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The Violin Channel Vanguard Concerts Series 2

September 29, 2022 9:00 pm EST






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Veteran Violinist Marcia Hinkle on The Ingredients for a Successful Long-Term Orchestral Career

Omaha Symphony veteran violinist Marcia Hinkle talks us through the ingredients for a successful, long-term orchestral career

It might seem like one of the best feelings in the world when you receive confirmation that you've just been accepted into the orchestra of your dream. That is true, but the work that this coveted position entails is no easy one. Learning how to survive for decades in an orchestra can be challenging, with constant new hurdles such as the retirement of old colleagues and hiring of new, young faces, a new conductor who might have a vastly different personality as the previous one, or even just feeling tired out from the hectic schedule. What should we do to ensure a successful long-term orchestral career?

Veteran American violinist of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra Marcia Hinkle shares her expert advice on the topic, after 60 years of performing with the ensemble,


60 year veteran Omaha Symphony violinist Marcia Hinkle discusses about how we can have a Successful Long-Term Orchestral Career


I figured out yesterday that this is my “DI” day.  Just “Do It”!  After all I did take Journalism classes in High School, and I was the Boys Sports Editor. This should surely qualify me for this task. So, here goes!

Like most  kids in 3rd Grade, I was recruited to play the Tonette, sometimes called a “song flute.” After several months, the Music teacher suggested that I should consider playing the Violin. My parents thought that sounded like a great idea.

I had skipped 4th grade, but practiced hard and took some private lessons to catch up. I did have an interlude when I decided I did not want to practice. My parents offered me the option of quitting if that was what I truly wanted; but by then I had made new friends and was happy playing in the orchestra. A “truce” ensued, and practicing continued.

So, on to High School, where I was Concertmaster of the Orchestra for 3 years.

For College I stayed in town and attended Omaha University, and was Concertmaster of their Orchestra. I had changed violin teachers, and was encouraged by my teacher, who was also the Conductor of the Omaha Symphony, to join the Symphony in the fall of my senior year.

During my high school and college years, I was also active in a sorority, a member of numerous organizations, and a serious tennis player. Some of those patterns, as a diverified person, have been my mantra through life.

At that point I had established a routine that helped me budget my time, concentrate on the things I loved most, and planned to work hard to enjoy those commitments. Those  became more formalized with the addition of a husband and 3 children. While my children were younger I was a “stay at home mom.” In their teen years I became a working mom, selling real estate.

For my earlier years, the Symphony had a service schedule during the fall, winter, and spring; and a fun summer outdoor Concert Series. These services were fewer and more spread out during the Year. As the popularity of the Symphony increased, additional services were added, and in the last 10 years the Omaha Symphony's schedule has more than doubled, with over 200 Services during a 9 month time period.

There have been 7 Conductors during my tenure with the Symphony. Each brought their own set of skills and talent. It can be challenging at times, so you need to look for the positives; and not be totally set in your ways. You have to be pliable, and willing to adapt.  Sometimes change is a good thing. Smile!

Back to my assigned topic of , “Ingredients for Success.” In reviewing my last 60 years of playing in the Orchestra these would be “key words”.

1. Do what you love, and love what you do.

2. Make a Plan for success and work your Plan.

3. Use your time wisely.

4. Include your Family in making decisions.

5. Respect and Befriend your fellow musicians.               

6. Enjoy! (and pass it along)




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Marcia Hinkle was violinist at Omaha Symphony from 1957–2018, retiring after an incredible 60 years in service.


august, 2022


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