Should I practice my concerto before orchestra rehearsal?

May 21, 2015, 8:24 AM · I've heard some conflicting advice on this topic:

When I was school, I was told things like "Take advantage of every moment you have to be practicing," and "If you're not sleeping, you should be practicing."

And when I was in school, I usually had a violin concerto I was working on. If I had 10 or 15 minutes before orchestra rehearsal started, it only made sense to practice that before rehearsal started....which everybody else was doing as well.

After getting out of school and into some gigging orchestras, I quickly learned that this is highly frowned upon.

concerto

And so, in my effort to de-mystify some of these unspoken orchestral rules, here is a short video explaining what I've learned:

Be well and practice well,
-Michael O'Gieblyn

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Replies

May 21, 2015 at 11:16 PM · It is frowned upon, not sure why but some really dislike it. Another problem is should one practice difficult bits in the part especially if one has not mastered them yet, of course one wants to play them better in rehearsal but advertizing to everyone that one cannot play them yet - not a good idea...

May 22, 2015 at 10:59 AM · Mark, I don't see how practicing. difficult spots from your orchestra part is bad. I don't think it is advertising that you haven't learned it yet (unless you really didn't). Why do you keep practicing over and over your solo repertoire? It is because if you do not, you are going to forget it. And lets face it, you play your solo rep for a long time and for orchestra you prepare on a weekly basis, or in fact you have much less time to master some difficult passages. Why is it wrong to check if you still remember what you learned at home? Also, often you are using a different part from your practice part, which means it could have different page turns, and some markings that other people put in your music that might not help you but disturb you.

Anyway practicing a concerto in full volume is annoying, in fact anything in full volume is - as almost everybody is playing at the same time so you barely hear yourself anyway. Many people use mutes to practice on stage before rehearsal. I think it is nice and considerate .

May 22, 2015 at 03:47 PM · doing anything at full volume is rather rude before a rehearsal. It means everyone else either has to keep silent or also wham away loudly. Full volume IS showing off; whatever you play quietly isn't.

May 22, 2015 at 04:53 PM · I'd recommend a soft round of scales and hitting the difficult spots in the orchestra music. Warming up, in other words, not hot-dogging.

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