Rehearsing Full Orchestras with Confidence
While attending the American String Teachers Association National Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a clinic was presented over having Full Orchestras at the middle and high school level. Knowing that this is a conversation had among both administration and teachers alike, sharing key points from the presentation seemed beneficial to all who are interested. Dr. Laurie C. Williams, UTSA Department of Music, lead the session with a number of great points for new teachers, for experienced teachers who have already been teaching Full Orchestra, and teachers who are interested in beginning a Full Orchestra program. Below are remarks that really stood out.
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“Rehearsing Full Orchestras with Confidence”
Why have a Full Orchestra?
- Access to quality literature
Opportunities for wind/percussion students to gain ensemble skills
Boosters performer confidence
Unique experience that often does not occur outside of collegiate musical experience
- Visibility of the Arts
Represents two fine arts classes with one ensemble
Social aspect for students
Professional Development of faculty growth
Increased quality time on instruments for all involved
3. Background Necessary and Planning Included
Carefully consider schedule
Plan time to rehearse winds/percussion separate from the strings
Assistance is helpful
Program rep that is both accessible and exciting
Must know them!
Translations of instrument names are important to notate
Check parts BEFORE giving them out to students
Conducting a band is different than conducting an orchestra—know what each need
“If you wait until your orchestration is perfect, you’ll never do full orchestra”
Register is key in voicing and intonation
Placement in rehearsal and performance is important for overall sound
Substitutions- remain as close to the timbre called for in the score
6. Programming and the Community
Variety is good
Be specific with wants and needs
Observe rehearsals from other groups or community orchestras