Saturday, 2 October 2010

Similarity between orchestra and basketball team

Last Tuesday I was playing basketball and then went quickly to my weekly university orchestra rehearsal.  As much as the two different crowds can be, there are some striking similarity between these two activities.

On an individual level, each player on a basketball team or in an orchestra must maintain individual technical proficiency.  The musician practices his/her instrument by spending hours on scales, etudes, and concert pieces to build better facility and musicianship.  The athlete spends hours on drills, to improve shooting,dribbling, defending, endurance.  Both require tremendous discipline and dedication.  On a side note, both also suffer from performance anxiety (like performing at Carnegie Hall or taking that fateful foul shot when you have 5 seconds left in the game)

There is also similarity in the team dynamics.  In an orchestra, each musician subjugates his/her individual interpretation of the piece and tries to blend with the whole group.  Each musician is also given different parts thus different roles.  It can be the solo melody, simmering background accompaniment, or a grand tutti.  The violinist must pass off the beautiful theme to the woodwinds and play pianissimo trills so that the entire orchestra can make music together.  The basketball player need to pass the ball selflessly and sacrifice your own personal glory for team victory.

On a last note, there is the coach/conductor.  Their job is to make sure mend personalities (musicians can have sometimes bigger egos than basketball players) and dictate the team strategy / musical interpretation.

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