Values of Every Member of an Ensemble: GCD Community Engagement

Since 7th grade, I have been participating in the YIS Koto Ensemble, and this is my 5th year being a part of the community. During the years, the ensemble has performed in various concerts in YIS, as well as outside of school. From the amount of dedication and commitment I have put into this ensemble, I have learned the importance of perseverance, and why it is necessary for me in life.

I believe that one of the most distinctive features of a musical ensemble that distinguish from other communities is the equal value of every member of the ensemble. Every member of the group is equally as important and significant as all the other members; whether one may be the leader of the group, or one has a solo during the piece, if we take out any of the members out from the ensemble, the piece won’t sound the same. Some piece we performed had only one person in every part, so if one of the members is gone, everything will start to fall apart. Every member has both the chance to participate in the ensemble equally, as well as having the responsibility to be able to memorize and play the piece correctly. If one is not committed as the other, it is very hard for the whole ensemble to create harmony when playing a piece. Throughout my years of performing as a member of the Koto ensemble, I learned that it is important to be engaged in the community not only for yourself but for the other members’ sake as well. By showing high commitment towards the community, it can also help motivate others to become engaged as well.

During the long years of being the member of the koto ensemble, I had times where I completely lost my motivation to practice the piece, as I was being pressured with catching up with academics outside the community, and other personal issues. I lost the motivation to come to the practice, and there were times where I completely lost interest in playing koto. Despite the lack of motivation I had, I was able to challenge myself to stay persevere and continue practicing. One of the ways I was able to overcome the lack of motivation was, to think about my community and the reminding myself to fulfill the responsibility I had as a part of the ensemble member. I kept reminding myself that if I neglect in engaging in the community, it will also cause unnecessary trouble to the other members of the group, and could potentially disappoint them. Although some might consider this method to be a negative way of motivating yourself, it definitely did help me as the fact that people were dependant on me and that I was important to the community, helped motivate my self to practice koto again. With hard work and perseverance, we were able to play the piece in one of the concerts in YIS. The accomplishment I felt after performing definitely helped me understand the importance of perseverance, and the benefit it can bring. I hope that starting my 5th year this year, I can continue to be a significant part of the koto ensemble as all the others in the community.