Tonight I was able to venture out to Cunningham park for the NY Philharmonic Concert with some friends, two of whom are like fidgety little children with almost no appreciation for classical music (John & Austin, never again!), one tried very hard to get into it, and one was probably shaking his head at the sight of the blue hue from cellphones. Anyways, finally listening to an orchestra live once again, a part of me is starting to miss being able to play in school. I stopped taking private lessons two years ago because I got into doing academics more and for most of the spring, softball consumed my life. It was a very ambiguous parting considering the fact that my teacher and I basically fell out of contact after he went away one summer (although that’s not entirely true, he called my mom once but she told me like the week after and then I just forgot).
Even though I was clearly not his best student, and my practices can be very wishy-washy, I do miss having the time to play and perform. Right around the time when I stopped taking lessons, I had just started to understand what he’s been trying to teach me about music appreciation. Through him and dear Mr. Hyman, my view of classical music changed greatly. It still takes me much longer time to dissect classical songs, but I am now able to pay attention to at least the major theme that reoccurs. It has always been a (somewhat distant) dream of mine to participate in an orchestra; but like softball, I needed constant practice hours. Along with my lack of skills and short practice hours, our school did not exactly have the strongest orchestral group. This has always saddened me because I feel like high school is probably the last chance I get at playing in this type of setting.
My friend and I have always talked about our disappointments with the school “orchestra” and envisioned many different ways to bring a renaissance to our dying music department; she even started a chamber music group in hopes of keep people’s interest in strings. Next year, however, we will be left without our amazing and sole cellist, and our other main violinist. The underclassmen have never really been able to excel past playing scales (which is REALLY sad). And worst of all, the music teacher we’ve had since freshmen year will be taking his sabbatical next year. I guess for a while now, he’s foreseen the fall of our music department. I’m a little sad that the golden ages already passed when we entered high school. From the looks of it, there will be no orchestra next year, there will be no jazz band next year, and there will be no Mr. Hyman next year. It’s a little hard to believe that in an overpopulated urban city high school of 5000, we can’t even pull together 10 people for a chamber group. There are actually people in strings classes, but I feel like they really can’t expect to learn without taking private lessons.
I really love listening to orchestras perform, and sadly today I was reminded of my shattered hopes.
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aw sam, im sorry to hear this.
In fact, while I was listening to the philharmonic play, I was reminded of my experiences of being a violin student and a orchestra performer in stuy too. I had two violin teachers in my life; one who raised me since I was little and I switched to another one for two years before I lost contact with him too. He goes on constant tours and I didn’t manage to get in touch with him and we eventually just ended like that, I guess somewhat similar to your situation. If I had the time, I always wanted to go back to taking lessons and playing again.
Yknow, we should really play a duet or some chamber music together!