Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Morning After

You might find this interesting . . . a conductor talks about what it feels like the morning after a great rehearsal:

David Griggs-Janower gives us this wonderful summation of "the morning after" a great evening rehearsal or a long teaching day:

A conductor, like a teacher in a classroom, is always "on" in rehearsal. Up, vibrant, alive, enthusiastic, making people glad to be there, making them work hard. Making them appreciate the repertory, from the large-scale greatness to the extraordinary subtleties. From the beauty to the intellectual conception. The greater the piece (like Bach’s St. John Passion), the greater the sheer amount of wonderful things to discover.

And every second on the podium you are doing at least three things at once in three different time zones: preparing by your gestures what’s coming next; showing in your hands, face and body what you want the sound to be like as it happens; and listening and reacting to what you just heard. And also planning ahead as you hear it how to fix what wasn't right. And deciding which things to fix, and whether to stop or not and fix now, as opposed to later, while you are doing all those other things. Because music happens in time, time is intrinsically involved all the, uh, time.

You never get to stop and breathe while conducting. If you do breathe, there are 70 people sitting there waiting for you to say something. And if you let them relax, some momentum is lost, some edge. You also have to plan your stops, to allow the relaxation when it's necessary, but avoid it when rehearsal momentum is needed.

And so on Wednesday mornings I wake up absolutely exhausted.

Fortunately there are some heavy-duty drugs available: I drink two cups of coffee!

Read the whole post here.

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