For the last 2+ years, I have been primarily just practicing the violin. I go to lessons, work on my assignments, play at a studio recital once in a while, but mostly just play at home by myself. That’s a pretty unsatisfactory musical path after a while. I picked up an instrument so that I could play it for people, not just practice.
The solution to this is to perform, of course. However, while there are numerous opportunities for young people to perform, there are not so much for the adult starter. I could busk, or if I was good enough, play at a nursing home or something. But for most of us there just aren’t the beginner orchestra or newbie ensemble options that are in place for the kids. Since adult starters are unlikely to monetize their playing, encouraging beginners is not profitable. And if you don’t want to solo, but instead wish to learn how to blend sound, or participate in something bigger than yourself, you’re pretty much out of luck.
This week, however, two amazing things happened. The first was that I had the opportunity to join an adult beginners string ensemble. I had a great time. The music was all in first position so it was very easy to sight read. But that’s a good thing, because I needed to focus on the skills I haven’t learned yet, namely watching a conductor, blending my sound, and learning to listen. Rehearsal also drilled home the fact that I really can’t count. I generally don’t need to while playing alone. In a group, that becomes a crucial skill.
The second cool thing that happened was that my teacher signed me up Friday to play in an exhibition at the end of the month. There’s this string festival that happens every year where the kids go to compete and test for their levels. The way I understand it, the exhibition is supposed to showcase adult beginners, but the organization has been making do with high school students due to the lack of adult participation.
We spent a little bit of time picking out a piece for me to play. It’s a favorite from about a year ago. Yes, I know we did that for the recital in May, but this time I have several weeks to prepare, and it’s a bit easier for me. As much as I would prefer to play something more in line with my current level, it will be better to play something I already know very well.
I’ve gone from no opportunities to perform, to a rich performing ground indeed. I feel lucky, and hope that I live up to people’s faith in my ability. Wish me luck!