Rachel “Hanni” Haynes ’15: I am in a quintet chamber ensemble that was coached by David Ying. My quintet was formed this semester and we have only been playing with each other for a few weeks. Though we all have good musical technique, learning to play as an ensemble is challenging. Playing as an ensemble and the synergy between group members is what makes listening to chamber music so exciting. The Yings have a great group dynamic that is immediately apparent when they perform — they all trust and support each other with their sound.
When David coached us he showed us exercises to practice playing better as a group. One he called “Shakespearean counting” where we would count the beats together while using voice inflections to show the direction of the music. The idea of the exercise was to build a group sense of the musical pulse, or beat, so that every musician in the group would feel the music the same way, and therefore play together. He also encouraged us to let loose and trust our group members, allowing the music to rise and fall without restraining ourselves from insecurity. As a result of these exercises, even after an hour we found ourselves playing more in support of the melody instead of following, which encouraged whoever was playing the melody to be even more expressive, and our musicality really flowed. It was a great experience. Even though our regular coach, George Lopez, is fantastic, I have always found it extremely helpful to hear what other coaches and professional musicians have to say about our playing. I’m very glad we had the opportunity to be coached by David, and his lessons are sure to have a lasting impact on our group.
Daniel Lesser ’14: Having the Ying Quartet here was an inspiring experience. Through their choice of repertoire, and rich communication with each other and the audience, the group was able to captivate listeners of all backgrounds. I found David, the cellist, especially insightful in describing the relevance of classical music as an expression of the human condition. Playing the 3rd movement of the Rachmaninov Cello Sonata for David helped me think more deeply about what I am trying to express through this piece and how different bow techniques may be used to shape this expression. Working with David and hearing the Ying Quartet play helped me reflect on my musical perspective and guide me as I prepare for a solo recital in April.”