Violinist and Teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Robinson Middle School Orchestra Concert


Friday, May 21st, 2010

Just got back home from a concert at a local middle school, Robinson Middle School here in Plano, Texas. It was, to say the least, an interesting experience. I had not previously bothered to go to a middle- or high-school orchestra concert in Plano simply because I didn’t think it would be worth my time to go hear a bunch of youngsters scraping bows on strings. But since I have 3 private students in two of the Robinson Middle School orchestras, I promised them I would attend tonight’s concert.

A little perspective: Back in the 60’s, when I was in high school in El Paso (population about 250,000 at the time), my high school (Irvin) had about 1400 students, grades 8-12. Of those 1400 students, about 100 of them played a musical instrument, and most of those were in the band, not the orchestra. The orchestra of which I was concertmaster consisted of about 30 students.

Now fast forward to May of 2010 in Plano, Tx (population about 270,000, in about 1/3rd the area of El Paso). Robinson Middle School (3 grades) has just over 1000 students. Nearly 25% of them play a musical instrument, about 80% of those being strings. Of the 5 orchestras that I saw this evening, one of them was about on the same level as the 8th-grade orchestra at Irvin, one was about the same level as the “advanced” orchestra, and the other three were much better.

In 1969’s El Paso, I was a stand-out as a high school violinist. Here in 2010’s Plano, I wouldn’t have been anything particularly special. I’m going to have to get out to more local school concerts.

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