Are you ready to perform with the orchestra?

Jian is my very talented violin student. At the age of 10 he possesses a beautiful sound and a very good violin technique. What amazes me is the easy with which he learns and practices. 

Jian was chosen to perform with the school orchestra the Rieding violin concerto in D major, op.36. He is excited but at the same time anxious how he will do. Together we worked for several through the whole concerto. With the orchestra performance in mind we went through several stages to come to that moment when Jian can say ‘I am ready’. 

Here is a breakdown of the stages:

  1. Master intonation, rhythm, right arm technique with emphasis on difficult left and right arm issues.
  2. Develop and understand the musical aspect
  3. Practice with the Let’s Play Concertos app. Hearing for the first time the accompaniment together with the use of the metronome was a deciding moment for Jian. Technical issues that were still not good were perfected. The metronome played an important part as keeping the same tempo throughout a movement was quite challenging.
  4. Rehearsal with the piano. Playing for the first time a music piece with someone else is always a rewarding experience. Jian faced a bit of stage fright for the first time. He was anxious what the piano teacher thought of his playing, how many mistakes he will make, what happens if he does. I told him, ‘the piano player will help you, be there for you whatever happens, catch up if you make a mistake. The piano player is your support as well as a good advisor’. The pianist talked to Jian about the music, interpretation and what he needs to keep in mind when playing with other musicians. 
  5. Jian’s biggest question was then, ‘how will I play with the orchestra?’ Is it the same as with the piano?’ ‘Not exactly’, I replied. Behind you now, you have 15 musicians sitting, ready to play with you. They support you but in a different way then the piano. While the piano player was there for you to help you in all situations, the orchestra cannot do that. You have to be more engaged, listen and follow the orchestra. The conductor will help you as much as he can, but more responsibility lies with you. You have already practiced with the orchestra in the Let’s Play Concertos app. The piano player has given you the feeling and experience of playing with another musician. Now you are ready to combine the two and play with a real live orchestra!

The concert was a great success. Jian pulled if off masterly and received loud ovations! 

What is the secret of his successful performance? We just followed the right steps in the correct order. I believe all 5 steps were cornerstones in the preparation for this concert. It shows the importance of first learning the technical and musical aspects of a music piece, practice with a music app, followed by rehearsing with the piano. Implementing these steps success was guaranteed.

How do you prepare for a school concert? Can you follow the steps Jian took to master the concerto and play with the orchestra?




Founder of Let's Play Concertos, violin performer and teacher