UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS at WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY in ST. LOUIS

WashU Musicianhood: Small Group, Big Music

As you may already know, music has been an incredibly large aspect of my semester this year. Apart from doing orchestra and private lessons, I also participated in one of my favorite musical activities: chamber ensemble.

Chamber is unique in that you are not necessarily a soloist … but you have a completely separate part from the rest of the group. In that way, chamber ensemble kind of floats in between the pressures of performing by oneself and the teamwork required for the collaboration of an orchestra. This is what I have personally found most rewarding about ensemble performance. Despite only having around 3-5 players in one ensemble, there is just as much — if not even more — cooperation required than playing in a group of 50. I was reminded of this through our coach (as every ensemble receives one of the music professors as a mentor throughout the semester), from whom I learned an incredible deal about music, performance, and, of course, playing with other musicians.

This year, I was placed in a piano trio (one violin, one cello, one piano), which was particularly exciting in that I’ve only played in a piano-included ensemble once in my musical career. Our final performance was held in Graham Chapel (which I consider one of the best-looking buildings on campus, both inside and out), and I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding musical experience. It’s amazing the things you can create with the right team, the right teamwork, and the right teacher.

If you’re ever looking for a performance opportunity, but not a fan of giant groups and yet a bit wary of being completely alone, I strongly urge you to check out WashU’s chamber ensemble. You won’t regret it.

The stage we performed on is in front of a giant stained-glass window … and yes, it’s even more stunning in person!