For young music students participating in their schools’ formal, classroom-based music programs in Cincinnati, there are usually two types of practice they encounter: solo and large group.The large concert bands, wind ensembles, and orchestras of public schools are a wonderful way to learn ensemble playing. Most instruments are played by multiple musicians, so blend comes into play. The dynamics of a large group are important steps in social development, too.
And then, the solo playing: lessons, private instruction, and one-on-one tutelage. Practicing is a solitary endeavor, and a centering one at that. The deep study of one’s instrument can be a blissfully meditative experience.
But what of the middle ground?
Small ensembles are terrific ways for young musicians to experiment with the versatility of their instruments. Whether it’s a string quartet, a woodwind trio, a brass septet, or any number of other combinations, the small ensemble offers tremendous opportunities to try new repertoire and develop group dynamics.
The Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and its Solo and Ensemble Contest offers an opportunity for musicians to present small-ensemble performances for adjudicators, but we can always look for other opportunities to approach ensemble work.
If you, as a music student, are looking to play chamber music or other small-ensemble repertoire, please mention the subject to your music teacher. Here in Cincinnati and the Tri-State Area, there are many musicians at your skill level who would be excited to collaborate.
From a repertoire perspective, there is a wealth of beautiful compositions that are written for duos, trios, quartets, and small groups. We here at Toedtman can help you pursue this aspect of your musical expression and development.
For Cincinnati music lessons at our Sharonville studio – on drums, piano, bass, double bass, guitar, woodwinds, trumpet, violin, viola, and voice — contact Toedtman School of Music by calling 513.772.7900.