Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Gig-worthy quartet

Noah's quartet played yet again at a community event. Today it was after the big dedication of the "Valhalla Mile" project and before and during the serving of the Happy Birthday Canada cake. The Valhalla Mile dedication brought a couple of hundred people out plus a bunch of politicians and other dignitaries. A mile-long segment of privately owned waterfront wilderness adjacent to Valhalla Provincial Park was bought by a local environmental group and The Land Conservancy thanks to a phenomenally successful fundraising drive.

So the quartet was asked to play. They hadn't been rehearsing lately but had a run-through last night. Suddenly there's a togetherness and musicality that had been lacking before. They're playing much more as an ensemble. The things I used to have to spell out for them, in detail and repeatedly, are just happening spontaneously now. They sight-read through a new piece and it sounded almost ready for performance after one run-through.

They tentatively decided on a short play-list. Today they managed the whole thing themselves -- decided on the order, chose to include or omit repeats appropriately, added a couple of extra numbers on the fly when turned out a little more music was needed. Very professionally done.

They're just about ready to be more than a kid quartet. I think they're just a few months away from having enough repertoire to start taking real gigs. For money. Weddings, receptions, parties and such. I'll just need to help them dig up more repertoire.

Today they got paid in cake.

4 comments:

  1. What is the age range of this group? It must be amazing to see them grow together as an ensemble.

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  2. I've been meaning to ask you this for awhile now, but it seems like I've seen photos of Erin writing with her left hand, but she seems to play a regular instrument not meant for left-handers. I'm wholly uneducated when it comes to violin, but am very interested in starting Suzuki lessons with our son when he's older. He (so far, at least) seems left-handed and does everything with his left hand with no exceptions. Do you have any recommendations for left-handers when it comes to violins?

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  3. The quartet's first violinist is newly 14, the 2nd violinist and violist (Noah) are both 12 and the cellist just turned 15. Yes, it's great watching them grow up together. When they started they were 11, 10, 10 and 12. If we can just keep the cellist engaged they'll really be something in a couple of years. So far he's sticking with things, but cello isn't really his priority. Still ... if they start being a marketable group that might change for him :-)

    Left handers. Yes, left-handed people play violin exactly the same way right-handers do. Left-hand dexterity (the bigger challenge in the first couple of years) comes more easily to them, and their right hands seem to be pretty capable by the time bowing finesse is required. So you can make a case for lefties having a slight advantage as violin students. In any event having a lefty play 'backwards' is pretty much unheard-of in the classical world.

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  4. Obviously a 'nice little earner' (as we say in the UK) building up here. Alex is now doing wedding gigs with a quartet, and appreciates the income!

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