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This module represents the beginning of the first rehearsal, including how to plan the rehearsal, the selection of repertoire for the first rehearsal, how to begin and end the rehearsal and suggestions for opening exercises.

A rehearsal plan

A breakdown of the rehearsal plan would be something like the following:

1. Seat the choir and distribute the music.

2. Make a few brief remarks, as appropriate.

3. Use exercises for three to five minutes.

4. Read first piece of moderate difficulty and rehearse more thoroughly at least one passage musically.

5. Read the second piece, which should also be easy material, unison if necessary, or easy two-, three-, or four-part music.

6. A three to five minute break to be used for additional announcements, if necessary.

7. Read part of a third piece, which could be of greater difficulty.

8. Save enough time to return to the piece that contained the section that was rehearsed. If the entire piece can be done with some success, sing all of it. If not, use the section that was polished somewhat, to end the rehearsal. It is important to end this rehearsal on a positive level. The last thing the singers should have on their minds as they leave should be a musical sound, at least some realization that the choir can produce a good sound. They will know that they have accomplished something and will be excited because of it. Do not end the rehearsal with sight-reading or with too many announcements. It will be more beneficial to end the rehearsal singing than to end it talking. Keep the rehearsal moving by having all announcements well planned so there is no stumbling around on the part of the director. Know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. Be sure that the impression you give the singers is one of careful planning, organized leadership, and musical competency.

Selection of repertoire

One of the most difficult tasks is the selection of music for this first rehearsal. This is particularly true if you are new in the school. Even though you have auditioned the students, it will be difficult to ascertain exactly their full capabilities. If the situation is such that auditions are not held prior to the first rehearsal, the situation is even more difficult. It is imperative that there be a variety of repertoire available during the first rehearsal, including easy and difficult music, sacred and secular, and accompanied and unaccompanied.

The quality of the singers will not have changed between the audition and the first rehearsal. Keep in mind the level of students that you placed in the choir as you select the music for the first rehearsal. Too often, directors ignore the facts that were apparent at auditions and choose literature that the students are simply not capable of singing. A reason usually given is that, "I wanted to challenge them" or "I wanted them to know that the choir will sing harder music with me than they did before." These immature approaches to the selection of repertoire, of course, will cause many problems.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Choral techniques. OpenStax CNX. Mar 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11191/1.1
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