Dear Alma, I’m fed up with playing youth orchestraDaily Comfort Zone
From our agony aunt’s weekly mailbag:
I am a 13 year old cellist, and I am pretty good. I am playing Haydn C Major. My parents are pretty famous classical musicians and that’s how I know about Slippedisc. Here’s my problem and I hope you can help. I don’t mind playing cello, but it’s not really my jam. I have to practice 30 minutes a day, which is usually a drag, and last year my parents made me join the youth orchestra. It takes basically my whole day because I get home from school and have to do homework, eat dinner then get picked up and I get home super late. I keep telling them I want to quit orchestra because it’s a waste of time and my parts are really dumb anyway. Can you help me? They just let me quit piano.
no to orchestra
Dear No Orchestra,
I am glad that you are reading Slippedisc! It means that you are pretty knowledgeable about classical music, which is cool, and which will probably make you a very interesting person when you are an adult.
Ok, let me see if I got this right; you think playing cello is ok, you don’t have to practice very much, so you can deal with it. You just don’t want to do a ton of it, and it feels like it is eating into the rest of your life too much when you have to play in orchestra, which isn’t very satisfying for you anyway. Your parents recently let you quit piano.
Now let’s look at the other side, from your parents’ perspective. Why do you think they want you to play in orchestra? They must know the parts are pretty easy for you, so that’s not it. Is it because they want you to know the other people in your town who play music? Will the orchestra offer some cool perks like touring or concerto competition in the future? Are they friends with the conductor, and might be embarrassed if you quit (it might make them look bad to have their child dis the local organization, like they are too good for it or something). Maybe there is some skill that they want you to gain that you don’t know about.
I know your reasons, but I don’t know theirs, and maybe it’s a good time for you to write down a list of why you do and don’t want to do it, and ask them to do the same. Then have a little meeting and compare notes. It seems like they are reasonable, because they let you quit piano. And they aren’t pushing you to follow their steps and have a career in cello, because you don’t practice a ton. They just probably want you to have the benefits that playing an instrument offers, and if they can explain those to you, you can come up with a solution together. Maybe there are ways to get those benefits another way. Maybe no orchestra, but a super awesome summer camp? Maybe one half year orchestra and one half year some other cello thing, like chamber music? Or maybe your youth orchestra day can have an extra tasty meal in it or a special dessert after orchestra.
My mom made me play in a youth orchestra that was in the next town over, which took an hour to get to, and she would bring me to the cake place every time after orchestra was done and I would get a huge piece of cake. Basically all I remember about orchestra was cake. It was massive and delicious.
I bet you guys can figure something out. Check back here and let us know in the comments section what happened.