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3 Steps To Improve Your Rehearsals: Engagement

As a leader, you understand how precious rehearsal time can be. So often, we feel like we don’t have enough time to perfect our music to meet our goals. Even worse, if your musicians aren’t receptive to your leadership style, you’ll feel like you’re wasting time. How can you achieve all of your rehearsal goals if your musicians simply aren’t interested or invested in your rehearsals? You can better engage your musicians in three simple ways:

1. Engage with pace

Make sure you’re moving your rehearsals at a pace that is understood by all of your musicians. If you speak or move through material too quickly, your musicians might become confused, overwhelmed, or begin to zone out. If you move too slowly, your musicians will get bored, distracted, and likely start feeling like they should talk or be on their phones to pass the time. Even worse, your musicians will feel that you don’t respect their time if the rehearsal is filled with a lot of goofing around.

2. Engage with activity

Don’t put your ensemble to sleep! Music is naturally engaging and participatory, but sometimes your musicians will feel very under-stimulated if they are not doing very much or if the continuous repetition becomes boring. Find ways to always keep everyone busy and active. Even if you need to work with just one person or one section of your group for a few minutes, give your other ensemble members a task to work on so that their time is not being wasted. Make sure to speak to and address all musicians during your rehearsals and give everyone the opportunity to address their confusions or questions at the end of the rehearsal.

3. Engage with understanding

To properly engage with your musicians, you need to understand them on at least a basic level. Put in the time to get to know them, their background, their skills, and their passions. When you get to know your musicians and start leading with their individual personalities and needs in mind, you will begin to show them that you are collaborating with them vs. just telling them what to do. Your musicians will feel respected, understood, and appreciated, leading them to focus on a deeper level and give more to your music.