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How to prepare sheet music for practice and rehearsals

Let's talk about sheet music. Before each semester starts, you should have received copies of the music from us - the librarian can help you with this. At rehearsals, both Russell and your coaches have things to tell you about the music (that's why we have rehearsals.) We want you to spend time writing those things (in pencil, please, so it can be changed!) onto your music, during, the rehearsal, so that you'll remember it. This makes those plastic sheet protectors, though neat and tidy and otherwise spiffy, not a good idea. Instead please punch holes in your music and put it in a binder.

The way pages are placed in the binder is important. Before punching those holes, lay out the first two pages on the table, next to each other the way they would be in the binder. Look at end of the page on the right - are there rests there so that the page can be turned successfully while continuing to play the piece?

  • If so, the holes should probably be punched on the right side of the first page, the left side of the second, and so on.
  • If not, look at the end of the page on the left. If there are rests there, then probably the first page should have its holes punched on the left, the second page on the right, and so on.
Before punching the holes, look at the rest of the piece and make sure you'll be able to turn pages successfully. Sometimes there just is no way to make those page turns (that's why you have a stand partner; the player sitting on the inside always turns the pages.) Do your best. Your coach will check to make sure you've got it right, and it can be fixed if necessary.

Boy, having done all that, it seems as though you should be done, right? No. We need for you to practice, and practice regularly. Take the music to your teacher for help. Try to do the things that your coach has suggested, and find other places in the music where the same advice might be applicable. And then practice again. Sheesh.

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