For me, playing a musical instrument has always been a privilege. I never forget how valuable my instruments are to me. Each instrument, with its own characteristics, opens a unique manner of expression for me. Whether it’s by playing a somber tone of the viola, taking mercurial flight with the flute, or strutting virtuosically on the violin, I find a oneness with each of these instruments. Like an actor does in the theater, I play a role in each piece of music that I perform, with each of my instruments as a unique, personal voice.
Because I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play music (on many instruments!) for most of my life, I see the value of music in my world. Music has taught me discipline, has brought me around the world, and has shaped numerous personal and professional relationships. Music is a bonding agent that connects many aspects of my life.
With music so ingrained in me, it only makes sense for me to be an advocate of music education and exposure for all. But, “how does one bring music into one’s life”, you might ask? First, finding the right instrument (violin? viola? cello? flute?) and the right teacher (chemistry is important) are important steps towards unleashing your musical expression. Each instrument is different and each teacher will teach a given instrument differently from the next teacher. After some hard work on a chosen instrument, it’s time to put that hard work to use, in an ensemble like a string quartet or orchestra – just to name a few. Joining an ensemble is a great next step in your musical journey, and can lead to new friendships and to musical satisfaction. Playing in the right performing ensemble can be a fulfilling experience for a musician – amateur or professional – regardless of age!
Having performed professionally and in volunteer ensembles, I have seen a wide range of abilities and experience levels; all are great and all are important. I am often asked about the ensembles around town, and what their levels and personalities are, and usually, I can hook them up with a great new gig (for my pro colleagues) or with a new volunteer group (for my amateur friends). Sometimes, I see the pros and amateurs playing together, which is always a fun dynamic!
Playing a musical instrument can be one of life’s most rewarding endeavors. Whether you are a child of 4 years, a busy professional, or a retiree, music can bring joy, discipline, and a new perspective to your life.
Most large and regional cities have a professional and amateur music scene; check for local meet-ups or with the local symphony or music school for connections to teachers, fellow musicians, performance opportunities. Musicians already have a commonality with each other, and are, often, open to meeting new people and creating great friendships.
For advice on how to get started on a musical instrument, or on how to get involved with your local music-making organizations, please contact me. Thanks, Michael