1999 Region I AGO Convention
Worcester, Massachusetts    June 27-30, 1999

Rehearsal Tip - "I'll Be Back!"

During rehearsals, especially right before a performance or service, the conductor has a tricky balance to achieve for letting the music proceed for continuity and confidence sake vs. stopping too often to correct some last-minute problems. And, if you do not stop to correct something, you hope you'll remember to go back over it once you do stop. But what if there are several accumulated points you want to remember? It's messy and confusing to mark your score (somewhat permanently). In a pinch, sometimes I hold a finger over the measure that I want to return to, and wish for more hands if there are many places needing attention.

I've found that those little yellow "sticky notes" (officially called post-it notes) come to the rescue. Before a rehearsal, I peel off about 5 or 6 (of the smallest size you can buy) and affix them to the music stand or music rack, separated and sticking outward (hanging off the edge into the air) so I can grab onto them in a split second while directing or playing. The trick is to use one of the corners to "point" to the measure that you want to come back to. Then once we're stopped, I remove them as I discuss them with the choir or orchestra (or student). (If you want to take it to the next level, you could color-code: yellow for note problems, green for tempo related, pink for words, etc.) My folks can tell how well they're doing by how many stickies I reach for!

Will Sherwood, ChM, AAGO, is Director of Music and Organist at First Unitarian, Worcester, and tries not to be too stuck up with all those stickies!