The proper way to stop a pianist

Stopping a pianist during a music theatre rehearsal or a voice lesson is not something many people put much thought into, until inevitably, the pianist stops too early or doesn't stop at all.

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid.
  1. Being unsure: If you're not sure if you want to stop or not, and you kind of say something but not really, some of your performers will stop and some will keep on going and it will be a mess.

  2. Speaking softly: Many directors will start walking up to the cast in the middle of a song, and will say something. Everyone will know that they're supposed to stop, and nobody will understand why the pianist is still playing.

    That's because the pianist is usually busy looking at the score and did not see the director walk. It's also because the piano is loudest to the person closest to it, which means that the pianist can't hear people if they are speaking at a regular volume a few feet away. To stop a pianist from playing, make sure to use your loud voice.

  3. Turning to the pianist: Some people turn to the pianist in the hopes that that will stop him or her, but not only is this not assertive enough, it also makes the pianist wonder if they're doing something wrong.
 The way to properly stop a pianist is to pick one of the following options, and to stick with it. Consistency is key to success here.
  1. Talking: many directors and teachers mean for their talking to interrupt the song, while others like to give vocal directions during the song. Either one is fine if done consistently, but if you like to do both, you need to use a clear word for the pianist to know when you want him or her to stop playing.

  2. Pick a word: It doesn't matter what that word is, as long as it's always the same. Best in the music world is "stop," and in the theatre world "hold." Some common words that do not work are "wait," "hey," or "hum."
    Pianists don't mind being stopped, but they do mind not being sure of what you want. Be assertive, loud, and clear, and your pianist will be grateful. 

      Picture fromhttp://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/2526/red-boosts-attention-blue-creativity


      1. Well said!! Miss working with you at Bach :)

      2. Hi Sue! Thank you so much for your nice comment! I miss you guys too! And the get together after each rehearsal, that was a lot of fun!


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