As usual, when I'm the OP, I'll go first:
For me, the winners are solo -- either unaccompanied or with piano or guitar accompaniment -- and small chamber. I like people, but I'm not a big-group type; I prefer small, compact units and 1:1 relationships.
As a student, I did all types of playing listed above. My teachers encouraged me to branch out this way; and thank goodness they did, because it helped me to get a fuller idea of what the different types of playing demand of the performer -- and get a better idea of what I wanted to do musically.
Orchestra was the last avenue I got involved in. Although I was a kid beginner in violin and took to the instrument readily, I didn't have my first orchestral experience till I reached high school some years later. I enjoyed the experience and was a bit surprised to see myself advance through the ranks faster than I had first thought I might.
After high school, I auditioned for and got a seat in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the CSO's training school, thinking that the symphonic profession was where I wanted to go career-wise. I wouldn't have wanted to miss this experience for anything -- many fond memories here.
Yet, by 21, I decided that orchestral playing was something I no longer wanted to do. It was cutting into the time I had available to play the kind of music I now realized I had my heart set on -- solo and chamber -- where my individual musical voice and style and individualistic personality could best come through.
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EDIT: Prior to Mike Laird's input -- first reply, immediately below -- I had originally listed jazz and improv, too, but cut them at the last minute before posting.
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