A senior myself, I am acutely aware of the importance of music in helping me to stay sharp, to be successful in my full-time job as Vice President of Education and Community Engagement at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and to physically handle the demands of work and family. That is why I am passionate about the BSO Academy, a suite of educational programs enabling older amateur musicians to play side-by-side with the pros. Here is what another Academy member says about her experiences:
“I have improved tremendously in my playing in the 5 years I have attended the Academy. Every year, I take home what I have learned that week and try to incorporate it into my playing. My sound has really changed; my confidence has really changed. This year was incredible for me. It was almost an “out of body” experience. When I heard a friend’s recording of the first rehearsal, I couldn’t believe that it was me playing the Mahler. And having only practiced in a 10×10 room before coming to Baltimore, I never knew that I could play strongly enough to project over the orchestra and to fill up the hall. I took a big chance in asking to play first on the Mahler. The day of the concert, I woke up feeling like I was going to throw up. I was so anxious. But I overcame all of that and played well. The confidence that I gained in going through that week and performing the Mahler was huge. And the validation I received helped that confidence even more. I feel as though I am playing better now than I ever have. And I owe that to the BSO Academy.” BSO Academy Trumpet, 65 years old
The BSO Academy Week is an 8 day immersion in making music with some 110 other amateur musicians and the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. There are no auditions. Participants can choose from 4 tracks – the orchestral track, the chamber music track, the music educator track, and the arts administrator track for anyone wishing to learn how to create an Academy in their community.
Participants come from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. They have such varied backgrounds but all have one thing in common – the love of music. Many haven’t played their instruments in years – others play in community ensembles. Some teach and others are administrators.
I heartily encourage anyone who ever loved to play an instrument – even if it was 50 years ago – to consider how playing again can bring great joy to their lives and a true sense of accomplishment. There is no better way to start than in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestras Academy programs. Check out this Academy video!