On and on with the repetition

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In the days when I led bands, it was always interesting to hear the musicians from a French speaking African background referring to a rehearsal as a repetition. Depending on the techniques used by various artistes, repetition could be regarded as a key element in rehearsals.

Anyone who has explored the full range of performing arts should be aware that approaches to rehearsal are diverse.  Performers who stick to just one genre for most of their careers tend to be mystified by the available options in a given situation, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

One associate of many years standing could not understand when I explained that he was supposed to work on his own after rehearsals, to sort out any areas of personal growth or development. He was used to a work model where the band was placed on a retainer, to rehearse the same music together for weeks or even months on end.

In other situations, people in leadership positions were not conscious of the fact that young and emerging artists need to be coaxed into learning about the most appropriate ways to get the work done. Training can give artists many tools, but everyone is still on a learning journey, even after being in the business for a long time.

The idea of “giving notes” after a rehearsal run is easily accepted by actors, dancers and others who use their bodies as their main instruments. For some reason, there are large numbers of musicians who find it difficult to take this rehearsal technique on board. They tend to take the note as a criticism of their personalities.