Music groups foster competitive environment between students



Students hone their ability to play various instruments in music groups. Group dynamics and healthy competition motivate the musicians to continually improve and challenge themselves.

Peter Finnerty, Staff Writer

From starting the alto saxophone in fifth grade to practicing every day, going to weekly private lessons and participating in two bands, Jake Perdue is one of many who works hard and loves playing their instrument. He brings this dedication to his musical groups, improving his own skills while coming together with others to work on a piece of music.

Depending on the level at which someone is looking to play music, the competitive spirit of a group varies, as does the commitment it requires. However, for the most part, students who choose to play in a group agree it is an enjoyable and helpful experience.

Sophomore Jake Perdue, an alto and tenor saxophonist and pianist, plays in the Concert Band and the Music Collective. For the Music Collective, hopeful participants are required to audition for spots. According to Perdue, the audition was quite enjoyable despite his initial worries.

“I was a bit nervous. I mean, I had been studying a bit for the audition,” Perdue said. “It was a lot of fun, basically like making some of our grooves and playing a certain song.”

Once Perdue got in the band, he did not feel a need to compete with his peers.

“I wouldn’t say competitiveness, but I sort of have a devotion to play my heart out and try to just work hard,” Perdue said.

While Perdue performs with his saxophone, sophomore Justin Chan is a violinist, taking part in districts, a band outside of school, and the Orchestra. He has been playing and performing the violin since fourth grade while gaining experience playing in orchestras.

According to Chan, there is more to auditioning than the audition itself: prior knowledge of the band and help from friends can be essential tools.

“Audition-wise, you have to choose the groups you audition for carefully,” Chan said. “You have to talk to a lot of your friends who have been in these groups and see which ones are going to be the most supportive to audition for.”

Even after the rigorous admissions process, competition among the musicians still exists, such as over the conductor’s favor. However, Chan enjoys the dedication and improvement that comes from practicing, along with the ultimate goal of producing a large and grand piece of music.

“I think in an orchestra everyone’s concentrated on one thing: playing the music. And although there is competition, it’s a very constructive environment,” Chan said. “I think an orchestra is one of the only settings where you have maybe a hundred people at a time that are trying to focus and building one thing that is meant for people to enjoy.”

He also noted that a smaller, yet dedicated, group also allowed for cohesive and accomplished works.

“If you have fewer people, and each person is very responsible for their own part, it blends together to make something really amazing,” Chan said.

Sophomore Sol Heo, a fellow violinist, also plays in the Orchestra.

“I think for a lot of the kids who do school orchestra and chamber, it’s pretty competitive. But for me it’s just kind of a school activity that I do just for fun,” Heo said.

Heo enjoys having the ability to play instruments with other musicians, and the interactive experience also allows for bonding between players.

“I like playing with others because it’s hard to do outside of any orchestras. And especially playing with people I know or people I guess I don’t know, and getting to know them,” Heo said.

Ultimately, for Chan, his favorite part about playing an instrument, no matter where you play or what instrument you use, is the rewarding experience.

“You start off, you pick an instrument, you practice it,” Chan said. “You have a good teacher, and then it’s really just building slowly this skill and you’re starting to share it with other people; that’s really what music is about.”