What to practice as an orchestral musician
I was just thinking about what happens once you achieve the (very difficult) goal of getting a job in a pro orchestra. It's a demanding schedule so what do you play aside from ripping through repertoire? Do you practice Paganini and etudes to keep your technique up or maybe focus on chamber music...? Just curious!
There are numerous volumes of tricky extracts from symphonic works, sometimes more difficult than much solo repertoire.
Supposedly, Mischakoff went home to practice scales and arpeggios AFTER his rehearsals and concerts with the NBC Symphony-- to try to recover what he felt he had lost.
Paganini's not the way to keep up your fundamental technique.
The ideal schedule would be one hour of fundamentals, technical work; scales, exercises, etudes, then orchestra excerpts from whatever is coming up next. Adding solo pieces or concertos to a full-time orchestra schedule is really tough. Over the years I have purchased a lot of 1st violin orchestra parts; If I am the concertmaster they come in very handy, I don't have to wait for the librarian to send them to me.
I think anyone who plays in an orchestra, whether pro or amateur, finds that rehearsals and preparing parts takes a serious bite out of individual technique maintenance, not to mention those of us still trying (read: needing) to improve.
Scales and Kreutzer.
Before getting tenure:
You get into stereo equipment and collect vinyl.You take TaeKwonDo or anything else to make your life well rounded.
"Another angle is what do you do with yourself as you are nearing retirement from professional orchestral playing?"
Thanks for the replies - both informative and highly amusing. I take it the most important things are 1) Kreutzer and 2) collecting an obscure item of your choice. Or have I got that in the wrong order...?
Well written Mary Ellen.The AFof M worries me too.
Not only know your own part but be extremely aware of everyone elses through listening to recordings and score study.Dont be the dufus who comes in a beat too early.You'll be spotted quickly...