Practice makes perfect
PRACTISE and dedication to her craft will see Thoona resident Emma Amery take to the stage at the Melbourne Recital Centre this month to play violin in a performance of Homages with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra.
The 18 year old who lives on the family farm and makes a 500 kilometre round trip each week to rehearse with the orchestra, holds the position of “associate concertmaster,” which could best be described as “second fiddle” to the lead violin sitting closest to the conductor.
“If the concertmaster is away or sick I have to step up (to that role) and I also help with organising and assisting the section,” she said.
Emma has come a long way since she began playing 12 years ago, starting when she was only six, although she can’t remember exactly why violin was her instrument of choice.
“My Mum plays violin as well so I think I was kind of drawn to it,” she said.
“I’ve always loved it and always been the weird one who liked to practise - and I love playing with other people.”
Currently completing year 12 through distance education, Emma communicates with her teachers online, having been home schooled from an early age.
After a successful audition in 2014 she joined with the Percy Grainger Youth Orchestra program, rehearsing each Saturday and gradually honing her technique and performance skills.
Preparing for the performance of Homages - which pays tribute to great German composers including Richard Strauss and Johannes Brahms - required orchestral rehearsals along with preparation of her own part at home.
Describing herself as a classical music “geek”, Emma is looking forward to playing with virtuoso musicians as part of the concert on September 17.
“I love the rehearsals, working through it with the conductors and the different tutors we get to work with,” she said.
“We’ve got a solo violinist coming in (Michael Brooks Reid) to play Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major who we haven’t rehearsed with yet, but I can’t wait to hear him and how all that fits together – it will be really exciting.”
Emma says her plan is to get into university in Melbourne where she hopes to study violin and ultimately become a professional violinist, unwilling to let distance get in the way of her career. “That is the dream,” she said. “It’s definitely harder doing all the travel, but I guess if you love it enough and are willing to work at it, it’s definitely worth it in the end.
“I prefer orchestral over solo performance, so practising at home and then getting together with other people – that’s when it’s really fun.”
Emma finds inspiration among the many great violinists and other young musicians who have come from rural areas who have gone on to forge successful musical careers.
She said being part of the Melbourne Youth Orchestra has provided her with both experience and links to professionals in the field.
But she still holds fond affection for the farm where her family raises sheep and crops and where she often lends a hand, whether that be in the shearing shed or out in the field.
Emma says while her focus is on university and a career, she would love to come back to the farm eventually.
Melbourne Youth Orchestras will present Homages and the Virtuosity Grand Final concerto soloist competition on Sunday, September 17 at the Melbourne Recital Centre in Southbank with Homages to start at 2.30pm.
ON THE FARM: Regional living is no barrier to achieving your dreams, according to Thoona violinist Emma Amery.
MAKING MUSIC: Emma Amery is proud to take her place as associate concertmaster with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra.