Magazine article Sunset

Oboe to Gamelan ... Want to Join a Music Group?

Magazine article Sunset

Oboe to Gamelan ... Want to Join a Music Group?

Article excerpt

Those were the days: when you would lug your trumpet to school, practicing a passage of The New World Symphony in your head. It might be fun to do that again. Or maybe you've never played music with a group before. Either way, there are instrumental ensembles for amateurs throughout the Bay Area. These range in proficiency from rank beginner to advanced. Most practice once or twice a week and cost nothing to join.

The best way to find out about these groups is through community newspapers, which often publish information on upcoming auditions, rehearsals, and concerts. You can also call colleges, music schools or stores, professional music associations, or bookstores. If you need to rent an instrument, expect to pay between $15 and $70 a month, depending on the type.

A good chance to learn with little or no pressure

Only in this setting would you hear a solo pianist preface his performance with, "Here's Beethoven's Sonatina in F, I hope by memory. And if not, I'm going to

switch to 'Fitr Elise.'"

While public performance is an incentive to practice your instrument and improve, a supportive, low-pressure atmosphere often exists among amateur players. In fact, many musical groups-like the 400strong Contra Costa Performing Arts Society in Walnut Creek-exist simply to educate people who love music, regardless of their abilities. Then there are bands like the Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band in San Mateo County, better known for its wild costumes and motley assortment of instruments than for its musicality

Most music groups open to the public do not audition their players, although some-like the Peninsula Symphonic Band in Palo Alto may hold competitions for principal positions. …

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