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Finding Other Musicians To Play With - Does Anyone Else Find It Diffic


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#16 sarah-flute

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 20:04

QUOTE(anacrusis @ Oct 3 2007, 06:31 PM) View Post
and adult learners in particular often find it difficult to have an objective idea of their playing level, unless they've been doing exams.

True - it's difficult when someone says "how good are you" and the best answer is "erm..."

People either assume "well, he/she is an adult and thus must be good", or "he/she doesn't have a clue and therefore must be a bit rubbish".

QUOTE(neil.clarinet @ Oct 3 2007, 07:09 PM) View Post
That makes it very short sighted to say anyone is 'too good' because they are a good soloist, or will find a group 'too easy' when not used to the situation.

Of course it does. Since when has that stopped anyone from being short-sighted???! rolleyes.gif Similar to the job scenario... there are some graduates who'd be quite happy to work stacking shelves for whatever reason, and it's dumb to assume that graduate = someone who will bail out at a moment's notice. Doesn't stop job interviewers assuming exactly that!!
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#17 Suepea

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 22:11

I've just spent a very enjoyable evening with our offshoot ensemble of the Guildford SRP, which meets weekly at a village hall. This consists of anyone who is interested in playing with others, mostly one to a part. We don't have auditions, but anyone is willing to visit and see if they fit in. In practice we rarely have new people join us although we put a notice about the group on the SRP board each month. Numbers vary from 3 to 8, usually about 5 or 6. One of our members takes responsibility for booking the hall and we currently pay £3 per session attended. Most of us have music that we bring along, and we play a very varied repertoire. Each November some of the group take part in the Woking Music Festival, where we have had some very favourable comments from the adjudicators, and we have extra practices in someone's home for this.

Perhaps you could start up something like this, Aeolienne?
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#18 Aeolienne

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 23:03

Re your suggestions...

I have asked the early music groups and the answer comes back the same every time: We are not looking for new members. End of story.

As for setting up a new group - aaagh, wouldn't know where to begin! (Did I not mention that I have Asperger's syndrome?)

As for summer schools, I've been on few, but it's been a mixed experience. For instance, it was at Norvis that I learned about the dreaded A415/A440 distinction the hard way: I was barred from the orchestra workshop because my instruments were the wrong pitch, and I didn't manage to form a small group with anyone, so couldn't perform in the concert at all. The same happened again at Casa de Mateus the following year (more fool me).
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#19 anacrusis

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 23:22

Commiserations on that, Aeolienne, I can fully appreciate how daunting it would be to try to set something up yourself - Asperger's or not smile.gif . It does sound as if you might need to acquire at least one instrument at the pitch you don't possess - I have an a'=415 Hz treble, but have almost never needed to use it, but you have clearly been unlucky. *I was going to try to get to Norvis as well ph34r.gif * Of the players I've got to know in recent years, I met one through my contacts with the university here, and three, of whom Neil, above is one, online on these fora - not enough to make a regular baroque ensemble, but enough to have some fun making music with; before this last year or two, I relied solely on my husband for musical interaction. So - it is possible to find people, but it can take time.
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#20 andante_in_c

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 05:46

Sorry to hear that, Aeolienne. A lot of recorder courses are only for 440 instruments, so it's worth checking out a few of these. From experience it won't solve your problem of finding people to play with regularly, but it will give you a bit more chance to play one-to-a-part.

Like anacrusis, all the consort playing I have done (apart from courses) is with people met on these Forums. Maybe it is easier to contact someone after you've read a few of their postings and got to know them a bit! I'm not sure if there are any other recorder players in your neck of the woods yet, but hang around for a bit and some may appear. Those of us who do get together from time to time are mostly in the Surrey/Hampshire area, which does seem to be a bit of an arid zone as far as groups are concerned.
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#21 sarah-flute

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 14:04

QUOTE(Aeolienne @ Oct 9 2007, 12:03 AM) View Post
I have asked the early music groups and the answer comes back the same every time: We are not looking for new members. End of story...

