Nagging feelings of self-doubt in their musical skills blocked many for a while from doing what they have since come to love—make music in their spare time. Finding supportive ensembles, teachers, and Meetup groups helped many take the plunge. Now, professional orchestras have joined the avocational-musician support team, spurred by the success of the Baltimore Symphony’s programs for non-pros that began in 2010.
When we formed The Kraken Quartet, we had no master plan for where the group would go. Like so many other college chamber groups, we had no five-year goals, no catalogue of repertoire, and certainly no major notoriety. We were just a couple of friends who knew we loved playing music together. Despite this lack of long-term direction, we had one crucial characteristic that tied our group together: the willingness to try anything. So, for the first few years of our existence, The Kraken Quartet gave everything a shot.
“I really want to play like that, but I’m just scared and I don’t know where to start…” These are the words an Eastman student said to me about playing bluegrass recently. Over my past three years at the Eastman School of Music, I have heard a variation of that phrase from classical performance majors countless times. “How do you do that?” “I wish I started playing like that earlier.” “I wish I didn’t have to depend on a score all of the time.”