SHAR is excited to announce a new partnership with Associated Chamber Music Players, encouraging everyone to experience the joys of playing chamber music while enjoying special benefits from SHAR. The following blog describes one violinist’s experience with chamber music, his journey away from his violin, and back again.
Do You Miss Playing Chamber Music? Associated Chamber Music Players Can Help You Bring the Joy of Music-making Back into Your Life
When I first started playing the violin in fourth grade I took to it like a fish to water. I started private lessons almost from the beginning and was a very serious violinist all through high school. Every night, after finishing my homework, I practiced my scales, arpeggios, etudes and repertoire. Not only did my parents demand it, they believed that this was simply part of a proper upbringing. Fortunately for me, I loved it – I loved orchestra, I loved performing in public, I loved playing themes from TV shows and commercials, and I loved playing quartets with my friends. But when I went to college, I put my violin aside. After graduation, I married my high school orchestra sweetheart (the principal violist!), and with non-music degree in hand I entered the work world and raised a family.
Some People Golf . . .
But I didn’t quite settle down. As time marched on, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing in my life. And, as something of a square peg (I do play the violin, after all), pursuits such as golf just held no interest for me. I liked making music, not just listening to it. I liked the challenge and discipline of learning a difficult piece. Most of all, I liked playing music with friends, and I wasn’t doing any of those things. The fact is, I missed my old fiddle.
Many years into adulthood, I was fortunate to rediscover the violin, and it has made all the difference in my life. I started taking lessons again, played in orchestras, in quartets and other small string ensembles whenever I got the chance. It took almost ten years to find players that were willing and able to play quartets regularly. My quartet has been together now for over 25 years. We’re not getting any younger, but we’re getting better all the time! Playing and performing with the same group of friends (including my violist wife!) has been the most enriching and rewarding experience I can imagine.
And Still No Golf . . .
Retirement is not far off for anyone in my ensemble (in fact, one of us has recently retired). I still love my day job, but I must admit that I am looking forward to the day when I can clear my calendar so that I can play more music with my musical cohorts. For me, there is simply nothing more joyful than making music together.
Associated Chamber Music Players
I was lucky to be able to find a group of musical partners because I live in a university town that has lots of musicians. But too often, passionate and enthusiastic players put aside their beloved instruments because of circumstances or life situations. Sadly, most never go back to the joys of playing with others because they fear that there are simply too many hurdles, often because of the difficulties, real or perceived, in locating other musicians in their area or at their level. Fortunately, Associated Chamber Music Players (ACMP) has been helping connect musicians for over 70 years. The ACMP mission is simple but powerful: The mission of ACMP Associated Chamber Music Players is to stimulate and expand the playing of chamber music for pleasure. From making it easy for musicians to find other musicians, to encouraging and organizing workshops for ensembles, to providing an extensive online database of music, coaches and other resources, to keeping musicians informed about all the latest news and updates in the music community, ACMP is the ultimate resource for musicians who love to play chamber music and want to play more chamber music.
Here at SHAR we’re all about that, and we’re happy to announce SHAR’s partnership with ACMP, helping provide an array of benefits and SHAR discounts for ACMP members. Click here to learn about the history of ACMP, and how to become a member and all the benefits that come with membership.
ACMP Grant Programs – Setting a Generous Example for a Dynamic Community
The greatest benefit of playing chamber music is interacting with others toward a common goal. It is about shared vision, which requires both playing and listening. The give and take of working together in the pursuit of a beautiful performance naturally opens up minds, often leading to a strong desire to share the story with others. ACMP has made chamber music possible for thousands of passionate musicians through its generous grants programs via the ACMP Foundation. Since 1993, the ACMP Foundation has awarded over $4 million to help seed chamber ensembles, support chamber music workshops, provide home coaches, livestream master classes, fund concerts, sponsorships and community music programs. Connecting members of the chamber music community is a major priority for ACMP, so that musicians everywhere can share their inspiring stories and events with other members. ACMP even provides micro grants to member ensembles, through their latest Just Play initiative, providing funds for members to present performances in their own communities.