V.com weekend vote: Where do you play most often?

September 28, 2018, 1:28 PM · When you have your instrument in hand, you are most likely playing in....an orchestra? a string quartet or small ensemble? the church band? at home? in front of a classroom?

orchestra ensemble

It may be a combination of many of these things; certainly for me it's a combination of orchestra, teaching, quartet-playing, the occasional appearance at church. But I'm most at home as an orchestral musician, I must admit, and I've probably spent the most time doing that, over the years.

How about you? Please pick the answer that you feel best applies to you, and where you feel you are in your "musical home" playing. Then tell us about it in more detail in the comments.

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September 28, 2018 at 07:55 PM · I'm a home studio player. No longer a "night person" I don't go out for orchestra rehearsals. There aren't any fellow retirees interested in forming a daytime chamber ensemble. While I enjoy playing and keeping my skills up at home, and I've been asked if I would like to play at the local senior residences, I don't find that the solo violin is pleasing to an audience. So, I play alone for my wife and the cats. Given that my play time is just prior to the cats afternoon food, they consider it dinner music.

Yes, I have one student who is becoming less active as he begins High School.

September 28, 2018 at 09:23 PM · Well I guess it has to be "by myself" since most of my violin and viola time are spent practicing and trying to improve. I play in two orchestras (both on viola) and in one jazz trio (on violin), and in several other jazz groups (on piano) and looking to start a band to do 70s fusion (a la Mahavishnu Orchestra) wherein I would play violin (I really admire Jerry Goodman).

September 28, 2018 at 10:12 PM · Another such question would be (for another weekend maybe?): Which of these situation do you like best? As you would expect most people spend more time at home practicing than at any of the other options. Doesn't mean we are a bunch of loners.

September 29, 2018 at 01:35 AM · I have the opportunity to play in several local small Irish music groups.

The last several times I didn't attend because I couldn't seem to play a string of songs without making mistakes. So I'm going to keep practicing.

My teacher thinks I'm doing ok. Progress just takes time.

I selected I play alone even though I'm a weekly church music leader/pianist. I'm guessing you mean't violin, violia,cello or bass.

September 29, 2018 at 04:07 AM · Everyone practices, often alone, no matter how good they are, so I took the question literally: "play" as opposed to "practice", and answered "play in an ensemble". But even when I practice, it's mostly for my string quartet.

September 29, 2018 at 01:00 PM · At this point - 16 months into playing a violin - every time I've given a performance of some sort it's been solo. I've played in two student recitals, four adult student soirees, and I played my own solo show in a pub. Adding to Albrecht's comment above, I'd like to see a survey that asks, "What performance situation do you aspire to as a musician?" because as I improve I'm hoping to find others to perform with me. So, at the moment I'm a solo act, but I'm hoping that will change.

September 29, 2018 at 01:48 PM · I think the reason you are playing affects how/where you play. Up until recently I was 99% playing at home alone, and I have enjoyed many days filled with learning, concentrating on etudes, bow work, vibrato, wanting to get 'inside' the instrument and find my own voice. I felt I wanted to play with other people so went to a music school open day, where someone heard me play and invited me to join a band. This has changed how I practice because now I am using the techniques I learned alone, to interpret new repertoire; so the balance seems more healthy somehow between technical 'searching' and actually playing, developing musicality with other outside influences and considerations. Playing with others is teaching me new skills that are difficult to quantify, such as; listening, outside of, but at the same time as one's own playing. I feel the same as George Wells, above, that the violin is not always appreciated as a solo instrument, (as Joshua Bell's experiment on the metro proved); so maybe, solo is best for the practice room. I wonder if the general public would have ignored Itzhac Perlman on the metro, we'll never know!

September 29, 2018 at 03:12 PM · Perhaps the "By myself" section (currently 63%) could be usefully subdivided into those who are actively learning the violin, either with a private teacher or at conservatory/college/high-school, and those who are not having lessons?

September 29, 2018 at 03:30 PM · 2% of the respondents perform as soloists most often! Given that there only handful of professionals who are regulars here ( I can only think of one and she is not a soloist), that is a bit surprising. Or perhaps some folks redefine “performing as a soloist” as playing alone.

September 29, 2018 at 04:16 PM · George Wells, I am in the same situation!! Only I play for my dogs!! I am a retired college professor who takes lessons once a week but would really like to join an ensemble.

September 29, 2018 at 09:57 PM · I answered “as a teacher” since I teach strings in 3 elementary schools and direct 2 after-school orchestras. I also have 17 private private students, However, also play in two professional symphonies. I believe the survey may have been more helpful if instead of a “one choice only” format we had been able to rank the choices from 1-5.

September 30, 2018 at 12:34 AM · I play in five ensembles and one symphony. Life is good.

September 30, 2018 at 12:48 AM · I live on a sailboat in Cocoa FL and I play every evening. Usually from 5:30 to 6:45 on the dock as the sun is setting. I may have missed 5 nights in the last 2 years. I play Beetles, Bee Gees, Gershwin, Bach, Pachelbel, P Simon, H Allen. I have a sign that says 'NO Tipping Please--ENJOY"; which many times yields more tips. People put money in my case and say, it's not YOUR decision?

