Music Camp

June 27, 2012

In just under two weeks I'm attending a music camp for orchestra students. This camp, like the cello camp last week, is hosted by my teacher. He gave me the folder of music we'll be playing over the course of the three days at my lesson on Monday. Unlike the cello camp which was all cellos this camp is for all string orchestra members so there will be violins, violas, and basses in addition to the cellos. It will be orchestra 101 for me and a great lead into the start of orchestra rehearsals in August.

Canyon Sunset by John Caponegro
Symphony Nº 4, 1st Movement by William Boyce, arranged by Elliot Del Borgo
Dorchester Street Songs by Gregg A. Porter
Mariachi! by John O'Neill
Bach Suite: I. Menuet in G, II. Bist du Bei Mir, III. Musette by J. S. Bach, arranged by Larry Clark

I've actually played the Dorchester Street Songs before, at this year's String Fling in January. Both Monday evening and last night I played through as much of each of these pieces as I could. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to play all of Canyon Sunset and Symphony Nº 4 without much difficulty. By the end of my practice last night I had increased the metronome speed to 100 (from an initial 60) on both pieces.

After playing through the first page of the Dorchester the melody came back and I was able to play most of it without difficulty.

Through playing the Suzuki Bach arrangements I am already familiar with some of the melody for this piece. I haven't played through all of it yet, but I think it'll be in fine shape by the start of the camp.

Mariachi! is easily the most challenging piece of the bunch. The cellos are obviously playing the base line in this piece and it is full of rests. I'll need to set the metronome rather slow and practice this one deliberately - I won't get away with trying to sight read my way through.

I was hugely encouraged by how much of this new material I was able to play the first night. Instead of scrambling just to be able to keep up I'll be able to focus more on direction and dynamics and enjoying playing.

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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.