Unlocking the Power of Focused Rehearsals

Unlocking the Power of Focused Rehearsals

Embracing the Triage Approach

Ah, the joys of musical theater rehearsals – where the project is too big, and the rehearsal time available is far too short. If that doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, I don’t know what does! But hey, that’s the reality we often face, my friends. As a seasoned musical director, I’ve learned that in those times of crunch, we need to employ some strategic rehearsal management techniques to keep our heads above water.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no expert in anything earth-shattering. But I do have a simple little strategy that has served me well over the years, both in my instrumental and vocal rehearsals. It’s what I like to call the “triage method,” and it’s all about prioritizing and adjusting on the fly.

You see, in the medical profession, triage is all about sorting patients based on the urgency of their needs. And I’ve found that the same principle can be applied to our rehearsals. When the clock is ticking and the to-do list is a mile long, we need to get laser-focused on the essentials.

As a local church music minister, I’m responsible for organizing and leading music rehearsals in preparation for our weekly worship services. With a whole team of musicians involved and songs that need to be learned at a rapid pace, the rehearsal time can be a real challenge. But that’s where the triage method comes in clutch.

Identifying the Trouble Spots

The first key to this approach is to have a solid understanding of which songs or passages are likely to be the most difficult or time-consuming. I make sure I’ve got those potential trouble spots well in the forefront of my mind before we even start rehearsing.

It’s kind of like when you’re studying for a big exam – you know you’re going to need to spend extra time on that one topic that’s always been a bit tricky for you. Same idea here. I want to make sure I’m allocating the appropriate amount of rehearsal time to the areas that are going to need the most attention.

As the rehearsal progresses, I’m constantly evaluating and adjusting. Sometimes, I’ll find that certain elements are coming together more quickly than I had anticipated, while others are taking a bit longer. That’s where the triage magic really happens.

Setting the Minimum Standard

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not aiming for a bare-bones, mediocre performance. That’s not the goal at all. But I do have a baseline for the minimum standard that the completed song should meet. That doesn’t mean we’re content with just hitting that minimum; it’s simply a starting point.

For us, some of those non-negotiables include things like basic notes, rhythms, intros, and endings. The idea is to get a very basic but correct version of the song blocked out as soon as possible. That way, we’ve got the foundation in place, and we can start building on it.

Prioritizing and Recalibrating

As the rehearsal progresses, I’m constantly making decisions about how to allocate our time. This is where the triage method really comes into play. I might have a musician come to me with a brilliant idea for a cool musical addition, but if implementing it would mean we don’t have enough time to cover the essential elements, then I have to make the tough call to put it on the back burner.

Now, I know this can be frustrating for the team, because their idea might be genuinely fantastic. But as the leader, it’s my responsibility to keep us focused on the primary objectives. My standard response is something like, “That’s a great idea! Let’s get through everything we need to accomplish first, and if we have time, we can circle back to it.”

Of course, there are times when an idea is so good that we have to make an adjustment to the plan and find a way to make it work. But that’s a call I have to be willing to make as the director. I have to constantly recalibrate those priorities based on how the rehearsal is flowing.

Maintaining Flexibility and Trust

Keeping an open mind and building trust with your team is crucial when employing the triage method. You don’t want your musicians to feel like their creativity is being stifled or that their contributions aren’t valued.

That’s why I try to strike a balance – I’m always willing to listen to ideas and consider them, but I’m also clear about the fact that, as the leader, it’s my responsibility to keep us on track and focused on the primary objectives. And I find that if I’ve established a strong foundation of trust with my team, they’re generally pretty understanding when I have to make those tough calls.

The Importance of Discernment

At the end of the day, the triage method is all about discernment. It’s about being able to quickly assess the situation, identify the priorities, and make decisions that will lead to the greatest overall success. And yes, that sometimes means saying no to good ideas in the moment, even if they’re genuinely excellent.

But here’s the thing – I never forget that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate director of this whole process. I’m just the humble vessel, trying my best to steward the time and resources we have in a way that honors God and serves the needs of the team and the audience.

So, whether you’re a musical director, a worship leader, or just someone who’s trying to juggle a million things at once, I hope this triage approach can be a helpful tool in your arsenal. It may not be the most glamorous or cutting-edge strategy, but it’s one that’s served me well over the years. And hey, sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective, am I right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a rehearsal to run. Time to put the triage method into action once again!

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