WISE – The Second Rehearsal and Recording

It’s over!

No, not the project. The project’s a long way from over. But arguably the largest single part of my project has now been completed: the recording of my piece for string orchestra.

If there was one thing that I consider most important about what I got of this rehearsal/recording session was the fact that I ran a full 45 minute rehearsal entirely by myself. Our orchestra director chimed in with helpful tips here and there, but I was the one on the podium the entire time, at the center of attention of the entire orchestra.

It takes many years of specialized education and enduring dedication to be a music teacher. I got to experience a slice of how it feels during those 45 minutes. Standing in front of almost 70 of my peers, I asked a lot out of them. Even though the words that came out of my mouth may have been “violins, please play this measure in time,” or “violas, you can definitely be louder there,” what I was actually asking them to do was to give 100% of their effort to the task of making music together. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Without the orchestra’s patience, my preparation, and our mutual respect, we could not have produced a recording at the end of the 45 minutes.

The recording was in fact produced and I am currently in the stages of putting it together with the video of me conducting. For those of you who wish to hear the recording or see the video, come to my presentation on June 11th at noon! The venue is yet to be determined, but that is where I will be premiering the finished product.

In the meantime, I plan to have a MIDI-sampled version of the piece for people to listen to up here on my blog. Keep a look out for it, coming soon!

WISE – The First Rehearsal

It went well.

Not to be anticlimactic, but it really did. From the moment I declared the first draft of the string orchestra piece finished, I had started thinking about rehearsing the piece. Which measures would pose problematic to which players? Which sections are particularly hard? Where will they drag? Will my conducting be clear? Will I have to cue the basses there? All of these questions ran through my mind, and I scribbled them down on the first draft score.

Then I sent the piece into my mentor/orchestra director for her approval. She caught a few note errors that I had failed to catch, and warned me to keep an eye out for some specific things during rehearsal, many of which I had already anticipated.

The time came and I stepped up to the podium to rehearse the orchestra. The first few measures were a little tough, due to a combination of keeping tempo and the orchestra getting used to me as a conductor. But we soon locked in and things went smoothly from then on.

Difficult rhythms such as the duple-triple switch went surprisingly well, as did the dynamics of the forte sections. Some anticipated difficulties such as hearing the crisp bass line or the viola syncopation were present, along with some tuning issues in chromatic passages, but these are all things that can be fixed.

It’s not to say that there aren’t revisions to be made before the next rehearsal; I’m already hard at work on those changes. But the orchestra seemed to receive the piece quite well, and I’m looking forward to recording it.

WISE – Flying By (A Quick Update)

As my project nears its final stages, progress is flying by quickly. I’ll do my very best to capture and document everything.

First and foremost, the orchestral piece is complete (see timeline). More specifics about the piece itself are soon to come.

The piece was completed just in time for the first planned rehearsal with the orchestra, and the first rehearsal went quite well. After the first few minutes of shaky playing, the orchestra ran through the rest of the piece much more smoothly than I had expected. More to come on the first rehearsal as well.

Now it’s time for me to make revisions/edits to the piece using the feedback I received during the rehearsal and prepare for the second one.