Thank you!

ECCHO-launch-partyWe had a wonderful time at our launch party for ECCHO, the Emerald City Chamber Music Organization, our new in-school chamber music program. The Skyros Quartet performed an exciting concert and introduced the new program, which is operating as a pilot program at Washington Middle School this semester, in preparation for the full launch next fall.

We would like to extend special thanks to David Corry, for hosting the party in his beautiful home, and to Nota Bene Cellars for their generous donation of wine to the event.

Thank you also to our guests at the event for celebrating with us and for your generous financial donations.  And, thank you to all of the other people who have made gifts in support of the ECCHO program.

If you missed the party and would like to support ECCHO, you can donate online or mail a check to: PO Box 27164, Seattle, WA 98165. Thank you!

Calling All Chamber Music Madness Alumnae!

Hello to the hundreds of young people who have participated in the program over the past 15 years.  What are you up to now?  We’d love to hear news and information about your current activities, how you keep music in your lives, and what participating in Chamber Music Madness has meant to you. Your story may stimulate another young student to keep playing their instrument and join the world of chamber music.

What can I play when I’m older and finish school?

You can play in the college orchestra, join a community orchestra (and Seattle has many of these), and you can find friends to play chamber music with especially if you already have had a taste of playing the great repertoire that is available. What a fun way to spend an evening after work – pick a piece of music and go for it. It doesn’t have to sound perfect. The fun is in exploring the music and figuring out what the composer wants to say with it. Combine that with a little dinner or dessert and you’ll have a great time.

Why should I join Chamber Music Madness if I already take lessons?

Mozart, Shostakovitch, Beethoven, etc. all wrote incredible music for string quartets. With a quartet, there are 4 players:  two violins, one viola and one cello.  When you play this music you get to express yourself in so many ways – in the harmonies, in the rhythms, and in the special times when your part is the vital element in creating the right sound and phrasing.  What is the best sound and phrasing?  Well, that’s for you to discuss and work out with your group and your coach. There is no conductor!  Ensemble playing is social and fun.  No matter which part you have in the music, your voice is important and you have the opportunity to share your ideas.  And when it all comes together – it’s sublime!

The Value of Practicing the Violin, Viola or Cello with a Small Group

Do you think you are always in tune? Maybe it seems that way practicing alone, but when you harmonize with a small group of other players you suddenly realize how important it is to LISTEN! Do you sometimes relax and skate over difficult parts in the music because you are in the middle of your section in your orchestra? In chamber music there is no one to cover for you – each player has his/her own part. Our players find their confidence improving when they play chamber music – and their private teachers hear the difference!

I love playing the violin. Should I think about also playing the viola?

Sure!  Taking up the viola if you are a violin player, is not so hard. You’ll need to learn to read the viola clef.  The viola clef places middle C on the middle line of staff. On the viola your bottom string is a C string and your top string is the A string, so it plays a fifth lower. The viola has a rich, deep sound because it is larger and has a bigger sound box for these lower strings.  By the way, there is always a demand for viola players in chamber music!

I love playing the violin. Could I also play the piano?

Sure!  Many musicians play more than one instrument.  If you play violin, you already know treble clef and on the piano you play that with the right hand.  But, you’ll also need to learn to read the bass clef so you can play that with your left hand.  It’s pretty fun to try to coordinate both hands – and more challenging than you think, but well worth it.  There is a lot of great music for piano and strings. 

Chamber Music Madness Summer Festival 2015 – TUNED-IN!

Join the madness! Play chamber music this summer. You and your friends can sign up for this full week of chamber music with professional coaches. TUNED-IN! will be held on the campus of Seattle University July 20-25th, 2015. You’ll be challenged by the coaches as you explore exciting chamber music, and find that you will deepen your harmony, rhythm and sight-reading skills along the way. Festival Director, Dr. Quinton Morris, will guide you and the coaches through this exceptional week of music-making. Among the highlights you can expect – Master Classes by Seattle Chamber Music musicians and theater arts enrichment with games and stage fun. You’ll work hard, laugh and finish the week with a performance for family and friends in Pigott Auditorium. This week is likely to be the most exciting part of your summer vacation and a memory you will cherish!