Orchestral playing is a very different skill to solo playing. The first time for anyone playing in an orchestra can usually be a little confusing.
Many added techniques like rhythm, tempo variations, sight-reading, watching the conductor and listening to your fellow players become almost more important than playing your own part completely correctly.
Usually the orchestral standard of a young musician is about two levels below their actual playing grade. Once a player becomes more competent in orchestra playing it can be the most fulfilling experience.
For that reason it is very important that we listen regularly to our students at YMC individually at our yearly assessments.
I am always free to listen to anyone anytime if they would like to join one of our YMC orchestras or simply would like some guidance.
Most of our orchestral music is on the website: Practise material
It is much more satisfying and fun to play in an orchestra if you have practised your part!
Introduction to orchestral playing
11:45am with Fiona Nisbett
This is a string ensemble mostly made up of children 6-8 years of age. The standard of playing ranges from children who have just left their first year group lessons on violin, viola and cello to children who have taken their Grade 1.
Preparatory First Orchestra
11:00am with Fiona Nisbett
This is an orchestra for string and wind players mostly made up of children around the ages of 8-11 and the standard of playing ranges from children who have a good working knowledge of 3rd position i.e. Grades 3-4 on the violin or viola and the cellists should be Grade 3 upwards. Wind players should be Grade 3 upwards.
11.00am with Marina Solarek
This is a string orchestra made up of children who are usually about Grade 5 standard on violin and viola and Grade 4 on cello. By this stage students have a good degree of ‘instrumental’ knowledge in all the requirements for those grades. Repertoire ranges from the first original concerto grossi by baroque composers to fun arrangements for strings like Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, Waltzes by Johann Strauss, jazz-inspired music and dances by Bartok. Practise parts available here: https://www.youthmusiccentre.uk/practise-material-2/
10:15am with Marina Solarek
In the Junior Orchestra for string and wind players, we aim to work on more advanced repertoire and therefore grade 6 is expected from violinists and wind players and Grade 5 from violists and cellists. Practise parts are always available from the practise material page https://www.youthmusiccentre.uk/practise-material-2/ and it is of great benefit if the children look at them during the week. Repertoire ranges from Haydn Symphonies to Florence Price’s Juba Dance, Arrangements of Opera and Ballet Music, like Swan Lake or Carmen and Bach Suites.
9:00am with Marina Solarek
The children in this string orchestra usually have achieved Grade 7 – 8 on the violin and Grade 6 on viola or cello. We play some very challenging repertoire including works especially written for us . The Chamber orchestra has the chance to dive into the wonderful world of String Serenades and Symphonies by Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Elgar, Tchaikovsky and some lesser-known composers like Kalinnikov, Karlowicz, Ethel Smyth and Grazyna Bazcewicz.
Advanced wind players are often part of this orchestra as soloists e.g. for baroque concertos like Bach’s Brandenburg or double concertos.
Practise parts available here: https://www.youthmusiccentre.uk/practise-material-2/