Playing with others

There are different skills and attitudes for chamber groups and orchestras, but it is worth thinking about how you play with other people, no matter how many there are.

Rhythmic playing is clearly extremely important, if a group is not tightly together they can do very little. However spending time getting used to playing together will mean your music does not have to be rigid and overly metronomic.

Intuitive playing is achieved overtime but is greatly improved by paying attention to all the composers markings. This sort of detailed work conveys a collective intent and expression (dynamics, tempo, articulationperformance directions…)

Ensemble playing is a fantastic opportunity to work on an area easily ignored in solo practise… intonation! Really listen and work on being in tune with the rest of the ensemble.

In many chamber ensembles, and indeed sometimes as a first flute at the front of an orchestral wind section, you have to become a leader. I say this with caution as big movements can be off-putting and soloistic. Just communicate and don’t be afraid to use movement to show your intent.

Listen to recordings, read scores and really get to know the music. IMSLP is your new friend! With all our technology there is no excuse not to know what is going on. This will help you to know when you are playing the melody or a supportive role. Learning to balance in an ensemble is an important skill.

If you are new to orchestral playing learn the basic conducting patterns so you understand what the conductor is doing and where they are in the bar. Following a conductor takes a bit of getting used to but you should be able to recognise the downbeat (first beat of the bar) and the upbeat (last beat of the bar). Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 21.54.24.png

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