10 Steps to the “Perfect Rehearsal”
I believe that a Perfect Rehearsal is possible. I am not sure if it is sustainable day in day out, or easy to achieve at first. But I do think it is something that we should strive for. We want students to keep coming to rehearsals and keep working with us in the music department. This blog is all about how we might go about achieving a Perfect Rehearsal. I have given 10 steps to help you with that. I hope they are useful.
The problem is that we are likely to be leading some kind of rehearsal every single day. We have lots to plan for and often don’t have time to really think about what we are going to rehearse. My challenge to you today is that rehearsals are important and do need some thought. I challenge you to aim for Perfect Rehearsals, or aim to be consistently good!
Can we achieve the Perfect Rehearsal?
I guess this is a bit like the idea of a Perfect Lesson, because whilst potentially possible, it is not sustainable. In our pursuit of the Perfect Rehearsal maybe we should aim for consistently good rehearsals? Whatever the terminology, ultimately I want to challenge you to really think about the rehearsals you run. Take some of these ideas and see what you think. They might help, they might not. But I thought it was all blog worthy stuff.
10 Tips for The Perfect Rehearsal
- A perfect rehearsal starts on time. Obvious and crucial. Often students come in to rehearsals in dribs & drabs, but make sure that when they do arrive the music has started. I run a lot of rehearsals before school because that works for me and the school. Students do therefore arrive late at times. As a result of this I make sure I get those who are there working hard. It can be hard, but try and just get things going on time and challenge students, in a nice way, to be on time.
- Perfect rehearsals should have an end goal. Organise a concert, however big or small, and then aim for that event. As a result students are more likely to buy into the rehearsal with an end goal in sight.
- Keep parents informed via email, social media and word of mouth. For example, make sure they know when, where and how long for every rehearsal. Above all, try not to over-run as parents are often waiting in car parks!
- Make sure the music is playable and not impossible. Something for everyone is always a mantra I like to use. So with that in mind also make sure that you challenge your more able students. It might be that you have one ensemble that is for everyone and then maybe separate groups for differerent ability levels.
- Perfect Rehearsals have to be worthwhile. Make sure that you cover some ground, make some progress and don’t just play things through over and over again. As a result, students will leave feeling like they have developed some aspect of a piece or song.
- Running a perfect rehearsals means that you are ready to lead and inspire those in front of you. Make sure that you are excited about the music. Pick music that is engaging and enjoyable for you as the leader/conductor.
- A perfect rehearsal is likely to be fun. Take the odd break here and there and tell a joke or story. An orchestra or choir is like any other team of people. In other words, you need them to buy into it and enjoy it. Making students smile first thing in the morning or after school is crucial.
- A perfect rehearsal might involve student leaders. Get senior students taking warm-ups or a leading a section of a piece. That leaves you to get in amongst the younger or lower ability players. Student leadership is a crucial part of music department life and rehearsals are great places for students to start leading.
- Perfect rehearsals sometimes don’t involve playing or singing a piece. These rehearsals are all about developing the community feel of the group or working on technique.
- Perfect Rehearsals are not too long and not too short. It is possible to run one in a lunchtime if you start on time and don’t pack too much in.
In conclusion, it is impossible to be perfect all of the time. But we should aim for consistently good rehearsals. As a result we are likely to be doing a pretty good job. I really value the rehearsal time with my students. Not only do we get through music, but we also build a solid community within the department. Rehearsals are where students make friends, develop leadership & learning skills, and really enjoy the benefits of a rich music education. The rehearsal room is a special place and I hope these 10 steps might help you in some way.