September 30, 2018 at 01:46 AM · It's also a combination for me, much like yours, except that I don't teach music. I have orchestra, chamber groups, and occasional church appearances. But I would say I like and feel the most at home in orchestra, and I spend the most time there. Right now I'm actually in three orchestras, which is a bit much, even for me!

September 30, 2018 at 02:44 AM · I spend time each day practicing by myself at home, but that's mostly in preparation for playing in small groups- a church group, an Irish Session group class, a small informal gathering with other Irish music friends, & 1 or 2 weekly Irish sessions. Although I find the individual practice time at home to be essential, I gain the most enjoyment from playing with others. There's nothing quite like the camaraderie & learning that occur from playing with others!

September 30, 2018 at 01:41 PM · I'm 90 years old, play the violin, viola, and cello parts on the viola when needed. I have a coin shop and we call group of 7, the Coinshop Chamber Music Society. The cellist and I are the only amateurs. Our violinists, pianist, clarinetist are either teachers, performers and professionals. We meet weekly at my coinshop in Yucca Valley, California. We have been playing every week together for over 7 years. I stopped playing about 10 years ago when I developed macular degeneration because I thought I couldn't read music. Laster, glancing at a score, I discovered I could read music. I'm now playing more than ever. Our group is devoted and rarely miss a rehearsal.

September 30, 2018 at 01:48 PM · A couple of times a week I go the park and play on a bench. I try to give a FREE (first or second) lesson to a young child who is in rapture of the violin. The parents get to avoid the cost of the initial lessons to see if the child is inclined. I send the kids to a instructor for more lessons and a near buy violin store for an smaller instrument. The parents tend to pull the kids away until they see my "NO Tipping Please -- ENJOY" because they are afraid they will feel obligated to throw a buck in my jar. (I don't have a jar). I would like to hope I have started a few new violinist. When I do adult -first- lessons I think I have always succeeded in having them play "TWINKLE TWINKLE STAR" before the end of the hour. (A-A-E-E-1finger-E-3fingers-2f-1f-A-etc) They almost always are motivated by their accomplishment and go buy their own violin. Teaching is 20% education and 80% motivation. - Capt Jack

September 30, 2018 at 06:20 PM · David: for those who are students and have only performed in recitals, "performing soloist" actually seems like the closest to accurate. Just a thought.

September 30, 2018 at 06:38 PM · I'm excluding my practice time at home because the question is not about practicing, it's about performing or quasi-performing.

I've kept track of my performances meticulously since I started playing more than 18 years ago. The vast majority has been in orchestras; I started playing in orchestras when I was just starting to get comfortable with 3rd position. So far, as a violist and occasional violinist, I've performed 127 times in orchestras, 15 times in chamber ensembles (10 of them at workshops the last two summers), once as a soloist with orchestra, and once as an unaccompanied violist at a friend's wedding. I've never played violin or viola in a recital setting.

If you count chamber music reading as playing, then: I had a monthly reading group for about two years, 2013-15, and I've just joined a new one that met for the first time in August.

This means the vast majority of my playing has been in orchestras... but I'm actually most in at home playing chamber music! I was an active chamber musician in college, as a pianist. I'm also quite comfortable in an orchestral section leader role, mostly because I find it very similar to playing chamber music.

September 30, 2018 at 08:04 PM · For the many responses who indicated that they had no one to play with, have you considered joining ACMP? (www.ACMP.net)? They are a nation wide chamber music group of individuals of all ability levels. I've met -- and played with -- some terrific people!

October 1, 2018 at 11:22 AM · Gratefully all over the World for a long time as Soloist, plus CSO tenure, & Piano Trio w/ Cellist,

Nathaniel Rosen, & Israeli Pianist, plus wonderful pianist's in Violin/Piano Sonatas Chamber Music repertoire - in recordings, television, films, & guest Concertmaster-ship's along the way!

Feel most fortunate, indeed!!!!! Will come back later ~ it's 6:20 AM, October 1st, 2018 - a day I

can't forget because the number changes on this day each year I'm on Earth ~

B-Day hugs to all on Violinist.com !!!!!!

Elisabeth Matesky /. Chicago

October 2, 2018 at 05:33 AM · Let's see; some teaching, two part-time orchestras, very few solos, some practicing, some opera or musical pit orchestras. Not very much chamber music; it doesn't pay and requires a lot of rehearsals. But, for a very long time, most of my playing time and most of my music earnings have been as a Mariachi fiddler(!). It requires a variety of skills; violin + singing in Spanish + memorization + improvisation + playing harmony parts + transposing arrangements to different keys for different singers. Hello EM and happy BD. ~jq

October 2, 2018 at 03:36 PM · as a busker, that must count as soloist

October 4, 2018 at 03:39 PM · ~ @Joel Quivey !!!

Lovely to see your Post and about all your various playing in public appearances, indeed! You do an enormous amount of work for your Mariachi activities - Egads!!!! Being superb violinist, + singing in Spanish + memorization, improvisation, knowing-playing harmony parts and the rare gift of transposing arrangements to differing key signatures for different singers ~ My Goodness, Joel ~ You deserve some sort of Best Mariachi Artist Award!!! I'm serious!!! What is most impressive to me is you do all of this for Love ~

Bravo to JQ ~

Elisabeth 'M.' *

*Muchas gracias para Birthday Wishes - muy importante desde Su!!!

*did you hear Pablo bought ex-Szeryng fiddle!!! Will email when a moment to fill you in ~ em

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