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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

All Music Great and Small

Over the last year or two I have been working to play music in smaller groups. I still plan to stay in the large Sacramento Concert Band, but from recorder playing I realized I enjoy playing with smaller groups. Even Norman Rockwell knew the joy of playing in a small ensemble.

I've gotten firmly into a trio with two flute players, and next week will start rehearsing with a recorder trio.

It takes some effort to get small groups started and keep them going. But, once people agree to play together, it's only a matter of figuring out whose house to meet at this week. There's a lot more that goes into organizing a larger group, dealing with a practice venue, directors, reams of music and all sorts of equipment and expenses. It's hard to do without sponsorship of a city, park or school district. Compare that to trolling the internet for some music, emailing a couple of people and saying, “Let's go to my place this time”.

There's still a lot to be said for the large group. I like the dependable schedule, we rehearse on Monday nights whether or not everyone can make it. The downside comes in performance – finding a time when 50 people can make themselves available, and trucking percussion equipment and 50 chairs and stands. I takes 3 people a couple of hours to get this all done. In a trio, each of us shows up with

our instruments, a stand, and a folder full of music. If we choose to play standing, we don't even need chairs.

Playing in a small group is a different experience, you can hear your “voice”. In a large group, since I am not a soloist, if I can hear myself as a unique voice, I know I'm doing something wrong. In a small group it's about figuring out what my voice should say, and how to say it.

Although there's a place for big, I have to say “Small is Beautiful”.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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