“You are dragging!”,
“Can you play the melody prettier?”,
“Did you articulate those notes?
Have to be shorter!”,
“Can you do it this way instead?”,
“Play louder, even more, more, more, more... ...”
Less less, more more, this and that, here and there, oh whatever. Does that sound familiar to you? Ah, it sounds like the rehearsal you had yesterday doesn’t it?
You might think this would only happen in rehearsals with younger musicians, but the reality is that it still happens in the professional world. Many of us have found ourselves asking, “How could I change this situation without yelling at the person who is currently yelling at me!?”
In this article, I will share a few tips, but before we learn how to run a chamber rehearsal, I want you all to have these few thoughts in mind:
Without players keeping these in mind, productive rehearsals will never happen!!
Here are some tips to help you have a productive and delightful rehearsal:
Make sure you know your part before your rehearsal. By knowing you are not having personal problems with the music, you can focus on making the parts work together. GO PRACTICE NOW!!!! For some tips check out PG's article to help guide you.
Study how your part is interacting with another member’s part. You could mark their entrances, mark who is playing the melody line at the moment, etc.
Play More, Talk Less
Try to fix the problems without talking, perhaps you could use your body movement to help the group to feel the music. Leading musically by example can often help avoid unnecessary confrontation, and keeps the rehearsal moving smoothly.
Share Constructive Ideas
If body movement doesn’t work, you can give constructive ideas to your group members. Keep in mind, we have to be positive and respectful.
Good: “We are rushing here, could we pull back a little more, and try to relax here?”
Bad: “You are dragging, and it sounds like poop...”
Follow Through with the Ideas, But Don’t Expect Changes Immediately
Sometimes new ideas take time to ease in, it might need a few rehearsals to make it perfect. Just keep the new idea in mind, keep playing it, and the necessary changes will work out. BE PATIENT!
Keep an Open Mind
Accept others’ thoughts. Be willing to consider others’ suggestions even if it is regarding your own playing. You can also ask for help and suggestions!! Don’t hide in your cocoon.
Be Brave and Speak Up
There should not be a leader in a chamber music group setting, so know that you have the right to point out what’s good or bad and give suggestions. Chamber music is all about collaboration, about sharing thoughts! Have a system where a different person leads each week and stick to it. Don’t just let one person be the leader of the group (unless you have a coach).