Sight Reading Success

January 15, 2012

My String Fling experience this year was a very good one. The first two years I participated in this event I found sight reading new music, playing in tempo, hearing myself over all the other instruments, and watching the conductor, all simultaneously, to be overwhelming. Last year was especially frustrating for me. Determined to have a better experience this year I asked David if I could get a copy of the music ahead of time. He loaned me the three pieces my orchestra was slated to perform and I spent several practice session learning them.

At the first rehearsal Saturday morning our conductor announced that she was only going to use one of the three pieces selected for us, and was substituting two pieces she had brought. The two substitutes were less complicated in some ways and I was very pleased to be able to keep up. I still have difficulty hearing my intonation over the other instruments. I still need my ear to tell me if my intonation is correct; relying on muscle memory seems fraught with peril.

Over the course of three rehearsal sessions my confidence in my ability to play the right notes, more or less in the right time, grew. I was even able to look up at the conductor and not lose my place in the score. It was a very satisfying experience.

Now that I've had a good orchestra playing experience I am even more determined to play in a group. One wonders if a cellist with a mere two years of playing experience can found a quartet.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.