3 Steps To Improve Your Rehearsals: Preparation
Your preparation and organisation are forms of respect shown to your students and musicians. Your effort in preparation tells them that you respect their time, you’ve put thought into the time you’ll spend together, and that you don’t want to waste a single minute of your precious music-making time together.
1. Prepare Your Materials
This tip might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often ensemble leaders arrive at rehearsals without materials for their musicians. Prepare your music by having everything printed, sorted, taped, marked, and ready for your musicians well before the rehearsal starts. Every teacher and group leader has made the mistake of forgetting to prepare something and needing to make a quick errand during rehearsal time, but try to avoid making that mistake.
2. Prepare Your Rehearsal Goals
Preparing your desired goals of every rehearsal is a sure-fire way to make sure you are always growing and never floundering during a rehearsal. Prepare your goals, your activities to accomplish those goals, and any important information you need to tell your ensemble. Let your ensemble know what these goals are at the beginning of your rehearsal. They will feel appreciated and they will know what they need to work towards that day.
This is especially important for new ensemble leaders: prepare what you will say during your rehearsal. Any discomfort or awkwardness that you carry will amplify once you are in front of your ensemble. Have some cheat notes to rely on in case you get flustered and need to get back on track. If you’re extremely uncomfortable, practice beginning your rehearsal in front of a mirror, a camera, or some friends to ease the tension.
3. Prepare Your Musicians
Prepare your musicians with your expectations of the rehearsal. If you’re expecting them to practice the music before arriving, make sure to give them the appropriate materials (music, reference recordings, etc.) and make your expectations very clear. Ensure that everyone knows the exact days and times of your rehearsals, including how long rehearsals will run. If your musicians arrive at a rehearsal and find out it will run 2 hours longer expected, it will feel like a slap in the face. Respect your musicians’ time and prepare them in every way for a successful rehearsal.
The respect and appreciation you show your musicians through your preparation will result in more efficiency, more mutual respect, more progress, and a much less stressful environment for you. The extra effort you put into preparation is always worth it.