I was barred from the orchestra workshop because my instruments were the wrong pitch, and I didn't manage to form a small group with anyone, so couldn't perform in the concert at all. The same happened again at Casa de Mateus the following year (more fool me).

sad.gif sad.gif sad.gif

What a shame that you have been so abruptly rebuffed sad.gif
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#22 Aeolienne

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 17:37

At the last rehearsal of the Exeter Recorder Orchestra, our conductor said: "You're all used to playing to a certain standard, you all play in consorts" - a sweeping assumption if there ever were one. I resisted the temptation to call out "I don't!" - might have a word with her 1-to-1 next time. OTOH I suppose I could take it as a compliment... blink.gif

Off-topic, the conductor's comment reminds me of the one occasion I attended the annual members' meeting of the Centre for Alternative Technology, and one of the talks was by the instigator of the Orkney Zero-Waste Scheme. She made some remark which I can't recall exactly but which assumed that everyone there was really active in some amazing inspirational sustainable ecobuild project-type thing. That made me feel really inadequate because I was living in a rented flat at the time and all I did was recycle my rubbish - hardly the stuff of Grand Designs.
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#23 Swisscello

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 20:06

Although I don't (so far as I know) have Asperger's I have a lot of sympoathy with the difficulties that you have trying to network etc. Even on courses its difficult to (in my experiences for all the reasons described bove) to find a people to play with outside the programmed music. Even if you think you have a group it can be difficult to actually get everyone together after the course.

A different tack, which has worked for me, but may be more difficult outside relatively large cities (my experiences are in Geneva and London) is to try adult education. My interest is baroque music (plenty of recorders there, one to a part). Adult education courses usually meet weekly (actually on Geneva it was fortnightly) don't just sight read (because its supposed to be about education) and in my experience prepare for concerts. Its the tutor's problem, not yours, to sort people out into appropriate ensembles. I've been lucky (though it took a while in Geneva) to find groups specifically working on baroque music. You might have to compromise at the start and say investigate chamber music. If you've convinced yourself that the local adult education definitely has nothing at all it might be worth contacting the county music service and see if you can identify a tutor and persuade the local adult education people to advertise a course.

Good luck
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#24 Aeolienne

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 22:08

QUOTE(Swisscello @ Jan 29 2009, 08:06 PM) View Post
If you've convinced yourself that the local adult education definitely has nothing at all it might be worth contacting the county music service and see if you can identify a tutor and persuade the local adult education people to advertise a course.

This is the list of teaching staff at MusicDevon:
http://www.musicdevon.com/staff.html
From what information is available, none of the tutors strike me as obvious candidates for arranging Baroque chamber music ensembles. Then again, who am I to judge, I'm no teacher myself...
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#25 Penguin

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 11:59

QUOTE(Aeolienne @ Oct 1 2007, 10:49 PM) View Post

When people ask me if I'm musical, and I tell them I play the recorder, that invariably prompts two questions: "Which one do you play?" and "Do you play in a group?". The answer to the first is: descant, treble, tenor and sopranino. The second is less easy to answer, as it all depends on what you mean by a group.

I belong to the Devon Society of Recorder Players. What that means in practice is that I go along to their monthly meetings when I'm free and sightread one part of a piece of music. Three years ago Devon SRP set up a separate "Exeter Recorder Orchestra". It is supposed to be distinct from the main SRP in that its stated aim is to practise (not just sightread) a selection of pieces with a view to performing them. But in the event we have given only three concerts during all this time, pretty poorly attended at that. And we only meet once a month, so on the face of it it doesn't seem that different from Devon SRP. Most of the other members of Devon SRP and/or ERO play in smaller groups, some with other instrumentalists. At the very least this means meeting up in other people's houses, but some of these smaller groups have also given performances. I once spoke to someone who'd played in a group in mediaeval costume who provided background music at Buckland Abbey (a National Trust property on the other side of Dartmoor). Unfortunately groups such as this don't have auditions as such. It's more about playing with friends, or friends of friends. Indeed this person's advice to me was to make myself known, invite people back to my flat to play ensembles and maybe this just might lead to greater things. I objected, saying that my flat was far too small and untidy, and besides I only have a very limited collection of consort music. Another issue is that I hardly know the names of anyone in the SRP and/or recorder orchestra; I've probably been told any number of names but it's dificult to retain the information if I don't see the other person for another month at least. And this is after four years in Exeter. Having Asperger's syndrome (which I do) probably doesn't help either.

