No musician likes to look out into the hall during a concert to see lots of empty seats, yet what can we do to improve the situation? In rather amusing terms, Sam Bergman, violist with the Minnesota Orchestra, describes some ill-formulated marketing initiatives used in the past by the Alabama Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. He goes on to describe a current initiative in Minnesota that has transformed their Saturday night concerts into “our best and most unpredictable concerts of the week.” Read on – Sam’s description of the audience at these concerts is pretty hard to believe, at least for this violist used to staid New England audiences!Read More
Now that you’ve selected a theme and thought about the music you want to perform for the children, how do you go about preparing the presentation and writing the script?
In the second installment in his three-part series, Gary Race explains the process of selecting the specific pieces that will work with your theme, and then writing the script that will connect all the pieces together.
He describes several techniques you can incorporate into your “show,” such as directed listening, audience participation, and visuals. He has some interesting advice about how to do instrument demos and the dangers of trying to “wing it.” Following his directions, you should finish your second meeting with a list of repertoire and a draft of a script in hand.
Now you’re ready for Part III: Rehearsal and Performance, coming in July.Read More
If you’re ever in the mood for a long conversation, just ask a group of musicians what they think about the place of new music in programming. By the end of the conversation you’ll likely end up with more questions than answers; nevertheless, approaching new music as an artistic endeavor as opposed to a necessary task will likely provide some useful perspective.
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra principal bassoonist Chuck Ullery has been passionately involved with new music for more than 30 years. From the viewpoint of an orchestra musician, he’s put together some guidelines that everyone can use and adapt to their own situation to approach new music.Read More
In her 2nd “Playing Less Injured” tip, Janet Horvath explains how to treat your tired and overworked muscles – sometimes icing is the right way to go, but other times heat is better.Read More
When Yvonne Caruthers asked Claire Speed, Education Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), to write an article about the many educational outreach programs developed by the orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, Claire suggested that Yvonne contact Doug Burden, NACO’s bass trombonist, who participated in a program designed for First Nations children in Kispiox, British Columbia.
Yvonne interviewed Doug about the 2004 tour, which involved a educational kit about Vivaldi’s Four Seasons that NACO sent to every elementary school in B.C. Doug describes how, upon arriving at the Kispiox school, where students from four First Nations schools were gathered, the members of NACO’s 7-piece brass group were greeted “as if we were rock stars” because of all the preparation done by the teachers with a recorder specialist working with the kids.
Doug goes on to explain how the brass group integrated Aboriginal customs with western customs in their presentation to the kids – they were greeted by a welcome song and welcome dance, with the students wearing traditional dress. Best to let Doug tell the story in his own words, which he does in very heart-warming terms.
Be sure to read Claire Speed’s companion article, On Tour with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra: Reaching Out to Aboriginal Children, where she describes all the educational outreach programs developed by the orchestra.Read More
The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), based in Ottawa, has developed an innovative and very successful outreach program to school districts, particularly for Aboriginal children. While on tour throughout Canada, the orchestra presents teacher resource kits and student guides, focusing on the music of Beethoven, Mozart, and Vivaldi. The Vivaldi kit contains references to Aboriginal culture and includes an original story. Combined with recorder clinics at participating schools, NACO’s educational outreach has reached over 18,000 students.
Claire Speed, NACO’s Education Director, explains in detail how they’ve put together this program, under the guidance of Music Director Pinchas Zukerman. She also describes NACO’s in-depth outreach program designed entirely for students who attend First Nations (reserve) schools.
Be sure to read the companion article, Yvonne Caruthers’ interview with Doug Burden, bass trombonist with NACO, who describes the experiences he and his NACO brass colleagues had with the First Nations’ children during the Kispiox Music Project in British Columbia.Read More
The level of musician involvement with programming new music varies from one ensemble to the next, but overall, musician influence is minor. Historically, conductors exercise jurisdiction over these matters, and as a result, an inadvertent divide between musicians and composers has steadily grown throughout recent generations and is, perhaps, wider than ever.
Christian Woehr III is the Assistant Principal Violist for the SLSO and also an avid composer. These dual abilities create a unique dichotomy: as an orchestral musician, he has to work against the tide of conductor influence on programming of new music; but as a composer, the preferred method for getting his music performed is to curry favor with a conductor.
Chris’ article explores these issues and more, in addition to serving as a prelude to Polyphonic.org’s June, 2006, Virtual Discussion Panel.Read More
In her first “Playing Less Injured” tip, Janet Horvath explains that musicians with joint laxity (or “double-jointedness”) are much more prone to injuries while playing than those of us without this condition. Read on to learn how to lessen the possibilities of injury, if you have this condition.Read More
In the final installment of this series Roger Oyster, Kansas City Symphony Principal Trombone, uses the points from his narrative in Part 2 to begin presenting possible solutions formulate a framework for strategies which could help turn the business around.
At the heart of these solutions is the willingness for those in the business to help themselves by acting and thinking differently for some issues than they have in the past. After all, Benjamin Franklin once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”Read More
At the conclusion of Part 1, Roger Oyster, Kansas City Symphony Principal Trombone, framed what he perceives as the problems eating away at core of this business. In Part 2, Roger concluded with the statement “In short, while things have never been tougher, they should be better than ever.”
As such, in order to help illustrate what he feels feel are the real competitive issues facing the business, Roger created the following narrative.Read More