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My First Orchestral Experience

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Klelewon, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Klelewon


    Mar 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    My first Orchestral Experience!

    "Don't wait until 'You' think you are ready" was very good advice!!

    I just had my first experience in a community orchestra. It’s a B-L-A-S-T!!! This was one of my most enjoyable musical experiences EVER!! ;) Last night was my second rehearsal and it was completely cool. All 20th and 21st Century music!

    Well last night we get a new piece of music. So, I’m looking it over…It’s in C and there are a few tempo changes. No problem areas. Nothing really unusual…Then I sees it -- a large section with 7 b’s! Cb! :eek: About a third of the piece is in Cb. But, I wasn’t thrown off, freaked out, scared or anything. It was just…curious. I don’t often encounter this key.

    I’m surprised that I was mostly OK with it. I guess because my teacher and I work both Jazz and Classical studies. And I’ve been practicing and warming up in Ab, Db, and Gb (both major and minor). I just stoked about the entire experience. :hyper: Reading is a good thing!

    I’m glad I didn’t wait until I thought I was ready. Thanks for the great advice Ken!

  2. Jonas J

    Jonas J

    Jul 2, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    Congrats! I'm in the process of learning to play with the bow, with the aim to join a community orchestra. I'm also thinking along the lines of "I'll join in when I feel I'm ready", and I have this 12-18 months perspective on that, but perhaps I should reconsider.

    I've been playing pizz (jazz) for about 5 years now on the DB, and I started to practice arco playing some 6 or 7 months ago (and now I can finally play at least some music with a satisfying sound). How long have you been playing arco before you decided to join the community orchestra?

  3. Klelewon


    Mar 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Hello Jonas,

    I've been playing arco a little over a year. I fully recommend joining an orchestra.

    I can already hear improvement from just two rehearsals. The other bassist suggested that I use more rosin. I did and my tone improved immediately. He's given me several good tips. All the musicians are friendly and helpful. It took me a few months to find an orchestra. So, I say start looking as soon as possible.

    Do you have a good bow?

  4. Jonas J

    Jonas J

    Jul 2, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    There are in fact several orchestras in the area I live in who needs bassists, so I figure I'll contact one of them when I feel I'm ready. As previously mentioned, and from your experience, I might do this earlier than planned, perhaps already after summer.

    I have a cheap Strunal bow, but at least it's made of wood. I will upgrade when I am skilled enough to tell the difference between a good and a lesser bow :) I'm thinking along the lines of All-Hail-Bob's German bows (or perhaps a used one).
  5. I will always remind of the 1st time I played DB in orchestra.
    Years ago, as I was studying at the local Music School in France,
    I went to the orchestra class. Looked at the other bassists, sat on a quite high stool, then we started the rehearsal. We were playing Beethoven Coriolanus Overture, you know it begins with long and strong chords. So the conductor took a strong breath and moved his arm vigorously. Instead of the chord he heard an incredible noise as I was literally running after my bass. The endpin skidded and I think I ran two meters away from the stool.
    That time we laughed so much that we hardly succeeded in playing anything, and any time I play that music again, I can't help laughing.
    The 1st time you never forget !
  6. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    gael, ROTGLMAO!!!! Truly funny story.
  7. Jonas J

    Jonas J

    Jul 2, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    Last monday, I discussed joining an orchestra with my teacher, and he encouraged me to do so right away. So, the next day, I contacted a local orchestra and went to my first rehearsal the same night. What an awesome experience! I fully agree that it's no use waiting too long, as I went to my second rehearsal this tuesday, and I can already notice a good deal of improvement.

    Getting a really good bow really helped me, as I don't have to struggle with the instrument to get a decent tone.
  8. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Congratulations I'm so jealous!
  9. Yes, my teacher practically insisted that I join the community orchestra where he teaches. As soon as I finished my first year of study and we had covered up to the octave G, I joined. My first season we did Beethoven's Fourth, and Mozarts Impressario Overture - all over my head, but a real rush - I was so overwhelmed with being a part of making such beautiful (if frantic) music.

    My teacher feels it developes reading skills, concentration and mental flexibility. For me it was also the necessary carrot, to spur me on and keep me motivated.
  10. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
    wow, congrats with your experience!!!

    in my case i have been playing dbs for 1 year and some months, and next year, in april or may i might enter to the youth orquestra(is that well written?) in the university and i'm sure that i don't feel ready, but i'm burning myself out with my studies, so who knows!!!
    well my teacher is doing a great job also!
    so it is very possible
  11. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    Playing in an orchestra is one of the most amaing feelings I have ever had. My favorite memory was after I had been playing for abut 3 years, we were in the All State Honors orchestra playing Schuburt Unfinished symphony. The FF part on the second page in the first movement was so amazing, it was a feeling that was unparallelled today, except for maybe a coupe weekends ago performing Beethoven 2. I love it, and I just hope I can hack it in college and make some auditions down the road. :bassist:
  12. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Congrats... You will gain so much from this experience....

