Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Playing in groups

Looking back on my musical education, it seems to me that there is a very important aspect that was not taught me by any of my teachers, but which is vitally important to good music-making, whether as a professional or as an amateur.

This aspect is the art of playing in groups: in orchestra, in bands, in chamber groups, or as a soloist with a piano accompanist.

There are skills to be learned about playing in groups that are entirely independent of your technical capabilities on your chosen instrument.

In a way, I'm lucky, both my parents were fine amateur musicians (and one was a music teacher), and they involved me in amateur music making at quite an advanced level throughout my childhood, and I remember them offering ideas about playing in a group whenever I described problems. I suspect that I obtained a larger part of my musical education by that means than I previously realised.

Group technique is not something that is much taught. Looking back on it, it was something which the teachers at music college hoped that we would sort of pick up as a result of rehearsing pieces in orchestra, but rehearsal technique and group playing was not discussed as a separate discipline. I'm coming to think that it ought to be.

So in the interest of passing on whatever might be useful of what I've learned, I'm going to do some articles over the next few weeks on orchestral and group playing.

No comments:

Post a Comment