Sunday, January 18, 2009

Great Rehearsal Techniques Article in AMT

Hey all you chamber music coaches--an article from a series on Collaborative Piano in the Oct./Nov. 2008 American Music Teacher has some great techniques for working with young chamber groups: Janice Wenger's Focusing the rehearsal: tips and tricks for students and coaches.  Ms. Wenger talks with chamber music luminaries Elinor Freer, Ann Harrell, Erica Ekert, and Judith Glyde on some of the techniques that they use in coachings to develop ensemble awareness. Here's Eastman faculty member Elinor Freer on a fascinating group warmup for chamber groups:
I like to have young ensembles do unison scale warm-ups. Doing just one at the start of a coaching or used as a break in the middle is a fun activity and gets students involved in making decisions about the music. It's also a great time to work on matching intonation and developing a group sound and pulse.

Students can pick the key (it's a good time to review key signatures!) and one or two different musical elements to incorporate. As they become more advanced, more elements can be included. These elements would include things like: articulation, dynamics, melodic shape, balance, character/mood, tempo or any tempo fluctuations such as ritard or accelerando.
Other exercises for innovative coaching covered in the article include breathing, setting tempi, ensemble dynamics, awareness, focused listening, rhythm games, and singing.

Previously on the Collaborative Piano Blog:

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