My Orchestra Dilemma

Sometimes I feels like I’m playing piano in an orchestra. But there is no conductor. I’m playing my piece as I know it, but also by ear, listening to all the other musicians and their instruments making sure I’m in time with them.

However, some of the other musicians are not playing by ear. They’re playing to their own beat. And it’s hard to know how to blend in my part so it sounds good with everything. Worse, the major instruments are playing way too fast, and it’s not something my hands can catch up to. Even worse, the tune will sometimes drastically shift to another part of the piece. Sometimes I have to skip notes to catch up to the melody or stop completely to catch my breath. Sometimes I’ll play to the slower instruments but that’s hard because sometimes their sounds just get drowned out.

I like to play my melody to a slower beat, with purposeful notes and enough pauses in between for drama. And I like to get to know my notes. I like to put everything I am in every measure. I like actually finishing each part before moving on to the next. Otherwise, it’s all noise to me.

Plus, a little orchestration would be nice. Leaving people to find their own beat works in some scenarios. But in almost all cases a little bit of real planning, giving everyone a beat to play to, and a few cues to move things along is really, really important in making sure everyone does what an orchestra ought to do: Make music for the ears.


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