If you have followed the whole online course, congratulations! Rimsky provides a very solid basis for a beginning orchestrator. Although we will be offering other opportunities to learn orchestration, I have a few comments here.
- Once you have learned what is reasonably easy to play, it is not hard to orchestrate tolerably. Because of the history of instrumental design, most of what can be played without much difficulty will sound at least acceptable. However, GOOD orchestration is another matter altogether. Because something does not sound like a catastrophe does not mean it is well orchestrated!
- Debussy said that Ravel had the most sensitive hearing of anyone he had ever encountered. Good orchestration is not only about what is obvious at first hearing. In particular, it is worth paying attention to what is going on in the background. An orchestration which merits repeated listening will show more interesting and subtle detail as you get to know it, and most of that detail will be in the background planes of tone. Learn to distinguish what makes really good orchestration REFINED.
- Real orchestras cost money, LOTS of it. Unlike GPO, when a non-virtual orchestra uses a tuba player for only 4 notes, they have to pay him for being there the whole time! Make sure you make reasonable use of the instruments you demand, proportional, of course to their role (the tuba player will rarely play as much as the concert-master).
- Many of the most important things in Rimsky are mentioned only ONCE in his book. Keep in mind that a real teacher would hammer away at these things again and again. Go over the material again and make note of the main PRINCIPLES.