Steve Ericson’s Tips for Singers (Part III – How to have a Productive Rehearsal)

ChoirSinger.com – How to have a productive rehearsal

Republished with permission

One of the best Basses I've ever had the privilege to sing with and a good friend.

One of the best Basses I’ve ever had the privilege to sing with and a good friend.

If you have been singing very long at all you have experienced at least one rehearsal which frustrated you because of its lack of accomplishment. Today we’re going to take a look at what it takes to have a productive rehearsal – a necessity for producing an excellent concert.

Be on time. One of the things that will cut into the productivity of a scheduled rehearsal is late arrivals. If your rehearsal starts at 7:00, be in your seat at 7, not out parking the car, or talking to your friends. Arrive early enough to handle all the socializing before the rehearsal.

Warm up ahead of time. You can start your warm-ups early by humming or singing gently in the car on the way to rehearsal. If everyone in the choir arrived with warm voices the group warm-ups can focus more on the ensemble sound and intonation drills rather than shaking the road dust out of everyone’s throats.

Respect the other sections. If the director has to take a few minutes to work with one of the sections, it is not an excuse for you to start talking to your neighbor. That disrupts the rehearsal and makes it hard for the section that’s getting the extra work to accomplish what needs to be done. Even more important: don’t hum your part while another section is being rehearsed. If the other section wasn’t having trouble with the part your director wouldn’t be wasting rehearsal time on it. Don’t make it even harder.

Be prepared. No, I’m not talking Boy Scouts here. I’m talking about practicing between rehearsals. The night you get your music it’s OK to struggle a bit with notes and text, especially if you’ve never seen the piece before, but the next rehearsal you have the work should be learned, at least as far as the notes and words. Let the director concentrate on musical interpretation as early in the rehearsal schedule as possible. Your concert will sound better for it. Invest the time outside rehearsal and reap the dividends in performance.

Be clean. OK, can we get personal here for a minute? If you work a physical job that leaves you sweaty at the end of the day, go home and take a shower before you go to choir. And leave off the perfume, after-shave, cologne, or other scents. There are people with allergies to such things, and chemical allergies are one thing you can’t really get good treatment for. If you smoke, your clothes stink. You can’t smell it because your nose is half dead, but the people around you certainly can. Shower before rehearsal, put on clean clothes, and don’t light up again until after you are headed home. Better still, quit.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive your choral experience becomes. Who knows? You may even find yourself starting to do more challenging music as a result.

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