Rehearsal – Introduction

Photo © Roscoe Rutter

As musicians, we rehearse to prepare for a performance. In most situations the conductor has the responsibility of planning the rehearsal and deciding what happens in it. Our goal is to use the rehearsals to make the music sound as good as possible within the time available.

As a fundamental starting point, the conductor should be as familiar as possible with the music before the rehearsal process begins. Therefore, the material on Score Study, Preparation & Background is of crucial importance in this context. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to process what you hear in rehearsal and decide on the most effective strategy for improvement. To paraphrase the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi:

“I find that at least 50% of technical conducting problems disappear if the conductor knows the score properly.”

Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi

This is even more important when working with young musicians and non-professionals, as there will often be more errors in the early stages of the process. Professional musicians don’t play very many wrong notes, so when they do it is usually quite obvious!

There is almost never enough rehearsal time. It is therefore important to be very efficient with the practicalities and processes of rehearsing to maximise the amount of time available. The next sections will give crucial advice about managing rehearsals, and acquiring the sort of knowledge required to work with a wide variety of musicians in many different genres.

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