Last weekend’s chamber music festival has me thinking a lot about sight reading and playing with others. I found a chamber music association online – it has over 5,000 members, and aims to help them find each other so they can get together and play music. There’s a minimal membership fee, and in order to facilitate proper groupings the association lays out a rubric for self-assessment that members should use. It falls back on school letter grades, which seems a bit punitive – if I sign up I have to give myself a “D,” for example (happily, you don’t have to be a pro to get an “A” – pros are just “Pro”).
But I could definitely get over the need to label myself a near-failure if it meant easy access to a world of playing with others. I wish there were a way to see how many other Ds there are in my area prior to signing up. One of the major ideas behind the association is finding ensembles while traveling, which is not something I’ve considered at all.
The rubric focuses heavily on sight-reading capabilities, which, the more I think about it, is definitely one of the core chamber music skills, along with listening, of course, which the Suzuki method does prioritize! I’m happy to be working now with a book of etudes that I’m wholly sight-reading. I’ve also just ordered the violin two part – in the form of a “duets” book – for some of my Suzuki songs, and I plan to sight-read those while playing along with the cd, so that will help my sight reading skills as well.
My brother-in-law was right – there’s definitely a little bug involved in this playing with others thing.
Thanks for reading.