When you’re an amateur musician, the more opportunities that you can find to play, rehearse, and perform, the better a musician you’ll become. Ensembles offer valuable chances to rehearse and perform with other musicians, and you’ll learn many important lessons during that time. Amateur musicians in Queens, New York are lucky to have access to two great orchestras that can help them grow, learn, and experience what it’s like to perform beautiful music in a larger ensemble setting.
Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra
The Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1964, and since then it’s grown to include musicians from Queens, Nassau, and greater New York Metropolitan areas. The members’ ages span from 11 to an incredible 92 years old, and members hold all sorts of different occupations, including students and retirees.
The orchestra plays three concerts annually at the Forest Hills Jewish Center, and offers more than 400 tickets to each performance. In order to prepare for those performances, weekly rehearsals are held from 7:30 to 10:00 pm on Wednesday evenings. The performances include high quality classical and light classical music.
Many members of the Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra have graduated and gone on to attend professional schools and hold music careers. Adult soloists have used their performance opportunities with the orchestra in order to launch their concert careers.
As a non-professional orchestra, the Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra allows hundreds of people who are learning an instrument or who once played an instrument to continue playing. Playing with the orchestra gives musicians a chance to improve their skills in a supportive environment. Music is carefully chosen so that it challenges musicians without overwhelming them, giving the entire orchestra a sense of accomplishment after mastering the music and performing a concert.
If you would like to join the orchestra, you can fill out a form on their website. The orchestra does not turn anyone away, and it can be a valuable learning experience for amateur musicians.
The Jackson Heights Orchestra
Founded in 2012, the Jackson Heights Orchestra runs under the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. This adult community orchestra was created to showcase local talent and demonstrate the diversity found in Jackson Heights.
Rehearsals begin each fall and are typically held on Tuesdays at the Jackson Heights Methodist Church.
What Amateur Musicians Can Gain from an Orchestra
Playing in an orchestra is an invaluable experience for any amateur musician. Orchestral playing can provide musicians with many valuable lessons and skills, including:
· Playing in a group teaches musicians how to listen to other parts and understand where their particular line fits into a larger body of music.
· Orchestras have very different sounds than students may hear in their school bands and wind symphonies, and musicians learn how to play in tune in that different atmosphere.
· An orchestra gives musicians a chance to learn from a different conductor, exposing musicians to different conducting styles, rehearsal techniques, musical interpretations and more.
· Playing larger, longer pieces in an orchestral setting teaches musicians important lessons about how to count, how to find their entrances, how to work in ensemble, and how to rehearse a larger piece.
Musicians will always learn different skills when playing in different ensembles, but larger orchestras can be very valuable, especially for musicians who have only played in smaller ensembles.
Joining an Orchestra
Between the two orchestras highlighted above, there are opportunities for violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, percussion, oboe, and bassoon students. At Sage Music, we can help you to prepare, join, and excel in an orchestra.
In order to succeed in an orchestra, you will need to be disciplined, have good time management skills, and be ready for the challenge of learning new music that may be quite different from anything you’ve played before. Your Sage Music teacher can help you to develop these skills, and can also answer questions you may have about the new music. Your teacher can also give you some practice methods to help you learn large amounts of music quickly and well, and we’ll always be here to help you work through a particularly challenging section that’s giving you trouble.
If you think that you’re ready to join one of these orchestras, talk with your music teacher. They can help you to get started, give you an idea of what to expect, and help guide you as you become an orchestral musician.