Our rehearsal started in great form with some tone-building exercises designed to balance the band.

We need to change our perception of dynamics (there, I’ve said the “D” word) – for most of our playing careers, we are told that “Dynamics = Volume”, and volume means playing louder or softer. In reality, it is strength and change that makes the dynamics work. For example, we all know coffee, but there are so many varieties of coffee to choose from, and you can then select how strong you want your coffee to taste. This can change from performance to performance, or occasion to occasion, but it is still coffee – and the strength is determined by the complete unit, not just some parts of it. In a musical sense, mf is the overall dynamic of the ensemble, no matter how many instruments join in. This means that to maintain the sound, you may need to play softer than what you think (and vice versa for higher markings) so that the overall dynamic is maintained.

So too is the movement between dynamics – I know I have said this before, but when facing a crescendo, the first note should be quite than before, creating room to grow, and vice versa for diminuendo.

As we grow as an ensemble – both in numbers and ability – these changes and attention to detail become more apparent and important, as it breathes life into the sound we make.

I’m looking forward to a positive year of being able to perform with an audience, as well as using the skills we have learned as a consequence of restrictions.

Let’s enjoy our playing!