Monday, January 26, 2015

Chamber Music: Personal skills to a new level

The Lincoln Music Teachers’ Association (LMTA) provides many wonderful opportunities to teachers and students in the community and features in many past interviews and articles. On January 17th, LMTA hosted a Chamber Music Festival featuring members of Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Suzuki Talent Education members, members of the Home School Orchestra, and Nebraska Chamber Players (NCP).

Students of LMTA teachers working on their ensemble performance.
photo courtesy: LMTA

Kathleen Nguyen, a student who participated in the event, shared that she put in “a lot of practicing for the festival song” and worked hard “trying to perfect it.” Kathleen enjoyed “learning to play in a group, making new friends, and see[ing] lots of instruments and talented students.”

A string ensemble rehearses.
photo courtesy: LMTA
Parents commented on the opportunity it gave their children to learn to work, like Juanita Trexel put it, as “part of a team,” another mother, Kristen Plock, appreciated the opportunity it gave her daughter, a piano student, to “be exposed to chamber music and meet others who enjoy playing this type of music.”

Besides learning to work together to create music, students had the opportunity to be coached by NCP members and learn a little about conducting. NCP also gave a performance for the students—a chance to hear professional musicians who work together in chamber groups on a regular basis.

This was the second time that NCP participated in the Chamber Music Festival. Becky Van de Bogart, a member of NCP, says that they are “fortunate to be asked to participate.” Because of the level of work and effort that the LMTA teachers and their students have put into preparation for the festival, NCP is able to contribute a lot to the event:

“The Nebraska Chamber Players have the opportunity to coach the chamber ensembles the teachers in LMTA have put together and offer our insights as professional chamber players and soloists/teachers. The young musicians are completely prepared and have spent time working together before the festival so we are able to offer valuable suggestions about playing as an ensemble, tuning, communication and style.  The LMTA teachers are to be congratulated on getting these groups prepared.”

It was the beginning of the day when participants were able to hear NCP’s performance, “before the kids broke into the small groups.” That weekend, all of the participants were also given tickets to attend an NCP concert.

Van de Bogart’s comments are certainly complimentary to the work of LMTA in our community and also describe a little of what goes into performing as an ensemble at any level:

Clark Potter, a member of LSO and NCP,
coaches a trio at the Chamber Music Festival.
photo courtesy: LMTA
“LMTA has created a wonderful opportunity for young musicians to take their personal skills to a new level in the chamber music environment.  Each player must have total command of their own part, no matter how young they are, in order to be an equal partner in a group.  Then they have to be willing to compromise and be a productive ensemble musician with the goal of creating a quality ensemble performance.  There is quite a level of maturity needed to make this all happen.  The fantastic studio instruction the kids receive make this possible.  There are not enough kudos for the teachers and the kids!”

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