There's a lady at the Quaker meeting I attend who's had recorder lessons. When I once suggested that we should play together some time (emphasis on play, not perform) she was totally against the idea, saying that "You're far too good for me - you play in a group?" Eh?! This despite the fact she has never heard me play a note. There are people like that lady among my office colleagues, people who've never bothered to attend my once-in-a-blue-moon concerts and yet who still think I'm really good. Maybe I should take it as a compliment and leave it at that, but I am a tad tempted to grab them by the shoulders and say "If you think I'm so marvellous why have you never come to hear me play?"

Not all my colleagues are like that. My closest colleagues (as in my team mates, not close in any social or emotional sense) know nothing about my life as an amateur musician. Well I can only suppose they know nothing. In all the time I've worked with them (nearly 3 years) I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times they've asked me how my weekend was.


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#26 Penguin

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:28

QUOTE(Penguin @ Feb 26 2009, 11:59 AM) View Post

QUOTE(Aeolienne @ Oct 1 2007, 10:49 PM) View Post

When people ask me if I'm musical, and I tell them I play the recorder, that invariably prompts two questions: "Which one do you play?" and "Do you play in a group?". The answer to the first is: descant, treble, tenor and sopranino. The second is less easy to answer, as it all depends on what you mean by a group.

I belong to the Devon Society of Recorder Players. What that means in practice is that I go along to their monthly meetings when I'm free and sightread one part of a piece of music. Three years ago Devon SRP set up a separate "Exeter Recorder Orchestra". It is supposed to be distinct from the main SRP in that its stated aim is to practise (not just sightread) a selection of pieces with a view to performing them. But in the event we have given only three concerts during all this time, pretty poorly attended at that. And we only meet once a month, so on the face of it it doesn't seem that different from Devon SRP. Most of the other members of Devon SRP and/or ERO play in smaller groups, some with other instrumentalists. At the very least this means meeting up in other people's houses, but some of these smaller groups have also given performances. I once spoke to someone who'd played in a group in mediaeval costume who provided background music at Buckland Abbey (a National Trust property on the other side of Dartmoor). Unfortunately groups such as this don't have auditions as such. It's more about playing with friends, or friends of friends. Indeed this person's advice to me was to make myself known, invite people back to my flat to play ensembles and maybe this just might lead to greater things. I objected, saying that my flat was far too small and untidy, and besides I only have a very limited collection of consort music. Another issue is that I hardly know the names of anyone in the SRP and/or recorder orchestra; I've probably been told any number of names but it's dificult to retain the information if I don't see the other person for another month at least. And this is after four years in Exeter. Having Asperger's syndrome (which I do) probably doesn't help either.

There's a lady at the Quaker meeting I attend who's had recorder lessons. When I once suggested that we should play together some time (emphasis on play, not perform) she was totally against the idea, saying that "You're far too good for me - you play in a group?" Eh?! This despite the fact she has never heard me play a note. There are people like that lady among my office colleagues, people who've never bothered to attend my once-in-a-blue-moon concerts and yet who still think I'm really good. Maybe I should take it as a compliment and leave it at that, but I am a tad tempted to grab them by the shoulders and say "If you think I'm so marvellous why have you never come to hear me play?"

Not all my colleagues are like that. My closest colleagues (as in my team mates, not close in any social or emotional sense) know nothing about my life as an amateur musician. Well I can only suppose they know nothing. In all the time I've worked with them (nearly 3 years) I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times they've asked me how my weekend was.

You seem like just the person to get things going...! It seems many people enjoy charity concerts at village halls / parish halls / school halls etc. There must be enough like-minded musicians in your area who are keen to do concerts, and have a lounge / dining room large enough to practise in. The key here seems to be identifying and connecting with such people, however long it takes. Much can be learned from musicians you admire, by watching how they building a support base. Possibly you would consider doing a teacher's course? Then, in due course, you could hold pupils' concerts. Happy recorder playing! smile.gif





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#27 Aeolienne

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 00:01

QUOTE(Penguin @ Feb 26 2009, 12:28 PM) View Post

You seem like just the person to get things going...!

