V.com weekend vote: Do you have anyone to play music with these days?

April 11, 2020, 10:23 PM · Watching some of the wonderful music that is being posting online during these strange pandemic days, I have to say that I get a little jealous.

To be quarantined with a collaborative pianist! Or a quartet!

quarantine music

It got me thinking, how many people are able to make live music at home, in this situation? And in what way? Obviously, if you live with musicians, you can play together. But people are also finding ways to play with accompaniment - by accompanying themselves (for example with the Acapella app). They are also finding ways to collaborate with other musicians at a distance, layering recordings and creating music that way.

As a teacher, I'm still sort of playing with my students, but it's not as fun to do this over Zoom! In order for the student to play with accompaniment, I have to mute the student. So there's no give-and-take, they simply have to follow me, playing the accompaniment, in time. This works sometimes, but not always! I'm realizing that I really miss the non-verbal communicating we can do, playing together in the same room.

When my students do their Zoom recital for the spring, many will play with pre-recorded piano accompaniment. It's better than nothing, but certainly not the same as really playing with our pianist, live.

I miss playing with people! I miss my quartet and I miss playing in orchestra! I would have played an Easter gig - I miss the feeling of playing live music for a religious ceremony.

We will all have the opportunity make live music with one another again, I have no doubt. But I would love to know how you are coping, in the mean time. Are you making music with people in the house? Are you finding ways to do it online? Are you mostly going it alone, practicing and playing music you like? Or maybe you are just "social distancing" from your instrument right now! Please share what you are doing, and also if you have any technical tips for online collaborating.


April 12, 2020 at 03:44 AM · My daughters (violin and cello) and I (piano) play trios. We have a few books of arrangements and then we have harder stuff like Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven trios. We've been working on the Gypsy trio and today we took a crack at the first couple of movements of the C major Haydn trio.

April 12, 2020 at 03:56 AM · I'm involved in a virtual orchestra on Reddit, and I can play duets with my brother but I don't. And the I'm having fun playing solo.

April 12, 2020 at 07:26 AM · Not really. I live alone. I have virtual orchestra plans for later, but right now I'm not able to commit to anything due to injury and only practicing about an hour a week.

April 12, 2020 at 11:08 AM · My YouTube is my orchestra. I play along side YouTube. I have been using zoom or Skype as well. I think it's ok better than nothing. I guess it's a good lesson for all to appreciate socializing.

April 12, 2020 at 01:57 PM · One of my older students, who moved to Viola and a different teacher lives across the street and I offered him the potential to meet outside with stands appropriately distant to play some duets for Violin and Viola. He's been "thinking about it" for a few days. His mother says he is currently on "Vampire Time" up all night and sleeping most of the daylight hours so my guess is that it will not work.

Of course I could as others about some outdoor socially-distanced playing but playing outdoors has so many factors like wind, potential of rain,... Asking someone to drive over only to have it be non-playable weather kind of makes it pointless.

I will admit to being tempted to just play for the neighborhood playing my fun music - Show Tunes, Movie Themes, Jazz Tunes,... (Thank you Hal Leonard for all those books!) Actually, I've never played in front of any of my neighbors and since there aren't any tomatoes growing...

April 12, 2020 at 02:38 PM · I play second violin to my children's Suzuki pieces as part of their violin practice. Since my children also play the piano, I will sometimes play the melody on their piano pieces on my violin while they accompany me on the piano, just for fun.

April 12, 2020 at 02:57 PM · Playing violin by myself, but playing piano four-hands with my husband.

April 12, 2020 at 03:18 PM · Three of us can play violin (and 2 viola as well), and 2 of us can play intermediate-level piano. We have all improved our accompanying skills trying to play together on instruments we don't normally play as much.

My son used Acapella (and some creative arranging) to record part of a piece he was supposed to play for a recital in 4 parts.

His quartet is using Bandlab (free!) to layer together parts of their quartet repertoire.

My daughter has enjoyed playing Mozart 3 with an orchestra using Cadenza (free for 3 months).

A program my son is in arranged for him to do a Mozart sonata with each person recording parts individually -- we'll see how that comes out. He also played solo Bach on a Zoom recital.

Lots of Paganini caprices and solo Bach. All in all, still a lot of music making going on!

April 12, 2020 at 07:49 PM · I bought a book of duets for 2 violins, intending to record one part and play to the recording. I've been in a slump, however, and the poor violin has been abandoned. Today, I WILL practice, even if it's for 15 minutes.

April 13, 2020 at 12:53 AM · I'm playing solo be it piano or violin. If I want a duet, I have a solution. I will first record me playing the piano and will play the pre recorded music together while I'm playing the violin.

April 13, 2020 at 01:26 AM · I get it. Not having the ability to play with others has left me feeling flat. I teach, although most of my studio is opting to hold out until we can resume in-person lessons. I am considering doing driveway lessons once it warms up...snowing today so it will be awhile. Hopefully, I can arrange some ensemble rehearsals outside also. I am not going to try to get musical fulfillment through online experiences, that just seems impossible.

April 13, 2020 at 02:18 AM · I play along with recordings ( cd’s , downloads ) then practice techniques. Sure do miss playing with people live.

April 13, 2020 at 02:56 AM · As a long time trans woman, I play alone, proudly I an afflicted world who hopes I am somehow their crucified son, while I've known for over 30 years that I'm saved into life as a woman. I am Nancy Wilson, not the Reverend nor the Jazz Singer, but a female legion in my right mind in a world of over impassioned madness, and so Yes Virginia, the lonely CAN play

April 13, 2020 at 03:43 AM · It’s been five weeks since my last violin lesson and though I am practicing and in contact with my teacher through texting I am finding it difficult to self-motivate (and not just with my violin ??). I am counting days, weeks until this is over ??.

April 13, 2020 at 04:58 AM · I just rehearsed the Eyeglasses Duo with my 16-yo son, a cellist. He is feeling kind of down about school being closed and no orchestra. He's even willing to play with mom!

But otherwise, Bach suites and more Bach suites.

April 13, 2020 at 12:24 PM · I am playing alone. I have a couple of MMO CDs which play short pieces. Thais meditation, 4 romantic pieces (Dvorak), some Kreisler.....fun to do....

April 13, 2020 at 02:02 PM · Karen, you could perhaps arrange the recently released Bach E-minor Sarabande (https://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=4093) for viola and study that? (Tertis has already arranged the Elgar Cello Concerto for viola)

April 13, 2020 at 06:18 PM · Happily our son the piano and viola player is locked in with us. I have ordered some Tango duets for violin / viola which I'm looking forward to. He is keeping up his folk fiddling lessons and sessions online, and gamely tried to teach me a tune. And his brother has recorded his Eb bass (tuba) part for a virtual performance being put together by his brass band. Now it just needs me to step up and do some violin practice myself :-).

April 15, 2020 at 07:57 PM · Playing solo -- concentrating on fundamentals. First a daily 20-minute start-up routine to warm up left and right hands. Next it's Galamian 3-octave scales, review of chords, then Sevcik shifts on each string. From my earliest playing days, I've always found fun in study material. I intersperse these drills with old repertoire I can play from memory and use the studies as jumping-off points for improvising. So far, I haven't written down any of these improv's -- the ideas come to me faster than I can write them. Fortunately, I've captured them with my phone; but the audio with built-in mic isn't good enough, so not yet ready for YouTube. When I can find time, I will surmount that obstacle.

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