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Music Department
Advanced Conducting: Music 336
Dr. Peter LaRue

Rehearsal Techniques

There follows a brief listing/overview, of that which you will want to take into account when designing a rehearsal sequence for any choral or instrumental ensemble. That which is listed by no means is totally comprehensive or the ONLY way in which you might operate, however, it does represent a good point of departure for your work and efforts. [those of you with a choral emphasis will make appropriate choices for your rehearsals - as indicated]

Traditional Design:

1) set-up
2) tune-up [tuning exercises]
3) warm-up
4) rehearsal of selected works
5) sight-reading practice
6) conclusion with lively march [familiar work]

Questions which should be answered before rehearsal begin ...

1) What is the basic purpose of the large ensemble rehearsal? Should time be devoted mainly towards working on full ensemble problems or should frequent attention be given to sections or individual players/performers? Should the rehearsal involve teaching fundamentals or primarily be devoted to the refining of ensemble precision, balance, blend, intonation, etc.

2) What level of music should be chosen, not only for rehearsal, but for concert and contest performance? Should music be chosen primarily on the basis of technical difficulty or its musical merits/challenges?

3) Should sectional rehearsals be scheduled on a regular basis? Should small ensembles be an integral part of the curriculum, or should they be organized only in the spring for solo and ensemble contests?

All of the above considerations directly influence the objectives of any rehearsal and consequently determine what is to be rehearsed and how. These considerations largely determine the qualitative and quantitative outcomes of the rehearsal, which in turn has a direct effect and bearing on the music education of the students

Work of the Conductor:

1) preparation of the facilities

tuner [if necessary].....folders/stands and chairs.....rehearsal area/space.....piano [if necessary]
necessary equipment.....seating plan for the ensemble

2) preparation of the score

selection of the music.....conductor's knowledge of the score
ability to isolate potential danger/trouble spots

3) preparation of a rehearsal plan

take into account goals for the day/week.....take into account general ability level of students
take into account goals for program [year/cycle]