My name is Atticus Mellor-Goldman and I’m the cellist of the Incendium String Quartet. Recently, we received the news that we had made it to the live rounds of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and while we are thrilled to travel to Indiana to compete in May, it wouldn’t be without the extraordinary effort and guidance of our coaches.
Andrew Cook, our PCM coach and my personal private teacher, picked out the repertoire that we would be playing for the competition in September; we’ve been preparing those 3 pieces for the competition ever since. Our normal schedule consists of 2 rehearsals and 2 coachings a week: one coaching with Andrew at PCM on Monday, a rehearsal on Friday at Colburn, and a rehearsal on Saturday after a coaching with Aimee Kreston at Colburn.
Part of the reason why we’re able to meet so often is because we’re actually all homeschooled or doing some sort of online academic program; it gives us so much more time to schedule rehearsals and practice our parts as well. A huge reason why I’ve had such a blast working with my Quartet is because we’re all friends: we enjoy hanging out with each other outside of rehearsals, sometimes going out to eat after we’ve finished or just simply hanging out with our group of friends and playing ping pong.
While it used to be harder for us to keep a stable friendship within a work environment (not getting anything done in rehearsals because we’d have spent the entire hour laughing), over the course of the year we’ve managed to find a really great balance with an open, friendly rehearsal environment while remaining dedicated and focused.
Additionally, working with multiple different coaches has been an interesting (and at many times, challenging) experience. It’s been wonderful to have the support of many great teachers, but it’s also been tough to balance the clashing of ideas with the need to make decisions that we, as a group, all agree with.
However, I’d still consider working with multiple coaches over the course of the year a success. Andrew Cook has opened our eyes to different interpretations of all the pieces that we’re playing and worked his hardest to bring out the best in all of our playing; and Aimee Kreston, while providing us with many valuable coachings, also gave us an opportunity to attend the Red Rocks Winter Chamber Music Festival where we received instruction from some of the best teachers in the world and grew exponentially as a group.
Ultimately, even though both our second violinist Mei and I will be heading off to Conservatory, it would have been great to stay together as a Quartet for next year as well, since I think we all had an amazing time together this year. We will try our hardest to make Colburn, PCM, and our coaches proud at Fischoff this May!