A Successful Rehearsal Idea

During my senior high band rehearsal today, I decided to ask the winds to get up and move their seats next to an instrument that is not the same as theirs. I could not believe the difference in the sound of the group. It was almost immediate. The group sounded more balanced, more in tune, and overall just had a warmer sound. I think there are a few things to take away from this: 1. The band sounded more balanced because of the actual physical set-up; instruments were in different places, and thus the sounds were mixed together. 2. It forced students to listen to other parts of the band; it was really an exercise in listening. In order to hear the rest of their section, they had to “listen across” the band, and, they listened to other parts in the group that they probably did not hear before. 3. The students really enjoyed sitting by different folks for a change, and it really livened up the rehearsal. 4. Surprisingly, students that had been having trouble with certain parts of the music suddenly seemed to play fine on their own, when they were away from their section. Had they been “hiding” and just following along this whole time? Hmmm…

Anyway, I will definitely do this again. Not every day, because I think it would loose it’s novelty, but I would like to do it on a more regular basis. This gives me some other thoughts too: If my group sounds better balanced in this configuration, why wouldn’t I have them sit like this at this week’s concert?? I am going to try it at our dress rehearsal and decide then. And, perhaps I should mix up the instrumentation in my marching band on the field, in order to achieve this more balanced sound. I know this is not traditional, but I wonder if anyone else mixes up their instrumentation for performances.

One thought on “A Successful Rehearsal Idea

  1. What a great idea! I currently teach at a small school with a band where the kids simply cannot hide behind others in their section (my largest non-percussion section only has two students in it). The students take ownership of learning the music as they don’t want to feel like the weakest link and end up playing better than they may have in a larger group. I’m interested to know what you did for the concert. Let us know!

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