25 Years ago in Bandworld
by Stewart Ross
Vol. 1, #3, p.13 (January - February, 1986)
1. A rehearsal is no place for long-winded lectures. Keep comments concise. If you can "say it" in a non-verbal way, do it. Compliments and complaints can be made with the twist of the eyebrow or the wink of the eye without having to stop the rehearsal.
2. The amount of learning that occurs during rehearsals is directly related to the degree of preparation and organization of the director and, to a lesser degree, the students themselves.
3. Keep all instrumentalists involved in the rehearsal through intelligent planning. When you must rehearse only a small group of players, keep others involved with questions that focus their attention on what is happening musically.
4. Always have a lesson plan prepared for each rehearsal. If you are a new director, it should be written out. If you are experienced, it might be only a mental plan.
5. Always give yourself at least ten minutes before a rehearsal to set the mind and develop the necessary energy level. Never arrive late for a rehearsal. One of a director's greatest joys is greeting each of his musicians as they arrive.
6. Always give yourself at least ten minutes after a rehearsal to quietly evaluate the rehearsal as you begin planning for the next.
7. Most rehearsals should begin with some type of warm-up. The amount and type of warm-up needed is directly related to the ability and maturity of the ensemble members. You don't have time not to warm-up.
8. Warm-ups usually include work with sound quality, blend, balance, intonation, scales, and ideas related to the music to be rehearsed. Warm-ups should be creative. Don't allow them to become totally predictable. Remember: Warm-ups are music.
9. Tuning is best improved as a group effort, most often by playing unisons and chords. Students constantly must be encouraged to experiment with pitch adjustments as they try to eliminate "beats." Although the tuner might work well for checking individual problems, don't waste rehearsal time tuning every player's concert B-flat.
10. If you feel pressure building during a rehearsal, change the pace with a humorous comment, a stretching exercise, or by simply walking off the podium for a minute to allow some conversation. If the concentration level is low, it does little good to keep rehearsing.