This Week’s Rehearsal
Two hours of full band.
Heather started with a presentation on memorization and why it was a good practice to memorize some or all of your pieces – especially where you had to turn the page, or where you had a tricky part, or when there was a tempo change so you could keep your eye on the conductor! Or, if the lights went out, you could keep on playing.
She talked about the layers of memorization – first just memorizing the key that the piece was in, and running through your mind what this meant in terms of fingering, sharps and flats. Then, actually saying the names of the notes. E.g. F, A, C, B flat, etc. Then saying the notes in your head and just fingering the keys. Then actually playing the section you were memorizing. Research suggests repeating the section 6 times, and then taking an hour break and coming back to it would be most efficient. There are many layers to memorization – the notes themselves, the rhythms and values of notes, visual cues, auditory (getting it firmly in your memory) and harmonic (if you have more music theory). Using verbal (naming the notes), auditory (singing and playing) and kinetic (clapping rhythms, fingering) helps reinforce because these things involve different areas of the brain. Music fires up the synaptic gaps and makes our brains work better.
We had a short discussion on tuning – and why we tune to the Oboe (it has less ability to modulate the sound that other instruments with tuning slides or ability to adjust the mouthpiece). And that you want to make sure your tuner is at 440 megahertz as this is the agreed upon modulation.
To test us, we worked on Sousa first saying the key, then naming the notes of the intro to ourselves, then fingering the notes, then singing the notes, and then playing without looking at the music. We then played it through at a significantly faster pace than previously.
Next we worked on John Williams, starting at the theme from Jurassic Park Bar 67, noting the key and tempo change. Listen for the dinosaur steps from the percussion, and let the French horns sing out at 75. Then we moved back to the Duel of the Fates at bar 22. The flutes and clarinets have rather challenging parts here – which are also repetitive. Heather made some suggestions as to how they could split some of the rhythms/notes so that it might be easier. Then we went back to the beginning (Star Wars) focusing on the rhythms.
After break we worked on Three Folk Miniatures (quiz – without looking at the music, what key are you in?) In the first one, we focused on the change in tempos and mood (sometimes lively, sometimes moody). In Isabeau, which is in 6/8, we focused on the timing, particularly the section from bar 31 and the cut off at bar 35, with bar 36 being conducted in 6 rather than 2, then back to 2 and the original tempo in bar 37 to the end. In Les Raftsmen, we watched for tempo changes, 4/4, ¾, 2/4, 7/8 (at bar 43), and key changes start, bar 24, and bar 35 as well as the somewhat challenging rhythms.
Sunday April 15 at about 2:00 at Woodroffe United Church: Our spring concert