A wonderful return to full rehearsal last night with an attendance of over 30 members. We have a number of members currently on our sick list for a variety of maladies and I ask that you keep them in your thoughts as well as letting me know of any contact you have to ensure they are being supported.

It was also great to have some new faces in our ensemble to start the year, my thanks to those who have encouraged them to attend and the band membership for making them feel at home.

To our playing, generally we are maintaining our high standard and focussing on our concert is the main goal of rehearsal (we may know more about the state contest shortly). However it has become increasingly obvious there is a deficit in LISTENING….. to me the question is always: “how do you listen” and “what do you listen for”, so here is a brief explanation:

There are two basic types of listening that we employ daily, passive and active.

  • Passive listening is basically being aware of the sound around us, for example Harold says the same things over and over again and we sagely nod and go about our merry way. This is passive listening, we are aware that someone said something and it applies to us but we haven’t interpreted it or stored it away.
  • Active listening is when we seek out the sound source we want to hear and analyse it then respond to it….. the example here would be to actively listen for another instrument playing the same melody as you and then strive to copy it exactly so the melody sounds as one or that the part played by your section has the same phrasing even though you may be in harmony. We can turn our active hearing on by challenging yourselves to listen for a particular instrument or section. My way of describing that is to listen diagonally across the ensemble specifically to identify the instrument sound furthest from you. Try it – it works!.

The second part of listening is of course what to listen for; partly listen to yourself to make sure you are playing in the right pitch and right volume and the rest of the time you are listening to the ensemble to ensure you are blending….. those in medicine would understand the 4 R’s of medication, this is the musical version…. Right Part, Right Pitch, Right Dynamic and Right Place……. again it works

A last comment on our playing: Look at how the notes are grouped (triplets must feel like three even syllables one-an-a). Now look at when you move: is it on the beat or in between the beat? By subdividing the beats into “1 an 2 an 3 an 4 an” etc you can place the movement of faster notes easily. Note that Harold mentioned last night the release on beat 4, it wasn’t on beat 4 but on the “And” of beat 4 etc.

Let’s keep up the great work team.