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Brevities of Summer Orchestras.

I. Music Used.—The music used in our summer orchestras is not always the best. Among many of the summer hotels the music is of an entirely light element. Little benefit can be received where the daily programs are thus made up. The best hotels require both classics and light music. Trios and solos are always demanded. Under a good leader, one can improve greatly in ensemble work if a good grade of music is used. The programs in first-class hotels are always well selected. The house furnishes the music.

Mr. Kuntz, at Poland Springs, devotes one hour a day to classics and one hour every evening to light music. He permits no noise in the rooms when the classics are going on.

At the Grand Union Hotel, Saratoga, when the guests are noisy, the leader calls out: “Hush! “

II. Music Needed.—Overtures, two-steps, waltzes, new operas, songs for orchestras and a few solos and trios. Music is soon out of date and can be played at the same hotel but one season.

The orchestra member leads a feverish life. He has very little time for real practice.

III. Personnel.—the associates of an orchestra member are not always earnest students. They are quite often decided amateurs who are only playing to enable them to have a summer outing. Players who are satisfied with this kind of work the year round, are not good associates for earnest students. Girls become frivolous; boys fall into evil habits.

Oftentimes, conservatory students are away from home and will give their services in orchestras for their home and board. This hurts good players of experience. Theatre orchestra men, if in cities, are most frequently good players.

IV. Pay.—Hotel orchestra players, if paid little, are usually amateurs. In first-class hotels, orchestras are always well paid.

The Grand Union Hotel, at Saratoga, pays $10,000 every summer for its orchestra.

Thirty years ago, salaries were $30 a week to members of orchestras. Salaries are now less because symphony orchestra men have brought down prices. They now work for continental wages.

Women orchestra players will work cheaply. They bring down the rates for such work. The average salary for orchestra players is now from $10 to $15 a week.

Students save little by playing during the summer. New clothes must be had. Transportation expenses are often heavy. New music costs much and it must be up-to-date. One can easily pay $40 out of $90 for the summer library.

V. Professional Ethics.—Professionals should play with professionals and amateurs with amateurs. The leader must be authoritative and have tact. There is always friction if the leader is too conceited or too sarcastic.

One seldom finds good breeding among all orchestra players.

VI. Style of Playing.—Serious students know little about the demands of orchestra work. City teachers are too busy with the necessary legitimate repertoire of violin; they cannot take time for what they call “trash.” Pupils should go to a good theatre orchestra man to learn demands of orchestral bowing and rules of orchestral work. Good soloists always play too legato for such work. Orchestra music is played with more staccato effect. Much time should be devoted to orchestral training.—I. W.

 

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