“Naturally, I came here to learn to play”

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Friends of The Seattle Public Library recently joined clarinetist Ashley Komoda for a lunchtime rehearsal to discuss the importance of the Library’s music practice rooms to the local musicians who use them.

“These practice rooms are one of the few downtown spots that allow fellow musicians to get together and make as much noise as they want. It is also simple. At any given time, I can call and say, ‘hey, I need a room,’ and reserve one of the two rooms with a piano. The piano is especially useful because of its built-in metronome”, she explained as she set the tempo for an adagio piece she plays with the Cadence Chamber Orchestra.

Ashley first discovered the music rooms this summer while seeking rehearsal space with a fellow clarinetist. They were looking to schedule weekly practice sessions for a company downtown that was sponsoring a summer arts internship program. After being turned down (or chased away) by building managers in downtown offices, they resorted to schools, only to find that such practice rooms were restricted by to current students or by very limited operating hours.  They needed somewhere close and cheap. An online search led them to the library practice rooms, where they could toot their horns to their hearts’ content during regular library hours.

During these weekly sessions, it was not uncommon to have by-standers from the elevator peering through the window or visitors that sat in on the Mozart duet they were working on.  A symphony clarinetist from Vancouver, B.C. once joined in and provided some tips on technique and instrument gear. Five months later Ashley— along with a number of Seattle residents of all ages— still schedule routine practice sessions at the Library.

“A lot of people come here. I enjoy practicing here because there’s really nothing around to distract me.” Ashley first picked up the clarinet in middle school and recently started lessons on the alto saxophone. “Naturally, I came here to learn to play,” she said with a smile. “You have to have someplace to practice, to get experience, learn the basics. You can’t just jump into it!”

The Cadence Chamber Orchestra (CCO) is an all-ages group of volunteer musicians committed to putting on free performances of new and traditional chamber music repertoires in the Seattle area.  Don’t miss your chance to see them perform Beethoven – Symphony No. 1 and Stravinsky – Pulcinella Suite at Cafe Metropolitain [1701 E Olive Way] on Thursday, December 17th at 8pm or at the PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College of the Arts [710 E Roy St] on Friday, December 18th at 8:00pm.

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