50 years ago, in 1964, the cities of Augsburg, Germany and Dayton, Ohio signed an agreement to become sister cities. Today, both cities are celebrating the 50th anniversary of that agreement by sending a youth orchestra from a Gymnasium in Augsburg, Germany to give a joint concert with the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (DPYO) in Dayton, Ohio. Even though I don’t belong to either of these wonderful orchestras, I had the opportunity to play with them, as the event took place on the campus of the University of Dayton, and my orchestra, the University of Dayton orchestra, shares a wonderful conductor with the DPYO.
The experience that I had today, was to say the least, absolutely amazing, and has been the best experience I have had so far in my ‘career’ as a violinist. I am an adult beginner, and those of you who are also adult beginners all know that performing opportunities are fewer and farther between for us than for those who start young. I first started performing on the violin 3 years ago with the University of Dayton orchestra, which was scary, challenging, and a huge step for a shy, self-conscious adult beginner. Playing in the orchestra has continued to be a challenge, not only because of the music being played, but also because of the time commitment and constraints on playing/practice time as an adult with many other responsibilities. Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t give up the opportunity to play in the orchestra for anything!
But it was only today that I really saw how far I have come as a violinist and a musician. Before I joined the UD orchestra, I had never really played in front of others, and was deathly scared of making a mistake and of those occasional horrible sounds emanating from my instrument. I was scared even playing in rehearsals. But today, despite the fact that I was playing with over a 100 people who I had never met before, the fact that we had only 1 rehearsal to learn the music, and the fact that I had to site-read some of the music during the concert as it was mistakenly not given to everyone in advance, I wasn’t even nervous. I had a blast, a wonderful time, and was even able to site-read the encore piece reasonably well (except when it suddenly changed to 5 flats!! If anyone asks, it wasn’t me who missed that key change....shhhhh).
Today reminded me of why I began playing violin in the first place. To be able to sit and play with a group of other musicians, to have people enjoy listening to it and hearing it, to have a large group from different backgrounds come together to make music, and to just have fun playing – all of this makes it priceless. I am very glad to be learning this wonderful amazing insanely frustrating instrument, and I think finally I am ready to start calling myself a violinist rather than an adult beginner. I hope to have another opportunity soon to play in an ensemble such as the joint one today!
Previous entries: March 2012
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