Friday, May 18, 2007

Three-generation Osprey

We took some photos this morning at our Osprey String Quartet rehearsal. We're doing our main recital of the year next month -- Mozart Quartet in B-flat, K. 458, and Mendelssohn Op. 44 No. 1 in D-Major. The first violinist is my mom. The second violinist is my daughter. I play viola and a family friend plays cello. We meet as colleagues and we have a blast. We laugh ourselves silly, we tease H. for apologizing about everything, we giggle over the fumbled entries, roll our eyes when someone changes a bowing, pretend to be affronted when someone suggests a change of articulation. We know each other very well and this allows us to tease and use sarcasm and laugh at each other, and it all fleshes out as positive work on the music that makes us feel pretty good about ourselves and our music.

I am still stunned that Erin can do this -- that she is such a fine a sensitive chamber music player, and that she fits in so well in this enjoyable collegial atmosphere. In many ways it is very very good for her; she is getting challenge and experience playing high-level string quartet repertoire with pretty capable hard-working players, and she clearly enjoys it a lot. String quartet playing is the most wonderful musical collaboration ever invented.

On the other hand, it's "all in the family." And I wonder if this fact is preventing her from having the opportunity to define a musical identity that is her very own. She plays in our quartet because we need a second violinist, because it's a sensible, convenient, useful opportunity for her to gain musical experience, and because it's fun. But it's not something she had to consciously go out and choose to do. It's what was obvious and expected.

In some ways the limbo she's in right now with respect to having / not having a violin teacher may be a blessing. She's going to have to consciously choose to pursue whatever option she settles on. She doesn't like choices, and will probably need some help shrugging her way into a decision, but if she participates in that decision-making I hope she'll be a little closer to internalizing her own, autonomous identity as a musician.

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