I sometimes hear that students who are participating solely in private instrumental lessons will become bored and disinterested. Admittedly, playing music all by yourself can occasionally become lonely, and, let’s face it – boring. I encourage all of my students to become involved in some ensemble music-making, whether it’s in school, in an Area Orchestra, a youth orchestra program, or a little chamber music! Some excellent local youth orchestra programs I recommend are the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, Youth Orchestras of Prince William, or The Youth Orchestras of Fairfax.
Ensembles give students a chance to improve all aspects of their playing, including rhythm, intonation, and sight-reading. It’s a great way for students to meet peers with similar interests and enjoy a whole new aspect of learning an instrument. Music isn’t just about playing in one’s own practice bubble – it’s about listening, communicating, and interacting with others via your instrument.