Every wind instrument student must participate in an ensemble from the very beginning, in order to improve skills of playing in a group, rhythmic unity, intonation and following the leader (conductor). It is not possible for a single music school to provide everything required in the form of ensemble education, because there simply are never enough students at the same level to form a large group. Therefore, the wind instrument student MUST seek out and participate in other school and regional ensembles.
Wind instruments have the advantage of being eligible to play in an orchestra or in a wind band. In an orchestra, there are few positions for each wind instrument type, and in a band there are more positions and in fact more variety of wind instruments (saxophone is usually not part of the orchestra). Most wind players will participate in more band ensembles than orchestras, and it is usually both an honor and distinction to be accepted into an orchestra - especially as first chair.
KMI Winds: As students of similar ability are available, the KMI faculty will organize specific wind ensembles to perform at KMI Recitals. This may be duets, trios, quartets or even larger groups. For many wind students this may be the first opportunity to perform in an ensemble and an important step toward auditioning for a string orchestra.
School Ensemble: Many schools will have a instrumental program and ALL KMI wind students MUST participate if one is available. Usually, the orchestra or band will perform twice a year (Fall and Spring), and the experience is invaluable to all beginning wind players. The school band will probably be the wind student's only available performance ensemble until completing the KMI Core Curriculum. At the High School level, the marching band is the highest and more prestigious musical ensemble of the school.
Centers for the Musically Talented: The Pittsburgh Public School system offers a special Saturday program for students on all instruments from grades 4 - 12 at the CAPA High School building downtown. This program includes lessons, classes, and ensembles. KMI wind students in the public school system are strongly encouraged to participate in Centers. KMI's own director, Mr. Kikuchi, studied cello within the PPS Centers Program.
All-City Orchestra: The Pittsburgh Public School system offers special ensemble opportunities for students on instruments grades 4 - 12. There are three levels: Elementary, Junior and Senior which are based on student grade level and ability (more qualified younger students may enter an upper level orchestras). KMI wind students in the public school system are strongly encouraged to participate in the All-City Band or Orchestra. Students who do not qualify for the Three Rivers Young People's orchestras, will often qualify for All-City, and should take advantage of the experience which might prepare them for the more prestigious bands or orchetras. KMI's own director, Mr. Kikuchi, played cello in the All-City Orchestra from Grades 6 to 12.
Three Rivers Young People's Orchestra: This organization sponsors two wonderful regional orchestras: The Symphonette and the Young People's Orchestra, and a special preparatory program called "Intrada Strings". The Intrada Strings and Symphonette are for string players only, so wind players must wait until they qualify for the more advanced Young People's Orchestra, which is usually three years past the Core Curriculum at KMI, and any wind student completing the Core Curriculum MUST audition annually until admission is gained or the student passes the age limit requirement. Students rehearse weekly, under the direction of professional players of the Pittsburgh Symphony, participate in many special classes and events, and perform twice a year (Fall and Spring). Auditions are in June for the following year. Visit the web site for audition requirements, schedule, locations and fees.
Young People's Orchestra: All instruments - Ages 13 to 18
Pittsburgh Youth Symphony: This ensemble is the highest level performing group available to students in the Pittsburgh region. It is a part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), is conducted by one of the PSO conductors, and holds its concerts in Heinz Hall. This orchestra is a mixture of very advanced High School students and students studying music at the college level (at one of the local universities). ALL CONCERTS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC, SO ALL KMI STUDENTS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND!!!
(See TUTORIAL: TIMELINES for more information on student performance and progress at the Kikuchi Music Institute.)
(See ADULT PERFORMANCE for a list of area adult performance ensembles.)