    I still do not understand why composers bother with the "hard" keys...since the advent of equal-tempered tuning you cannot tell the difference anyway ! Used to be with Just-Intonation that the intervals were not only wider (for instance a major third sounded sharper) but the further you got away from c major the more out of tune sounding things got...

    anyway, stick with it, nothin like playing with 4 or 5 other bassists. Hopefully all in tune.
  13. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    The only time I have really gotten to play my string bass in a large ensemble of sorts was last year with a wind ensemble. I must admit, it wasn't as great as it would have been if there were more string instruments, but it was still fun! We even got to go to Carnegie Hall and close the wind festival... what an experience. I am looking forward to joining my school's orchestra ASAP...
  14. droo


    Nov 1, 2004
    Oxfordshire, UK
    I played DB with an orchestra for the first time last night - (I'd played in one before on the trombone when I was at school).
    It's just a local scratch orchestra, but it's a great experience - and I reckon it's one of the best ways of improving your sight-reading (in at the deep end).

    I've been playing mostly pizz so far so am a bit of a newbie with a bow, but playing with the orch gives me great sawing practice :)
  15. AndreasH


    Apr 8, 2005
    I play in my local orchestra too. I really enjoy it.
  16. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i played in orchestra when i was in middle school (3 years)....then unfortunately i gave it up. i got interested in DB again when i was in college and started listening to some jazz. so i hunted down the bass professor at my college and there turned out to be a class for non music majors sucha s me that allowed me use of an instrument and private lessons once a week.....3 years later i know all about walking through charts but lately (after getting this shen bass and then especially after putting flexocors on it and hearing it arco) thinking i should start playing some classical music again too.

    i'm gonna check into some community orchetras here now, see if the rehearsal schedule could fit around my work schedule.
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    After playing Bass for over 40 years and playing all styles within that time I have concluded that the best way to learn the Double Bass is by playing in an Orchestra. I have dozens of classical type books I bought in the late 60s and early 70s but actually playing the pieces and not just the excerpts puts a whole new meaning to the music.

    Next week we will play STRAVINSKY/Danses Concertantes, HAYDN/Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major, RESPIGHI/Trittico Botticelliano (Three Botticelli Paintings), MENDELSSOHN/The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave), Op. 26, and MASSENET/Scènes Pittoresques (Orchestral Suite No. 4).

    Each piece has a completly different flavor. The Stravnsky jumps into treble clef several times. The Mendelssohn has me on my toes with 16 note runs. The Bass has an occassional simple solo but is totally exposed. One miscounting and the ceiling falls down on my head!

    Each concert we play, the conductor pics things so difficult that if forces me to learn and improve by playing new things each time. Although I do get some classical jobs from time to time now, learning as much as I have in this orchestra is worth paying for.
  18. Humph


    May 23, 2004
    Warren, NJ
    I have been playing for about 1 1/2 years now.
    I joined a community orchestra after about 6 months, because I saw an ad in one of the local adult night school catalogs by the community orchestra. It said strings especially needed! So I called the conductor, told him my situation(just started) he said to come down.
    I got there and they had no bass player, the baritone sax player was playing the bass parts.
    It was the best thing I've done for my bass playing. It motivated me, really improved my reading. I'm now in a Big Band because of a connection in the orchestra.
    I now have a greater apprectation for classical music.
    So many great things happened because of the orchestra. I recommend it to everyone starting out.:)
  19. When I first picked up the Fender bass 3 years ago it never occurred to me that there would someday be an opportunity to play in an orchestra, even though I've had a love of great music since I was a kid. My goal, at 50 years old, was to get in some kind of roots music jam band and just have fun playing simple 3 chord Charlies, as my buddy likes to call them. As a result, I never learned how to read and just a few months ago picked up a decent German upright.
    I recently found out there is a pretty good community orchestra in my town, that welcomes beginners. Now I have a great urge to join up, but the conductor says that I need to be able to use a bow and read music well. I seems like such a tough thing to basically start all over, learning to read, use a bow, and learn my way around a db. Any tips or suggestions on the quickest and easiest way to get to that point, and I know it won't be easy, would be greatly appreciated.
  20. Yeah. Get a teacher.