My Local Symphony Orchestra..

March 23, 2004 at 12:41 AM · Greetings,

Three weeks ago I decided to contact our local Symphony Orchestra and ask them if they needed any violinists. I have a little bit of time and would not mind giving some back to my community! I have not done much orchestra work in the last 2 years and I miss it! My preference is first violin because I do not find second violin rewarding any longer, I did plenty of that in my early carrier, but I understand sometimes we have to take and cover the spots that are needed.

The man in “charge” told me to send him a resume and “feel free to contact him” in one week or so. He also told me of a possible job in another town.

Today I gave him a call to see if he had received my resume and he sounded weird, he told me I should “come and listen to the orchestra during a rehearsal to see what I’m getting into!” and told me to call him in April (no time frame or date).

Now, what is he trying to tell me?

-Am I not good enough? (But I teach one of the players in that orchestra! I know some of the musicians and I have much more background and experience then them)

- Did my resume make him feel like I’m over qualified for the orchestra (Yes I’ve had good music education and top notch violin teachers, but so what, I just want to play)

I need your opinions, this one has me confused.

Replies (11)

March 23, 2004 at 01:10 AM · sounds more like he's saying the orchestra needs some work. at least thats how i would take it, maybe you should go to a rehearsal and see what you're getting into.

March 23, 2004 at 01:36 AM · Greetings,

yep, it sound smore a case of feeling you are over qualified than the reverse. Diificult to judge though.

The personal politics and relationships of amateur, semi-pro orchestras can be even more difficult than professional ones. All you can do is know your part backwards and don`t offer advice unless it is really asked for, no matterhow hard you want t o scream,



May 27, 2004 at 11:30 PM · This is a hard one. It can be going two ways. One, he does not feel you should be in the orchestra for some reason, or two, that you are too good for the orchestra.

May 28, 2004 at 02:58 AM · Oh Geez! You may be more qualified than he is. It's possible he thinks you're better than him. I'd go and check out the orchestra, anyways. See how they play. People can be funny sometimes.

May 28, 2004 at 02:54 PM · Well, it does sound like the conductor feels you're over qualified. By the way, I have been playing 2nd violin, professionally for over 30 years now and never wanted to play in the 1st violin section. I find it more rewarding to be in the middle of the entire ensemble and be hearing everything that's going on, than to be playing in the other section, where is quite harder to accomplish that. Just a thought...

May 28, 2004 at 03:19 PM · LOL...and here's me hoping for a 2nd viola position somewhere in the future...


...if it were me, I'd go listen to them practice...and then I'd know for sure...

May 28, 2004 at 07:13 PM · The middle sections really are the most fun harmonically...but thats just the opinion of a fellow violist

May 30, 2004 at 02:01 PM · middle of the section is awesome. I like playing second violins but i had an interesting experience at my last concert.

I'm in a youth orchestra, and for our concert we had a flute choir as a special guest to help fill out the program. This meant that they had to clear and reset the stage. Unfortunately (i don't know how it happened) they didn't set out enough desks for the second violins. I don't know how it happened but because I've never had a desk partner I moved to an empty seat behind the firsts. Personally I found it very offputting as we had lots of pieces where the firsts would play and then the seconds would echo, or the seconds would take the tune (shock horror!) while the firsts were doing something else. it gets slightly offputting after a while (and although i have been wanting to play a first part, i thought during the concert probably wasn't the best time to try it out)

oh well


May 30, 2004 at 07:28 PM · Ever play a middle part in a string quartet? Namely viola? it is absolutely wonderful, and though I have never tried playing first violin (I don't really pursue violin much) I know that if I did I would really miss my place as a violist.

June 1, 2004 at 04:39 AM · Greetings,

what Dumitru says about not being able to hear in the first violin section is absolutely true. The pratt on your left is usually playing too loud because they think they belong in the leader`s seat.

However, I did have an interesting `hearing` experience the other day. I was booked to play in some children`s concert and turned up to find that due to logistical probelms the percussion was directly behind my desk in the first violin section. I cannot stand this kind of moise in close proximity so I filled my ears with balls of damp toilet paper before the reharsal began. I could barely hear what people were saying and the precussion was reduced quite nicely but I wa samazed to find that I could actually hear everything going on in the whole orchestra with incredible clarity, much more than usual. What was missing from the sound was the overtones/vibrancy (?). This made me think that the law of physiology that the more we hear the less the brain can process the data is much more in action during regular rehearslas and concerts than we might think.

The end of the story is that sicne we were performing four school songs I had told my desk partner to check the order because I could not read the titles ` kanji. He made a mistake and I came crashing in on a loud chord while the rest of the strings were pianissimo. I cannot be crticized for lack of visual sensitivity since the strings looked like they were going to play pianissimo even on chords anyway!

I think my desk partner tried to wan me but I did not hear what he was saying because my ears were stuffed full of wet toilet paper.

Next time I will use prunes...



May 8, 2005 at 04:37 AM · Somewhat related viola joke:

The last chair violist in an orchestra comes across a bottle with a genie, and gets three wishes. His first wish is to play twice as well so he can move up in the section. The genie grants his wish, and he moves to the front of the section. His second wish is to play twice as well again, so he can be principal. The genie grants his wish, and he wins the principal seat. His third wish is once again to play twice as well, so he can be a soloist. He moves to the last chair of the second violins.

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