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Palen Music Center Quick Note
Monday, February 3, 2014

Palen Music Center is dedicated to helping children experience excellence, personal growth, and joy through involvement in music. We carry out this mission by supporting area band directors through weekly service, support, educational programs, and quality products. This weekly Quick Note newsletter strives to highlight topics that are immediately helpful in the classroom. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.

Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues!

Practice, Rehearsal, Performance
by Ken Crisp

One of the most challenging things we as music educators face is teaching our students to understand the concept of good preparation. One of the ways to accomplish this is to break this concept down into what might be the simplest terms. The first, and possibly the most obvious, is practice. By definition “practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it.”

We depend on our section leaders to see that each player in the section is prepared and have practiced their individual parts. In may cases the other players in the section are not answering the challenge and letting the leaders carry the load. It is important that all students understand how important practice is to the rehearsal process. There are some things that we can do as educators to impress upon our students how important their individual contribution is to the entire group, or just as important, how much their lack of contribution is detrimental to the group. Sectional rehearsals and playing tests will expose those players who are not contributing as much as they could be, but the real challenge is changing attitudes and behaviors to benefit the entire group. The most successful ensembles have found ways to make that happen.

The second concept is rehearsal. By definition, rehearsal is “the act of practicing in preparation for a public performance.” It is very hard to have a successful rehearsal when many of the players in the ensemble have not gotten past the practice stage. This distinction must be made very clear. Practice is done on the individual musician’s time, not on rehearsal time of the entire ensemble. Musicians need to be individually prepared in order for music to be truly made in rehearsal.

The final product is the performance. A simple definition of performance is “an entertainment presented before an audience.” The definition simply states the act of performance. The success of the performance will be determined by the individual preparation of each musician, the successful rehearsal of the entire ensemble, and by the audience in attendance. We have all attended performances that have excited us and moved us emotionally, but we have also attended those performances that have left much to be desired. One thing that I think we can all agree is that quality preparation usually results in quality performance. Each player in the ensemble is charged with preparing properly to insure the success of that performance.

Ken Crisp has a Bachelor of Science in Education (Music) from the University of South Dakota. He has served as a music educator for nineteen years in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. He has been with Palen Music since 2003.You can reach Ken by email at [email protected].

Armless Child Plays Trumpet

Born without arms, ten-year-old Jahmir Wallace makes his dreams of playing the trumpet a reality. Click the image below to view the story.


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