How to Hold a Play-In

Photo by Peter Hildebrandt: A Play-In in Georgia

Worldwide Play-In season is fast upon us!

ACMP’s official 2023 Worldwide Play-In Weekend will take place from Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21.

We are encouraging members of the ACMP community to organize Play-Ins during that weekend, or anytime in May, and to let us know about them so we can help muster up players for events all over the world. As the old ACMP slogan goes: “Let’s circle the globe with chamber music.”

The first step in organizing a Play-In is knowing what one is!

A “Play-In” is defined as an event where musicians meet, often for the first time, and read chamber music for pure pleasure. Organizers can structure Play-ins in many creative ways, in groups small and large and in many different settings. Play-ins are not performances, but some include non-playing listeners. Although professional chamber musicians may be involved as organizers or playing along, Play-Ins are not workshops and do not involve coaching.

There are many types of Play-Ins and just as many approaches to setting one up. With this in mind, ACMP organized an online workshop, “How to Hold a Play-In” on January 28, 2023 with ACMP Board Members Peter Aupperle and Susan Alexander and four expert Play-In organizers from our community: Michael Knoch (IAC Ambassador for Berlin) and NAOC members Virginia Feldman (Portland, OR), Phyllis Kaiden (Vashon Island, WA), and Robert Myers (Washington, DC.)

Topics of Discussion

During this online workshop, we discussed the many elements that go into organizing a successful public Play-In – from finding a space and finding players to the most challenging aspect of matching participants into ensembles and finding appropriate repertoire for each group.

Videos from the Zoom session are now available on ACMP’s YouTube channel:

How to Hold a Play-In Play List

Video Excerpts by Topic

What is a Play-In and How to find a suitable venue

Hosting an Online Play-In

Finding Players

The importance of sight-reading and creative instrumentation choices

Finding repertoire and forming ensembles

Creating a festive environment

If you prefer to scroll through the entire unedited two-hour discussion, you can watch it here:

How to Hold a Play-In: January 28, 2023

Or, for a quick summary of all of the steps involved in organizing a Play-In you can also watch this power-point presentation by Michael Knoch.

Thank you again to all of our fabulous panelists, and we hope this inspires you to organize your own Play-In this Spring!

And if it does – public Play-Ins are eligible for support from ACMP.

Apply for a Play-In Grant

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