The path to building confidence

The path to building confidence

Team development in youth orchestras

Any musician who has ever played in an ensemble has experienced both the joys and worries of sharing a stage with others. Our own music making, combined with others playing at the same time, can lead to something wonderful. However, the potential downside is that we may feel restricted in our own musicality, as we have to synchronize our playing with our colleagues.


Working with youth orchestras, i.e. musicians who have already spent a significant amount of practice time on their instruments but who are still relatively new to ensemble playing, made me think about orchestral training and why understanding it might be inspiring for everyone who desires to be part of a strong team.

Mastering difficulties

Every orchestra member must learn to be accountable for playing their parts correctly, which implies a lot of individual practice. In a youth orchestra, sectional rehearsals under the supervision of a professional player help the students master technical issues. The young musicians will also learn to raise awareness in terms of ensemble playing, as they discover the necessity of listening to each other and to being flexible. As orchestra members, the individual players constantly re-assess their roles, sometimes accompanying, sometimes sticking out while playing a solo. They must always keep an eye on the conductor, whose beat may encourage slight changes in tempo and indications regarding balance, phrasing and musical shaping.

Building trust and confidence

Through a good amount of repetition in rehearsals, the young musicians get the opportunity to highlight significant features of the work they are rehearsing. They become more and more aware of the composition’s architecture and they explore musical details under the guidance of the conductor. Each orchestra member develops their personal relationship with the music and their fellow musicians. Due to an increasing knowledge of the score, they learn to trust themselves, to trust their colleagues and to trust the conductor. The musicians will gradually feel more and more confident and they will desire to perform for an audience.

Sharing a unique creation

Every performance is unique and it is hard to describe the magic that unfolds in a concert. The orchestra passionately revitalizes the ingenious imagination of the composer, which makes each concert a highly fulfilling and exhausting experience: The musicians are both highly focused and fully emotionally committed for the entire duration of the program. They have grown into a strong team that is devoted to serving the music with all their hearts. Their devotion transmits to the audience and everyone attending the concert is invited to connect with the music in their own way: allowing space for emotions, dreaming, admiring.

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