I am in a summer orchestra that is playing much harder music than I am used to in my regular orchestra. This is a good thing overall. I will stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone. I love all this music, it's amazing to listen to. I also can imagine, in the possibly distant future, how good it will feel to play along with the orchestra, confidently and well.
But right now I'm feeling a little swamped. The program is the following:
Smetana's Ma Vlast (The Moldau)
Lizst "Mazeppa" Tone Poem
Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in D
I had never heard of the Lizst before. I didn't even really know he wrote orchestral music, I had thought of him primarily as a piano composer.
In any case, I got lost way too many times during the first rehearsal, especially in the Mazeppa.
My art of faking appears to be not very well developed. After taking my rightful place in the way back, I was invited up to the second stand to fill a gap. I kept trying to lean over and look at/listen to the concertmaster and see where the heck he was. This was only moderately helpful.
I want to rise to this challenge, any practicing tips for really, really hard orchestra music?
So far, I am doing the following:
1. Isolating the especially difficult etude-like parts and treating them like actual etudes. Developing fingerings, practicing shifts, checking intonation with the tuner.
2. Practicing a little bit each day and making sure to get enough sleep in between.
3. listening to a recording and following along with my part.
Anything else that you might do?
Realistically, I'm not going to get all the hard parts settled in by the concert, and will need to do some triage. If you have to triage practicing, what criteria do you use to focus in on the things you are going to spend the most time on? Exposure? Difficulty? Beauty?
No matter what, I still think it will be fun.
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