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Music Department
Advanced Conducting: Music 336
Dr. Peter LaRue

Score Study & Preparation

The wise conductor will spend an extensive amount of time in score study and preparation long before they ever stand in front of their ensemble. Sometimes time constraints limit this necessary preparation, but please know that, thoughtful time spent with the score before-hand will greatly increase the efficiency of your rehearsal sequence. There are many approaches to score study and preparation. That which follows is a synthesis of a variety of strategies and that which I have found works best. Please remember, that score study and preparation is a time for you to clarify:

1. tempos
2. keys
3. meters
4. dynamic contrasts
5. phrasing strategies
6. necessary musical nuances
7. potential problem spots
8. solo passages
9. cues/entrances
10. articulations

Tools for Score Study

a. pencils - different colors if desired
[some use varying colored pencils for varying facets, i.e. red-tempos/tempo changes, blue-meters/meter changes black-cues/entrances, yellow-other problems: some use
same colored pencil for all markings]

b. metronome
[need to establish with metronome what the tempos are as indicated, make decisions on necessary changes, etc.]  

c. piano or keyboard
[need to "hammer out" basic harmonic structure, melody, etc.]  

d. major instrument/voice
[often time helpful to establish phrasing, articulations, etc.]  

e. recordings
[at some junctures, recordings are helpful to get feel for a piece, it is advised, however, that you do not use records as a crutch]  

f. literature
[books or articles in which pieces are analyzed and performance tips are provided - an invaluable tool in many respects]  

g. discussions
[with others in the business  whom have perhaps performed the same selection or others by same composer; often very helpful - also - never hesitate to call/contact composer - if living]