S2E6: Final Rehearsals - Cultivating Confidence and Security

The Importance of Final Rehearsals

This chapter focuses on the critical role of final rehearsals in preparing for a concert, where we highlight the importance of building confidence and security within the ensemble. We emphasize the need for a macro approach at this stage, ensuring that players have the opportunity to run through the entire program to feel prepared and minimize uncertainties. We discuss the balance conductors must strike between addressing remaining issues and allowing enough time for full run-throughs, acknowledging that the latter can be essential for a successful performance. Additionally, we touch on how different factors, such as the experience level of the musicians and the timeframe of rehearsals, can impact whether longer works, like full symphonies, are played through during the final rehearsal. Overall, we underscore that thoughtful planning and prioritization from conductors can greatly enhance the ensemble's readiness and confidence for the upcoming performance.

Preparing for Performances With School, College & Community Groups

This chapter examines the unique challenges faced by school and community musical groups with infrequent performance schedules, emphasizing the importance of meticulous preparation for conductors. We discuss strategies for bridging the long gaps between concerts, which can lead to a lack of performance memory. Detailed run sheets and annotations on musicians' sheet music are suggested as effective tools to guide performers through the logistical aspects of a performance, such as standing cues and tuning reminders. Additionally, I share my personal technique of using post-it notes for soloist acknowledgments to avoid overlooking any performers during the concert. The conversation concludes with the recommendation of conducting full practice performances, including walking on stage and adjusting to the environment, to ensure a polished and professional real performance.

Preparing for Performances in Professional Context

This chapter explores the growth and confidence that comes from repetition in performances, drawing on experiences from a Melbourne tour. We share how even just three performances can significantly improve comfort and execution for musicians. We discuss the role of conductors in ensuring repertoire is well-chosen and rehearsals are effective, leading to a polished final show, particularly when there's only one performance opportunity. In the professional realm, we highlight the importance of the general rehearsal, making the unfamiliar familiar, and focusing on the music rather than excessive verbal direction. The conversation touches on the balance of rehearsal needs between well-known pieces and new ones, as well as the conductor's responsibility to facilitate a smooth performance, especially in education concerts. I emphasize the effectiveness of non-verbal communication in rehearsals, which can lead to more time spent making music and less time talking.

Building Confidence and Security in Rehearsals

This chapter focuses on the crucial role that confidence and security play in the final rehearsals before a performance. We discuss the importance of rehearsing with the intention of building these two elements within the musicians, emphasizing that every aspect of preparation, including practicing stage bows, contributes to the overall feeling of assurance on stage. The takeaway is clear: fostering a confident and secure atmosphere is paramount for successful performances.

S2E7: Memorable Performances - Balancing Stability vs. Risk Taking

How do you plan for and reveal that extra level of energy in the performance and connect meaningfully with the audience? What's required to balance stability vs. risk-taking onstage? How can we best use limited sound-check time to instil confidence while meeting everyone's needs and preserving energy?


S2E6: Final Rehearsals - Cultivating Confidence and Security

What's the goal of final rehearsals? How do we ensure preparedness while keeping the music fresh? How do we need to adapt our rehearsals to build confidence in groups that perform rarely vs. those that perform often? What's the value of practicing performing, rather than just rehearsing? We tackle all this and more in this episode focussed on final rehearsals and sound checks.


S2E5: Fostering Engagement with Questions, Conviction & Repetition

How do you know when to keep working at a passage or just move on? How do you balance your own interpretation vs. making space for the musicians' ideas? What's the role of non-verbal communication in effective rehearsals? What might we learn from taking more notice of what's going on in the room?