Our new seating plan has been enthusiastically received so far and at this point this will become our normal concert arrangement.
I would like to share with you the background work that went into its development, like everything I do, guesswork isn’t on the menu, but three things set me heading for change.
1 our front row was getting increasingly cramped as we keep growing (a terrific problem to face)
2 the centre of the band was become musically a roadblock…. it was a solid mass of sound that prevented other melodies coming through and it also contributed to a mass sound build up which may be hurtful to others hearing.
3 the need to shape and blend the section sounds with more accuracy
All these issues are caused by the growth and development of our band and the sound it produces, this is an exciting development and testament to your hard work.
With all these things in mind, I spent a couple of weeks looking at other bands and their seating plans, emailing and talking with colleagues about their preferences and why, then I sat with Harold and we worked it through, the result last night was staggering, for the first time in a long while I could sit in the back row yet hear everything! From the podium, the sounds blended much better and there was a separation between parts as required.
This new exposure, brings with it a couple of challenges for us as players…..firstly, there is nowhere to hide…. if your part has a part to play….we are going to hear it, so that’s where you need to concentrate your home practice ( a subtle example is trumpet 2 at letter I of phantom) secondly, the need to mark your scores because dynamics become much more effective in this situation but also mark in key changes, accidentals or anything you might forget….there is now nowhere to hide!!!
Finally a word on tuning, as many know, I am loath to use electronic means to tune a band, but here is the one exception, a whip round with the tuner so we get a baseline intonation, you can do that yourself before rehearsal starts with your own tuner or free tuner app on your phone, however remember that tuning and intonation are not finite, they change as the evening progresses, reeds get wet, lips tire, the room temperature changes, our hearing changes….all these things change the way we perceive our tuning, so it is vital we stay alert to each other and try to fit your sound into the sound of your section and regularly check your tuning
Thanks for a great rehearsal