From School Library Journal
Grade 5-10 This collection of interviews with 15 musicians in the New York Philharmonic presents an in-depth look at what it takes to become a professional musician. Each biographical sketch acquaints readers with the personality of the performer and shows that these talented people are well rounded with interests that include sports and other hobbies. The focus throughout is on how they chose their instruments and became proficient enough to become part of this world-renowned orchestra. Many of them did not select their instrument until they were in their teens, and several began on a different instrument from the one that ultimately became their career choice. Three boxed sections accompany each interview, offering insight into the workings of the instrument, practice tips, and concert watch, in which readers are advised about things to look for during a performance. Mediocre-quality black-and-white snapshots are scattered throughout. A final chapter on teamwork sheds light on the idiosyncrasies of playing in an orchestra. This title will appeal to a select audience, but it offers valuable information and encouragement to those for whom music performance holds appeal. Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Gr. 5-8. Soloists may be classical music's most prominent role models, but this excellent book offers a glimpse of a more common destiny for young musicians: employment in a professional symphony. Nathan, following up The Young Musician's Survival Guide
(2000), interviewed 13 of the New York Philharmonic's members, representing 11 different instruments, and spun their articulate comments into brief, readable profiles, supplemented by various sidebars--among them, an invaluable feature outlining pros and cons of individual instruments (it's easy for a beginner to coax a sound from a trombone, but few opportunities for solos arise). The artists' diverse career paths show that few rules apply: while a few were typical prodigies, most mourned sacrificed hobbies, often dreaded practice, and struggled with uncertainty. Though the title's format is somewhat drab, with childhood and current photos reproduced in grainy black and white, the practical advice mixed with inspirational words strikes just the right note for children at many different stages in their musical education. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved