Things I’m learning from…

… the retired principal cellist della Fondazione Arena di Verona. (even though he has never formally “taught” me.)

I’m currently playing in a pit orchestra for a couple of operas. I’m very lucky to be seated by a former principal cellist of the Verona orchestra (whom I refer to as Maestro). Although there is, of course, a conductor— I really feel like my stand partner is the one that is leading the orchestra. 

Here are a couple of things I’m learning: 

  • hold notes for their full value, and cut off at the correct spot. (lol)
  • play the written dynamic. (lol)
  • as a player— you have influence over the whole orchestra (usually). If you sense that other people are rushing then you can play in a way that compels them to return to the correct tempo. 
  • Confidence from one player influences the other players (especially the ones with less experience.) 
    • It is kind of insane how much you can sense the emotions of other players while playing. When other players are lost, Maestro is more firm with his part— showing where the downbeat is etc. 
      • This is huge because a lot of times in a student orchestra, if one section comes in wrong that flusters everyone else and then can eventually end in a train wreck. But, Maestro is not flustered by it. 
  • The most effective way to convince your colleagues to play musically is to show it within your own playing.