I noticed that one of my strengths were playing musical pieces in the appropriate theme it was composed for. Whilst merging with the other orchestra players, I was able to grasp the theme behind the music as the conductor expected for us to do. Hence, I believe that being able to do so, heavily contributed to a great outcome of elegant performances we have had in Tanner Orchestra this year. On the other-hand some of my weaknesses for areas of improvement could be to learn the pieces much more quickly so that I can play on time with the other players too. I believe that I am a slow sight-reader so despite my 12th year experienced skills in violin, I still tend to struggle a lot with grasping the scores themselves.
I believe the greatest challenge yet, it playing a solo piece accompanied by an orchestra. I have done numerous violin solo performances in the past, although they were all accompanied by a pianist hence it was easier for me to play the piece at my own desired tempo throughout the entire duration. However, orchestra did not seem to be the same case, where I had to be more observant and ensure that my accompanists are playing the right notes/tempo which should correlate with my piece rhythmically and melodically. Furthermore, it was more difficult to focus on my own playing with numerous other sounds and notes played in the back.
Practicing the pieces numerous times is the only way to improve my violin playing. Although rather than just naturally practicing whatever piece I was given, I had planned out which parts of the piece I shall play quietly or loudly making use of a wide range of dynamics e.g. Diminuendo, Crescendo etc. To sustain the etiquette and elegancy of the piece, I had listened to professional performances and CDs online to really grasp the in-depth context and intention of the pieces I have played. Consequently, that had made it easier for me to decipher the scores and run through different segments of the composition so that I can ensure and clarify which parts I am playing wrongly or have the incorrect idea behind them.
I believe collaboration is a vital skill to orchestra playing, which is also quite self-explanatory from the meaning itself. The idea behind playing a piece simultaneously with other instrument players is a time-consuming and patient skill. I believe I have maintained that very effectively throughout the number of rehearsals we have had. I was quite observant, ensuring that I had started playing on the count of the conductor or the concert master. Whether it was the notes, melody or timing of the piece we had to stop numerous times which did take a while to finish a single piece. Although, we had helped each other by advising how to play a particular segment of the piece in the appropriate classical manner or improve upon the timing of an area. Eventually, we all seemed to lay hold of the concept behind the scores in which gradually made the songs flow smoothly with minimal errors or perhaps flawlessly. I personally believe that this skill ties in with one of IBHL subjects of Mathematics, where practice is key to solving and getting use to complex problems. Hence, “practice” plays such importance in both violin and mathematics where it can only be improved and even developed by attempting the practice numerous times and observing along the way to see what struggled me and how I could resolve the issue to improve my ability upon that skill-set to keep proceeding further into more complex situations.
Evaluating upon my learning in Orchestra, I am now able to work more effectively amongst different instrument players more smoothly and help each other keep track of our playing style ensuring that we all have the same idea of the given composition. Furthermore, I am more capable of performing solo pieces with the orchestra as I am more confident to focus on my playing in spite of my accompaniment with a clash of instruments behind me. My communication skills was very effectual throughout my learning, getting my message across to other players, advising how to play a specific part of a piece or in general, I had evaluated what my violin teachers told me to improve upon to clarify that I know exactly my areas of development. I am very social, as I ameliorated upon my ability to collaborate with people and assist each other to improve our performance and play week by week.
Although this experience is coming to an end, I still wonder how the Tanner Orchestra will continue after I leave school and head off to university. I am hoping that more violin players will join the orchestra in the future, and I hoped I led a good example to encourage more people to join in the upcoming years. The phenomenon behind working together and producing a piece of artistic expression whether it is art or music allowed me to link back to my time in Grade 10 where I performed as a back-up musician for the songs in a high-school musical as a part of our MYP Music class and I believe that was a great achievement of mine. What is really fascinating behind music is that I was given the opportunity to work with instruments both familiar and unfamiliar off. Nonetheless, making something happen by practicing and aligning different parts of a piece whilst integrating with a collision of a variety of instruments is the significance of collaboration in music, in which makes up of famous classical and modern musicians/artists and bands we know of today.