Are you paying attention to all the details?

Professionalism comes from attention to details. That's why in theatre, people rehearse for three weeks, spending many hours focusing on details: dynamics, diction, spacing, steps, etc.

And then comes in the band. And they get only two rehearsals, maybe three if they're lucky. Many theatres struggle money wise, and a quick (and bad) answer is to cut the hours of rehearsal for the musicians.

But after all that time making sure to get every detail perfectly right, why risk it all by not giving the musicians the time they need to pay as much attention to details?

The same way the rest of the world isn't able to see the details, to realize that all dancers' arms are at the same level or not, most theatre people can't tell if the musicians are phrasing that line exactly the same, or if the balance between instruments is exact, etc. And because many theatre people are in charge of theatres, the answer to financial tightness is to reduce the amount of rehearsals for the band because they'll always sound alright no matter what.

When I've mentioned in anticipation the need for extra rehearsals, I've had producers or directors tell me: "oh, those musicians are real pros, they learn really fast, you'll see."

Does it mean that the three-week rehearsal period for the actors is only there because the actors are NOT "real pros?" That they learn slowly? That's insulting.

Actors could get a show up and running in one week. They could fake their way through it, just like musicians are forced to do. But actors and musicians alike wouldn't get to the level they know they could be at if they had a proper amount of rehearsal.

How tight the musicians are impacts the entire show, and influences all the details that have been worked on by the actors. Musicians can be the  best at their instrument, they still can't guess what the right tempo is for each song without rehearsal. And if tempi aren't right, all those carefully crafted dance steps won't go very far.

The same people who say that the musicians are great and don't need much rehearsal time are the first people to complain and blame the music director when the tempo isn't perfect or when the balance isn't quite right.

Well, guess what people? Details don't happen on their own. Not for actors, not for musicians. No matter how pro they all are. If you don't give the band enough time to rehearse and you're wondering why they're not tight, the only person you can blame is yourself.


Picture from http://www.hodgepodgegarage.com/

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