At almost every opportunity I have to describe the orchestra, I am asked the question: What’s the typical experience of musicians joining the VCO? Or, what level of music difficulty do you play; which eventually leads to visiting the membership make-up. My typical answer was something like: Our musician’s experience vary from beginner to professional level player.

Most recently a colleague musician lent me an article on amateurs’ sight reading orchestras written by Dr. Robert Mueller, a music teacher from the University of Arkansas. Muller subdivides the membership of his orchestra in four categories. I took the liberty of tweaking his definition and break it into five categories to better describe our membership. Now I can give a more articulate answer to the question.

Essentially, our members have one of the following profiles:

  • The beginner who can learn by sitting next to better players who pulls them along to a higher level of playing;
  • The invertebrate amateur who simply likes to play;
  • The more mature player who once played well and desire to maintain their skills;
  • The younger musician who aspires to become a pro musician, and;
  • The pro who simply likes to play while helping others in reaching higher levels of playing.

I think that’s a much better description of our membership than the one I used to give.