Even with Asperger's?
QUOTE(Penguin @ Feb 26 2009, 12:28 PM) View Post

It seems many people enjoy charity concerts at village halls / parish halls / school halls etc.

Not that you'd know from the turnout to ERO's concerts.

QUOTE(Penguin @ Feb 26 2009, 12:28 PM) View Post

There must be enough like-minded musicians in your area who are keen to do concerts, and have a lounge / dining room large enough to practise in. The key here seems to be identifying and connecting with such people, however long it takes. Much can be learned from musicians you admire, by watching how they building a support base.

All I have "learned" from other musicians is that they were in the right place at the right time. The only other advice I have received is "unless you're retired and own a car you don't stand a chance of playing in a small group" - I'm not sure if the person who said that to me was joking, but who am I to judge?
QUOTE(Penguin @ Feb 26 2009, 12:28 PM) View Post
Possibly you would consider doing a teacher's course? Then, in due course, you could hold pupils' concerts. Happy recorder playing! smile.gif

What would a teacher's course achieve? (I presume you mean a diploma as opposed to a degree - I'm way too old for a BMus in any case). I already work Monday to Friday 9-17:30 in an office - do I really want to work evenings and weekends as well? Aside from the fact I don't feel I have any ability in teaching.
http://forums.abrsm....showtopic=33169

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#28 anacrusis

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 11:50

QUOTE(Aeolienne @ Mar 1 2009, 12:01 AM) View Post

QUOTE(Penguin @ Feb 26 2009, 12:28 PM) View Post

There must be enough like-minded musicians in your area who are keen to do concerts, and have a lounge / dining room large enough to practise in. The key here seems to be identifying and connecting with such people, however long it takes. Much can be learned from musicians you admire, by watching how they building a support base.

All I have "learned" from other musicians is that they were in the right place at the right time. The only other advice I have received is "unless you're retired and own a car you don't stand a chance of playing in a small group" - I'm not sure if the person who said that to me was joking, but who am I to judge?

It's true, all I have said appears to show that you need to be in the right place at the right time: I don't know your area at all well, but are there any academic music departments anywhere near you? Yes, I have contacts, and I did ask one of them if there was anybody they knew, but the other option for me would have been to put a card on the music department's noticeboard, only I was too shy to do so, in case the young things didn't want to play music with an oldie who might not be as advanced as they were.
The comment about needing to be retired and in possession of a car does ring bells, I'm afraid - going along to music courses seems to favour those who have no other commitments, but also requires a lot of money.

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#29 Aeolienne

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 23:02

QUOTE(anacrusis @ Mar 1 2009, 11:50 AM) View Post

I don't know your area at all well, but are there any academic music departments anywhere near you?

No, not since Exeter University closed its music department a few years ago.

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#30 plonkee

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 13:45

QUOTE
This is the list of teaching staff at MusicDevon:
http://www.musicdevon.com/staff.html
From what information is available, none of the tutors strike me as obvious candidates for arranging Baroque chamber music ensembles. Then again, who am I to judge, I'm no teacher myself...


I have no idea, but they do offer recorder lessons, and it appears that in this game, contacts are everything. Perhaps a recorder teacher in Devon knows at least one person interested in playing something?

QUOTE
The comment about needing to be retired and in possession of a car does ring bells, I'm afraid - going along to music courses seems to favour those who have no other commitments, but also requires a lot of money.


I also think both of these are probably true. I'm spending £500 going to Dartington in the summer to do a course which should involve playing wind chamber music. I've also been put on to Benslow by people here. But those are not at all cheap. I find it difficult to commit to regular ensembles because of work etc, and am in any case currently not really interested in orchestral playing.

I'm sorry that no one has been able to give you anything but sympathy. I think that things actually are as bad as you think, and that it's very difficult to get an *in*, but once you do you're probably away - those that are naturally good at networking often don't appreciate the difficulties involved for other people.

My final suggestion is to enquire in a music shop, although I don't know if there is one in Exeter. It's a pity that Dartington College will be moving to Falmouth in a year or so, otherwise that might have been another source of willing consort players.

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