On Talking in Rehearsals

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At various times I have been asked about talking in rehearsals. While when I was on the faculty at Brevard we were encouraged to talk to students in ensembles (performing together) in the form of mentoring/teaching (more on that in a minute), the short answer is don’t. Reasons include

  • The conductor finds it annoying
  • People sitting around you may find it annoying
  • It comes across as unprofessional
  • You come across as not being on top of your job it the talk gets too chatty.

I think what happens is people get comfortable with the habit of chatting in lower level groups. Pros don’t talk much at all in rehearsal unless it really is necessary. Your job is to do your job and to do it efficiently. You can chat on break.

Sometimes things need said but on first horn in particular there can be a danger of coming across wrong when you are barking out stuff to the horn section. Trust your colleagues that they are professional enough to figure out how to match or play that D in tune or whatever, and if they can’t get it together find another time to talk, no need to make other section mates “lose face” out on stage and on the spot.

Returning to Brevard, when on the faculty there I did not talk much to students or colleagues in rehearsal either. Mostly I needed to concentrate and do my job, talking in this context distracted me, and there would be plenty of time to talk out anything performance related that needed talking out on break or in a lesson.

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