Monday, 30 November -0001

Enjoying Chamber Music: Top Five tips

Written by The Musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS)
1) Be curious: you can learn a bit about the background of the music that you will be listening to, as well as the composer's story, in the programme which will be available at the concert. Understanding those interesting personal details can help you to use your imagination and make a deeper connection to the music. For example, when you hear the lush, romantic cello solo in the third movement of Schumann's Piano Quartet, it may be interesting to know that Schumann wrote much of his music out of love for his wife, Clara, an accomplished pianist.

2) Be interested: get to know the musicians who will be on stage as people as well as artists - they are a fascinating bunch! Their biographies will also be included in the concert programme. Many of them have blogs where you can read their musings on living their lives in music (most accomplished musicians travel a great deal and love to share their experiences). If you like their playing, it's always fun to follow their careers, listen to their recordings, and hear them in concert when they are in your city.

3) Become part of a community: make an evening out of it! Come as you are or get dressed up, bring a friend, meet before or after the concert to discuss your experiences. Find out if the organisation presenting the concert offers any pre-concert talks or post-concert receptions where you can participate and feel a sense of community amongst concert-goers. If you go on your own, get to know your neighbours and enjoy the friendly camaraderie of a chamber music audience – they are usually knowledgeable, interested, lovely people who are happy to share their enthusiasm for the music. Tap into this extraordinary and wonderful community based on a love of music, make new friends and expand your life!

4) Be present: appreciate the experience of two full hours of focused, uninterrupted time in a musical oasis, where you can enjoy the pure sounds of some of the most beautiful music, written by composers whose work represents the pinnacle of what humans can achieve.

5) Be observant: tune into the special interactions, signals and communication styles that pass between the musicians during their performance, especially visible and apparent in the intimate world of chamber music. Musicians constantly employ a variety of gestures, cues, eye contact, bow strokes, etc.- while it can seem like magic that the musicians play together so effortlessly and with such synchronisation, it is exciting to look a bit closer and understand how their constant connections with each other can impact the musical performance.

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