to an amateur violist. I had a new teacher lined up and was accepted into a community orchestra with a recorded "audition" which for this orchestra is normally done live.
Within a few months, I made friends with the local amateur's and semi-pros and soon was invited to play with the Houston Bar Association's annual "Night Court" charitable theater production out at the Wortham Center. Following that was several performances at a local church (which I ended up joining and committed to playing at fairly regularly). Most recently I volunteered myself and signed up for an organized amateur ensemble with coaching with one of our regional orchestras.
With all that I'm involved with these days, I have encountered an interesting issue. There is so much music on my stand that I'm working on on any given day that the desk of the stand sinks. The weight of the music is literally causing the desk of the stand to lower by about an inch over the course of a day. I'm tempted to pull up another stand so it doesn't sink, but must honestly ask... have I over-committed myself? I think I have.
Orchestral music is on the bottom of the pile, followed by chamber music, with solo viola repertoire taking front stage. My etudes migrated back to the bookcase for storage. My musical priorities are being set by how exposed I am to what I'll be performing.
Playing music with others has turned into such an integral part of my life that I have a difficult time saying "no". However, I know that when my stand sinks an inch a day, it is time to lighten the load.
You are lucky to have such a wealth of opportunity. Now that you have some experience, time for some triage. Have fun!
Wow, I'm happy to hear how easy it is for amateur musicians to network and join orchestras in your area.
Making music with others is truly the best way to enjoy your profession or hobby. Even after playing professionally full time for about 25 years, I still LOVE playing with great musicians and colleagues.
Now-a-days I only accept work when I feel like the group that I will be playing or working with has the right attitude and wants to make great music. It is not as common as you may think.
Playing with professional musicians who are tired of their trade, or just playing for money, doesn't satisfy me very much anymore. I am sure that the musicians playing in the community orchestras have great passion for their hobby and that must be evident with all the friends and musicians that you meet.
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Mendy Smith is from League City, Texas. Biography
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