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What does it take to be a Concertmaster?


When Olivia Batista learned that she got first chair in orchestra, she was shocked. “I was surprised and quite excited. I never thought I’d make it, I always sucked.” But not only did she make first chair, she had the honor of being concertmaster for the Hauntcert, an annual orchestra concert held every year to celebrate Halloween. So, what is the Concertmaster? According to Wikipedia, the concertmaster, first chair or leader is the principal first violin player in an orchestra. After the conductor, the concertmaster is the second-most significant leader in an orchestra, symphonic band or other musical ensemble. Being Concertmaster is an honor you have to work hard for, and Olivia Batista obviously did.


Olivia has been playing violin since she was Eight years old, but she didn’t start taking violin lessons seriously until she joined the orchestra at Mitchell. So, I asked her whether she thinks she’s grown since she first started playing. “Yes. When I first started playing violin, I never practiced, and because of that, my playing was off.”


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Surprisingly, a lot of musicians don’t take their instrument seriously until they start to improve and immerse themselves into it. This quote from the interview shows that while she didn’t take it seriously until recently, she knows what she did wrong and how she could improve it, which is an essential tool for musicians and non-musicians alike. I also asked Olivia how she thinks she got first chair.  “I think I made first chair by being focused, participating, and working the hardest on my piece.” This quote, like the others before it, shows that Olivia pays attention to what she does and how that could have an impact on how she succeeds.


An important part of learning to be a musician is practice. I decided to ask her about her practice schedule, and it was surprisingly simple: “I practice 15 minutes every day, sometimes more if I have the time.” This shows that you don’t need to practice for an hour every day to be a good musician, just enough to show that you are putting in effort, which Olivia obviously did. Olivia Batista has worked extremely hard to earn the position of Concertmaster, and it has obviously paid off. She led the Camerata Orchestra Hauntcert, and their performance was outstanding.

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