What do you guys actually do to rehearse???
A valid question I have gotten more than once.
We’re musicians creating music, so the most technical breakdown of what we do during rehearsal could be something like: Interpreting the notes on the page as specific sounds to balance between the timbres of our instruments using techniques deemed most effective to create the desired combinations of overtones.
While that is accurate, the beautiful word in question here is “desired”. Because that’s the human part with soul. What affects our desire day to day? That’s where the real work happens.
After the coffee/tea is made, this is an idea of what happens:
We’re just people, living in this world like everyone else. Current events, natural disasters, political uproars; they affect us all each day to varying degrees. We have personal triumphs and hardships that create a specific hue for any given moment. We listen to these things.
We remember that all these composers are (or were) also people with the same spectrum of emotions and human interactions to inform us while we interpret the old diaries they left us in form of written music.
We remember that the two of us are people with separate lives and encounters! Even though many of our waking hours are spent working or conversing about work, we do have time apart. If there is something that is affecting us that particular day, coloring our mood, we take the time to acknowledge it.
Being two separate people, we remember that communication is not just about listening, but about speaking up. Never do we assume the other can read our minds or intentions. After years of missed communications, we have found this method of non-assumption to be a much less abrasive way to approach any topic, ranging from business matters to musicality to event planning.
Sometimes speaking can be scary! But equally we depend on each other to audibly say if there is something that doesn’t feel right. We recognize that speaking up deepens the perspective for our group as a whole.
This can be as technical as observing an intonation tendency or a habit of rushing, or asking for a specific breath or voicing for support. It can be as conceptual as asking for some time off or for some extra meetings to discuss future projects. It can straight up be disagreeing with the other person’s musical choice because of some clue in the score.
Maybe this is all too cyclical, but we internalize this new information, navigating ways to apply it to our original ideas. We listen to how our performance changes, if we solved any issue the other person voiced. If not, we go back to step 1. And so it goes.