10 Excellent Reasons to Play in an Ensemble
Age just doesn’t matter. When your guitar-playing childhood friend convinces you to start jamming together, you get excited to begin drumming again, and even take lessons with CCM instructor Mike Connors. Remembering those jam sessions in your old basement conjures up fun times as a kid making music. And, you want to do it again!
You’ve persuaded a singer (incredible as it might sound – your 20-something son), and your son’s two friends, a bass player and guitarist, to join your newly formed band—an ensemble that’s having fun while every musician is developing their skills. CCM student Bob Seger (and not from the Silver Bullet Band) did just that, and says, “Playing in an ensemble makes you extremely conscious of timing and the effect it has on others. In other words, you need to be precise with the rhythm, solos, and breaks, since otherwise the entire group will be thrown off.”
It’s time for you or your kids to jump in wholeheartedly and join a CCM ensemble!
The benefits to playing in any type of ensemble—jazz, classical, rock, bluegrass— are numerous, but here are our top 10 reasons.
- You’ll enhance your musical and technical skills. Playing with others helps you work on your listening and focusing skills. You need to make sure your timing and pace is in line with your fellow musicians. Most likely, a bit of peer pressure might just get you to practice more and inevitably will get you more proficient with your instrument.
- They’re counting on you to learn all the music! Yes, that’s a benefit. You’ll be perfecting the songs you already know but also increasing your repertoire. When playing as a group, each musician needs to take the responsibility to learn the music and practice. The goal is to come well-prepared to each practice session, rehearsal, and performance. You might even be introduced to genres new to you.
- You’ll get a pat on the back, a high five, or some sympathy from ensemble members. When you’re doubting your abilities, your team is there to give you words of encouragement. You may mess up or have difficulty conquering a section of a song, but they understand totally and will cheer you on and be ready with suggestions. They’re there to help you when playing challenging pieces as well as sharing in the group’s successes—when the group nails a piece and it sounds fantastic!
- You’ll gain patience. Even adults can learn to be more patient with one another. Giving the time needed for a band mate or fellow chamber musician to get over a difficult spot in a piece is necessary. Rehearsing together takes patience and compassion, especially when playing abilities vary. And just as important, you’ll learn how to become more patient with yourself. Little by little you’ll master that difficult technique needed to play with others that’s been bothering you or you’ll play a piece beautifully along with the entire group. It’s a building process that requires patience.
- It’s a stress buster! Hearing, learning, and playing music has that effect on us all. It relaxes us when we need to settle down and gives us that boost of energy when we need to get moving. It provides a creative outlet outside of our stressful work or school days. It provides satisfaction when we attain our common goal—the group has mastered a piece. It produces that feel-good moment that brings our blood pressure down.
- You’re reinforcing what you’ve already learned. You’ll see exactly why you learned that particular musical skill or technique. When playing with your ensemble and applying particular expressive techniques, tones, or rhythms, it all makes sense now.
- It’s a self-esteem booster. Playing with others is a pep talk for musicians. It gives us confidence that will translate well into any classroom or corporate board room.
- Receive applicable and valuable feedback from a professional musician. Not only will you learn from your peers but you’ll get expert and helpful advice from an instructor.
- It gets your creative juices going. Whether you’re improvising or figuring out how a song can be played better as a group, your imagination will be activated. Playing music in a group generates innovation and inspiration!
- You’ll have fun! Be social, play with friends and meet new people. Enjoy tackling new pieces together and choosing new songs to play. Maybe your group will get so good, you’ll perform for others and receive a grand applause.
So why wait, join an ensemble today!
Let’s get started and choose which one suits you or your kids:
- West Side Strings Program for kids and teens—receive individual instruction and a group lesson each week. Students progress through the program with their peers, participating first in groups, and later in ensembles.
- Rock Lab for Teens or Adults—we’ll get your band going so you’ll be jamming on the cool songs!
- Guitar Ensemble for Kids and Teens—Through stimulating group instruction, repertoire, and guitar exercises, young guitarists learn how to work together as a group while exploring music from various cultures, eras, and styles. Students will learn the importance of self-discipline, goal setting, and camaraderie.
- Jazz Combos—learn and play classic and more modern jazz tunes with others and get ready to perform in the community!
- Chamber Music Ensemble—playing in a chamber ensemble is among the most challenging, rewarding, and memorable musical experiences a student will have. Chamber music study develops leadership and interpersonal skills, encourages critical thinking, and challenges students to incorporate soloistic playing in an ensemble setting. For all students, chamber music opens up new possibilities for advancement, enjoyment, and the opportunity to play with friends.
Do you need some guidance about choosing the ensemble for you? Call us at (978) 369-0010 so we can help you!