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Orchestra music library looks to increase variety

Despite limited budget, department purchases music

Miriam+Edgar+conducts+fifth+hour+orchestra+class.+
Miriam Edgar conducts fifth hour orchestra class.

Miriam Edgar conducts fifth hour orchestra class.

Isaac Wahl

Isaac Wahl

Miriam Edgar conducts fifth hour orchestra class.

Nietzsche Deuel

Wanting to be a better musician, senior chamber orchestra violist Katie Steiner said she believes the lack of fresh music holds her back.

“New music is an even better experience for us to expand our regions,” Steiner said. “When you play the same things over and over it’s not getting you anywhere. It’s not teaching you anything.”

Orchestra teacher Miriam Edgar said she bought the selected pieces to help reach a new, younger audience.

“I ordered ‘Moana’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ just because we’ll be doing Tour of Schools this spring, which is where we go and play for elementary students. I know my daughter is four and she loves ‘Moana’ and the kids here love ‘Moana,’” Edgar said.

Edgar said buying music can be expensive because of the size of the orchestra.

“If I could buy all the music I wanted that would be amazing, but just one set of a piece can be anywhere from $50 to $100,” Edgar said. “On top of that, our orchestra is not just a 16 stand orchestra, so we have to buy more than one set. That means it’s like $100 to $200 per set of music.”

According to junior chamber orchestra cellist Cyrus Abrahamson, playing the same music does not help him learn.

“I think (having new music) would really improve the quality of our players because right now we are playing the same songs which isn’t learning, it’s just memorizing the same things over and over again,” Abrahamson said.  

Edgar said the fast pace that her students learn at is part of the reason why the current budget makes purchasing new music difficult.

“Part of the reason is because we are getting bigger and moving at a faster pace,” Edgar said. “When I first started working here we had about 35 students in the orchestra, and the level they were playing at then is where the seventh and eighth graders were at two years ago.”

Edgar said the budget is split between the different needs of orchestra and band.

“We have different parts to the budget. One of them is classroom supplies and another is instruments repairs. Because we are instrumental, we share a budget with the band,” Edgar said. “Luckily since we are a really close department, if we have a huge repair, we always communicate with each other.”

Abrahamson said he thinks having a bigger budget is important in order to improve orchestra.

“I think we should expand the budget because we are running out of instruments that are of good quality and the music is an issue too,” Abrahamson said.

According to Steiner, the orchestra budget needs to be revised as there are many aspects that are eating away at their money.

“Including the new music, we also have a lot of instruments that need repairing. There just isn’t enough for everyone, and we are a vastly growing orchestra,” Steiner said. “In the next couple of years, I think the orchestra is going to double— we need more money to fit this demand.”

 

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Orchestra music library looks to increase variety