If you've glimpsed the about
section, then you might have noticed that I play the piano and violin.
More recently, I've augmented my collection (pictured below) with the
guitar, but, at the moment, it's not so much me playing it; more
using it to create noise. George is also pictured (right), with his
instrument, a bent straw.
When starting an
instrument, you'll get the obligatory period of absolute noise,
before starting to make tuned noise and finally moving onto
something almost melodic (this final stage is optional if you're
into 20th century classical, and not attainable if you choose
an instrument like the bagpipes). Just survive
the early stages and you'll find playing an instrument incredibly rewarding
relatively competent busker (e.g. Sting) can easily make over £40 (or
£30 plus foreign change).
The length of each stage depends on the instrument, the shortest
arguably being for piano and the longest for violin (just listen to school
orchestras to know what I mean). Once in an ensemble, however,
being able to play the music is only a small and sometimes unnecessary
part of the problem, because you
have unwittingly stumbled into the no-man's-land of orchestra warfare
- the feud between the 'families'.
Most people are familiar
with the families (categories) of instruments in an orchestra, but what
they don't know about is the hate and loathing each family shares for
Since the introduction of a mediator (conductor), the strife
has become political - more like a cold war - and the days of cellists
skewering floundering clarinetists on their cello spikes are, today,
all but gone. Instead, the weapons have become razor-sharp wit and cutting
insults - so most of you will be in big trouble.
Luckily, I have gathered a small list of tactics and strategies
perfect for both the quivering novice and experienced veteran. Also,
for those whose musical career ended with the recorder in primary school,
there's some for non-musicians in the Other section. All you need
to do is choose the appropriate section from the orchestra map below...