Violinist Stephen Bryant On The Pleasure of Sharing The Joy Of Music

One of my greatest pleasures since joining the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2002 has been meeting and talking with the various groups of music students attending our rehearsals.

After an hour or so of rehearsing on stage, the orchestra takes a short break and this is when I go meet with the students from surrounding junior and senior high school music programs. Together we talk about what life in an orchestra is like; the cooperative rehearsal process, the music itself, what to listen for to increase their understanding and enjoyment of classical music.

The incomparable Seattle Symphony Family, School and Community Programs Department often invites school groups to Benaroya Hall, so that they can listen to a Seattle Symphony rehearsal and watch the orchestra as it prepares for a concert. This is one of the multiple outreach activities the Seattle Symphony provides to the community.
For those interested in becoming professional musicians themselves, I cover the basics about the process of winning an audition and the dedication it will require. Often I suggest repertoire to listen to and explain about my particular role as a member of the "inner voices" of the second violin section. Then I try to field questions from the students and draw parallels between the symphonic repertoire and smaller ensembles, such as string quartets.

Mostly I feel it is important to share my passion and enthusiasm for music to these young students. I tell them it doesn't matter which great composer we are playing because I love them all; Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Schumann, Prokofiev, and one of my personal favorites; Schnittke.

In closing, I usually play a little excerpt for them on my violin, and tell the students how grateful I am to be a professional musician, and hope I have conveyed what a great honor and pleasure it is to be a member of the Seattle Symphony.

Stephen Bryant
Seattle Symphony, second violinist
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