Selecting sheet music to play during our formative phase is not a simple mater. If our objective is to become a “Full” orchestra, the music should include most parts of a full orchestra. Yet I am discovering that wind instrumentalists are rare to find in Venice. I recently consulted with a Florida based well know conductor who confirmed that amateur wind instrumentalists who live in smaller communities tend to join bands rather than orchestras; a fact I can’t ignore.

The music written for a “Full” orchestra will sound thin without flutes, trumpets, trombones, or saxophones. One would think that the obvious solution is to start building the orchestra as a “String orchestra”. Yet, you never know when a brass or woodwind player will call to join you. Without wind parts to show, we will not be able to attract wind instrumentalists.

We are facing a chicken and egg challenge.

A simpler approach to gradually transition from a string to a full orchestra is to build a repertoire based on series of music compilations published in individual booklets for each instrument; typically 8 to 12 pieces of music per booklet.

These series are intended for like or mixed instruments and work for any size group or combination of instruments. They are generally available for strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion.

The orchestra can start as a smaller ensemble like a string quartet and add parts as new instruments join in. This approach is significantly less onerous than starting with string orchestral pieces to be replaced by full orchestral ones as the group matures and transitions into a full orchestra.