My Final blog of the year wow…we made it!

Last night was an excellent working rehearsal, highlighting the word of the century…DYNAMICS!!! officially the most used word in the musical dictionary I believe! It vital that we keep the standard we achieved in the run up to the state contest in place no matter what we are playing! Yes, even Christmas carols require our attention to detail. Dynamics are flexible levels of sound not a fixed volume so as players we can decide whether we play at the top of that volume level or at the bottom supporting the melody and its important that each person takes note of what is written under the staff and then couple it with what you can hear the rest of the ensemble is doing…… crescendos should start by getting quieter first so there is room to grow without losing intonation and tone.

The final word on Dynamics is my personal dislike….. its the concept the FORTE is loud…. it isn’t! forte means strong…… most players see forte and simply play louder whereas if you play as a section strongly without blasting, the sound is much fuller, warmer and richer and stronger….it might be a simple change of thinking but trust me, it works!.

The other two concepts we mentioned last night, are also important, “Breathe together, play together” is a phase I have heard many times in bands all over the world and it really works…. you have time to breathe during the preparatory beat and time to focus on that entry, yet all to often we delay that crucial breath for no good reason (Don’t worry I do it too!!!) but when we get the entry spot on and its supported right through the phrase, the sound takes on a new dimension and instantly creates interest. the final concept that I will leave you with, is the idea we floated during the percussion ensemble held prior to band rehearsal… it is two fold, firstly its about subdividing the beat and verbalising the phrase…. if you look at a difficult section of any work we do and break it down to where the beat lies its far easier to see how it works out but then if you can think of a poem or phrase that uses the rhythm you are working on it will become much clearer straight away. the other thing is always the golden chestnut of can we play it slower! rarely does this actually help in full rehearsal, it is important that you know how it will sound and the speed it will go and how it connects to the other pieces, you can slow it down in your home practice but that is so you are prepared for the speed. if we learn things at that slow rate, its actually a lot harder to speed them up later because our brains recall the slow speed rather than the other way around.

Finally, thank you to all our members for a year to forget and remember for a wide variety of reasons, if you can’t make our presentation celebration next week please try to get to one of the 2 remaining carols gigs on the website, but if not, then enjoy a well earned break, a merry Christmas and please join us in 2021 without restrictions