What a Difference a Rehearsal Makes

by vernsanders on October 26, 2012

I’ve been directing choirs for almost 50 years now (did I really just write that?) in 2 countries and many different situations, and there are a few things I’ve learned to not stress over. One of those things is that from time to time you have one of “those” rehearsals.

It can be because the weather changed, or a number of people have the flu and aren’t there, or it can be for no particular reason at all. But some rehearsals are just lost…and often you know that very early. It is like a sports team that gets behind so far that you know you have to keep playing, but you know you won’t win.

Rehearsals like that used to bother me on a bunch of different levels:

panic, first, because I thought I had lost ground (or the group)

concern, second, because I plan a tight rehearsal progression over time, and I thought losing a rehearsal meant I would fall behind

insecurity, third, because I wondered if it was about me

Eventually, though, I figured out that even if you win most of the time, sometimes you lose…sometimes you get rained out…sometimes it is called on account of darkness. Now I don’t sweat “those” rehearsals, and a lot of times I’ll just abandon my rehearsal plan entirely and do something completely different…like talking about music history, or having a group voice lesson, or teaching music theory, or asking one of the singers to conduct just for fun.

I’ve also learned that, more times than not, one of “those” rehearsals is followed closely by a great rehearsal, and you get twice as much done as you expect.

Had one of the latter last night…and it reminded me why this is one of the greatest professions in the world…

Please leave a comment and let me know how you deal with one of “those” rehearsals.

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