The origin and definition of words can change over time and have differing meanings. The word orchestra is an example of this. Orchestra as I typically use the word refers to a group of musicians playing together. Below is Merriam-Webster's definition of the word and a bit of its history.
Origin and Etymology:
Latin, from Greek orchēstra, , from orcheisthai to dance; perhaps akin to Sanskrit ṛghāyati he trembles, he rages.
First Known Use: 1606
1a : the circular space used by the chorus in front of the proscenium in an ancient Greek theater
b : a corresponding semicircular space in a Roman theater used for seating important persons
2a : the space in front of the stage in a modern theater that is used by an orchestra
b : the forward section of seats on the main floor of a theaterc : the main floor of a theater
3 : a group of musicians including especially string players organized to perform ensemble music — compare band.
History of Orchestra
"In ancient Greek plays the chorus danced and sang in a space in front of the stage. The Greek name for this space was orchēstra, which came from the verb orcheisthai, “to dance.” The English word orchestra came from the Greek word for the space in front of a stage. At first the English word was used to refer to such a space but is now used to mean “the front part of the main floor.” In today's theaters a group of musicians often sits in the space in front of the stage. Such a group, too, came to be called an orchestra."
"The power of art is that it can connect us to one another, and to larger truths about what it means to be alive and what it means to be human" -Daniel Levitin.
Music is powerful. Mastering a subject so powerful, takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
I am asked by students and parents, 'how much should I practice?'. The answer to that question will vary. How much you practice will depend on how important 'mastery' is to you. It will include trade-offs in your day to day life. Balance is important. Efficiency in your practice is also important. Scientifically speaking, it takes the human brain 10,000 hours of practice to master a subject, any subject.
"10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert -- in anything... Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over ten years....It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery." -Daniel J. Levitin from Your Brain on Music
So, if you want to master music by a certain age, that will determine your practice time. If you start when you are 10 years old and practice the violin for 20 hours a week for 10 years, according to this theory, you will be a master of the violin at age 20.
Mastery seems like a lofty goal. Albert Einstein, who also played the violin had this to say about the subject: "Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person." - Albert Einstein
Mastery of music will not be everyone's goal, and I do not think that it should be. But an understanding and an education in anything is powerful. As Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power".
The more I live on this earth, the more intrigued I am about everything I learn. From music, to science, to the galaxy, to marketing strategies, and business plans...we live in a world where there is always more to learn about. Be curious, stay in tune with your world, put in your best efforts to understand why you are here. Be blown away by how magnificent this world is, because it truly is magnificent isn't it?
Below are some of the ways music specifically affects us. I recommend looking into reading this book "This is Your Brain on Music" By Daniel J. Levitin. Although I do not agree with everything Daniel has to say, he brings up really thought-provoking elements of music and it's affect on our brain.
-When you listen to a piece of music and you get chills, this is due to a release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain.
-Our heartbeats are affected by the tempo and sounds we hear.
-Music has been found to reduce chronic pain.
P.S. Group Class THIS WEEK! :D
Group class open to all ages and levels. Group Class will also include a piano accompanist. Meet her here.
Circle of 5ths
In Western music, a chromatic scale is the pattern of 12 notes spanning one octave. Each note is separated by a half step, or semitone. The Circle of Fifths is a diagram that displays these 12 notes of a full chromatic scale. If the circle of 5ths is memorized and understood fully, it can be a powerful tool to help any musician know the key signatures of relative major and minor scales. In violin lessons, this is something I encourage my students to learn. Whether trained in classical, jazz, folk, or other styles of music, this knowledge would be helpful to any musician.
Happy Theory Thursday! Have fun memorizing you Circle of 5ths.
My lesson plan for the first group class of the semester includes focus on intonation, dynamics, major vs. minor chords, and working individually as well as a part of a group. I hope to see all of my students there. All ages and levels are welcome. To learn more about group class click here.
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