Come this Friday evening, I will be performing in the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s first concert of the year. About a year ago, I was doing the same thing. Look back at myself from that time, I’m amazed at how much improvement I’ve made in my ensemble playing skills.
Last year, I was so nervous I could barely even focus, let alone play musically. Whenever I made a mistake, I would beat myself up about it horribly, even walking home crying sometimes. That wasn’t productive for me or the ensemble. I had trouble making entrances in time, I didn’t count rests well, I was terrible at looking up at the conductor while playing, and sometimes I didn’t even have my parts properly prepared.
Since then, I’ve learned that confidence is the best thing you can do for your playing. Letting nerves get in the way just screws you over before you’ve even started playing. I also figured out that it’s OKAY to make mistakes, that’s what rehearsals are for! Everyone makes them, and no one is going to hate your guts because of it, so no reason to be nervous. I learned to deal with mistakes productively; ie. identifying the problem and fixing it without getting upset, rather than taking it way too personally and making myself unable to solve the problem. I’ve learned to always have my parts learned fully for rehearsal (seems like a no brainer, but it’s just a matter of prioritizing I somehow didn’t grasp), I count better (usually..), and I’ve gotten way better at looking up at the conductor.
It’s truly amazing what a difference a year can make! Just wait til I’m in fourth year, I’ll be unstoppable!
Audition material for this year’s UBC ensembles has finally been put up, and you can find it here.
For the harp audition I need to learn about 13 pages of music in less than a month… yay… Don’t get me wrong, I can do it, and I will, but it means I need to start practicing seriously again. That feeling of inadequacy is creeping up on me again, and you know what that means? It means I need to practice more. And now that my hands are actually getting better, I can actually do that! Yay!
Anyway, UBC ensembles are open to everyone through audition, including those who are not part of the school of music, so if you think you’d enjoy being part of a band or orchestra, come try out! Sign up sheets will be found outside the Music Office in the Music Building.
Okay, I think I’ve finally got ensembles figured out.
In terms of large ensemble, ie. symphony orchestra, the four harpists will share parts, but the other first year will get probably the majority of parts and the hardest ones, since she’s actually been playing the longest. The orchestra won’t be having any harp in it until October, so I get a few weeks with free nights, which is nice.
For small ensemble, I’ll be doing harp duets with a third year harpist who has the same teacher as me. (And in case I haven’t mentioned this, my harp teacher is SO NICE.) This will work nicely, since we have group lessons every other week, so I won’t have to fit another rehearsal into my schedule somewhere. I had kind of hoped to be in a string quartet sort of thing so I could meet some more people, but this is good too.
P.S. I discovered The Honor Roll – a great sushi place in the basement of the SUB. You can get a California Roll for $3.50, and they take UBCCard, too! Made my day.
Peace – Samantha.