Am i good enough for high school Orchestra?
I am going to exchange to USA in about a year, and i was wondering if i am even good enough to make it to the school orchestra. I dont know wich school or where in the country yet.
8 years of solo lessons
6 years of playing in ensembles
2 years of playing in a quartet
The first 3 years of solo werent really productive.
The last classical peices i have played are (I usually play folk music):
Valse Triste in an ensemble
The bach violin double in f major.
The standards of high school orchestras vary greatly. I know of a few high schools where someone at your level would be at the minimum standard for getting into the orchestra at all, but I've also seen many high schools where you would be easily the best violinist in the school.
I think Andrew has a point. I know nothing about American schools being British, but I think the standard of teaching generally is higher there. But as I say what andrew says makes sense
I agree with Andrew -- it will all depend on which school you will be attending. But be careful in choosing where you decide to go in the USA -- there are many high schools which do not have an orchestra. Most (but not all!) will have a band and a chorus, but orchestras are much rarer.
Maybe there is a way you can send a tape and get a guarantee of admission before you go. I think they should be somewhat more accommodating to an exchange student. At least, I would be.
David, I also live in New Hampshire, and I had no idea that high school orchestras were so uncommon here! I feel really lucky to live in a city that has a strings program starting in the elementary schools. My child just started that program this year, and our public schools have string ensembles/orchestras from elementary through high school. That said, I have a feeling the OP's experience far outweighs what most of the high school players at the local high school here have done. I am sure there are students who have studied on their own, outside of or instead of the school strings program. But for the kids who start in our schools they will have had at most 6 years of group lessons before reaching high school.
Another thing to consider-- if a school's orchestra is good enough to freeze you out, their music program is probably big enough that there may be a second/junior group that will take you.
As others have said, depends on where you will be going to school.
I completely with those who say that standards for high school orchestras vary greatly. The fact that not all high schools have orchestras is also very true. If you do wind up at a high school that has a band program but no orchestra, some band directors will permit violins into their bands. It is different from playing in orchestra of course, but you can still learn essential ensemble skills by playing violin in school band. The only reason this works is because flute and oboe parts can be played on the violin without changing anything. That said, you need to be pretty comfortable playing in third through fifth positions in order to play many of the flute parts in high school band. Oboe parts generally require less shifting. And yes, I would ask if possible to go to a school with an actual orchestra.
Yes, you are good enough for the great majority of USA public high school orchestras. There are just a few specialized, high level performing arts high schools like New York City and Los Angeles. And there a very big difference between an American high school music department and a German/Austrian "Hochschule fur Musik" Many American high schools do not have an orchestra - just band and chorus.
You'd be good enough for any high school orchestra I know of, though in the schools with larger programs, you might or might not make the top group.
RK -- the NH public schools that I'm aware of which have orchestras are Manchester (all 3 high schools), Concord, Portsmouth, Hanover. Possibly Pinkerton Academy in Derry (the public high school.) Private schools that I know about which have an orchestra are St. Paul's in Concord. That's all that I'm aware of although I don't know about private schools like Phillips/Exeter or The New Hampton School.
Back in the post WW-II years when I attended a 1,000-student high school in a "farmland" town, the male violinists in the school orchestra were "drafted" into the band playing baritone horn ("single-barreled" euphonium). Although the baritone horn plays in the trombone (base clef) range the parts were written in treble clef and the range of most musical parts was no greater than one octave. I was sent home my first afternoon with a leaky horn (that I played for the next 4 years) and a treble-clef book of B-flat-instrument music and learned it well enough to join the band's next rehearsal as did the other draftees.
I attend a very competitive 2700 student highschool and you would easily be in the top 5 players.
If the secret is creating a fart-like sound, I ought to be a virtuoso.
To expand on my earlier post:
And to restate, there are huge parts, the largest by square mileage, where if there is a band of any kind and one art teacher for all grades you can consider yourself lucky.
It's kind of a refreshing discussion actually. More typically a student who has just finished the Bach Double will be asking us how they can get into Juilliard or Curtis.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.