From 2015-2018, the Corpus Christi Chamber Music Society sponsored a new program to coach pre-college music students in the performance of chamber music. Students were given the opportunity to audition for a position in a chamber music string trio, string quartet, or brass quintet. Each of the three chamber music groups received approximately 10 hours of coaching per semester, tuition-free.
Coaches included Todd Ehle (Professor of Violin & Viola and Director of the CC Chamber Orchestra at Del Mar College), Susan Sturman (Professor of Cello at Del Mar College), and Dr. Mary Thornton (Associate Professor of Trumpet at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi).
The CCCMS Youth Chamber Music Ensemble Program provided a unique opportunity for local, accomplished student musicians to learn to work together in small groups or ensembles at a relatively advanced level. Acceptance into the program required a serious commitment.
Chamber music, by definition, is performed without the help or guidance from a director or conductor–this alone is a new experience for most area music students. Furthermore, chamber music coaching is not the same as receiving music “lessons.” Coaching provides the basis for students to experience and learn how to create a musical performance for which each player must be individually responsible for his or her part and at the same time work together toward the unity of the musical piece. Because there is no other person on a part and no “back up,” participants must be able to carry their own weight and to contribute to the whole in a meaningful way. That contribution involves learning skills such as commitment and responsibility to their group, interpretation of musical concepts on a higher intellectual level, development of verbal and non-verbal communication within the group, and teamwork through helping each other in a shared experience.
The Youth Chamber Music ensembles had the opportunity to demonstrate their progress in a special performance at the end of the CCCMS concert season.
With great commitment comes great accomplishment. Our hope is that guided chamber music experiences will create musical leaders for our local string and band programs and well-rounded musicians and members of a broader community for appreciation of the Arts.
The Youth Chamber Music Ensemble Program was sponsored by CCCMS Music Education Outreach.