BEFORE COMING TO THE WORKSHOP
In order for everyone to get maximum benefit out of the Workshop, it is vital that you come prepared. We have used our best judgment in assigning you works that are challenging but within your abilities; your responsibility now is to the other players in your two groups. Study not only your parts, but the quartets as a whole, from the score. Learn your parts carefully, taking them to a teacher or coach if necessary. You should be able to play your parts through, along with a recording, before you come to the Workshop, even if not every note is perfectly in place. It's all about the ensemble, and your six other partners will be depending on you. Many of our musicians try to have sessions on their assigned pieces with other players before arriving (or even with each other if logistically possible).
To "come prepared" also means that you are flexible. Your fingerings and bowings, whether they came from a teacher, your own practice, or the printed part, may need alteration for the good of the group and its interpretation. You should of course listen to recordings of your repertoire, but you should not insist on something in rehearsal simply because you heard some famous group do it; all musical decisions must be made by the four of you, in consultation with your coach.
You will be doing five hours of supervised playing during each of the three full days of the Workshop, which is a professional-level schedule. And every evening your colleagues will want to do free-lance playing as well. Thus, you really want to build up your stamina before arriving; gradually increase your playing time, starting a month ahead, so that you won't run out of gas, and you (and those depending on you) can get the full benefit of the program.
PREPARING YOUR PARTS
You must also arrive with your parts properly marked. With the availability of public-domain music free through the internet, you can access most standard repertoire immediately without everyone having to buy sets of parts. And since it will often be the case that there is more than one edition in use within a group, it is particularly important that you begin with correctly-marked music. Once you receive your assignments, it's a good idea to contact your colleagues to discuss editions and any possible issues.
You must have bar numbers at the beginning of each line of music so that you’re ready to work (printed rehearsal letters/numbers are not sufficient). This is mandatory. We cannot waste precious time -- rehearsal or coaching -- trying to find starting spots. If your part doesn't have bar numbers, enter them yourself according to the following rules, which we have adapted from Eve Cohen of Bennington:
- Count only measures with downbeats. In other words, count only those measures where, if you were counting out loud, you would start with "one". Watch for these situations:
- At the start of a movement, check to see that you have a full bar; i.e., if there is no downbeat (a "pick-up bar"), don't count it.
- If a measure is divided across a double bar, across a repeat, across a change of clef, key, or meter, or from one staff system to the next, be sure not to count it twice. Don't count subdivisions within measures marked by dotted lines.
- If a change of time signature results in a mid-work "pick-up bar", don't count that, either.
- Do count the final downbeat of the piece, even if the measure is incomplete.
- At a repeat with first and second endings, don't count the first ending. In general, count only the last in a set of endings.
- Count trios, codas or variations in continuity with the preceding printed measures, even if they are not played in that sequence; do not restart from “1”. Count tacet parts in trios or variations in accordance with the score.
- Q: What if one part has first and second endings and another does not?
- Q: What if a repeat is written out in one part?
1a) Checking Measure Counts
If you do hand-number your part, it's very important to double-check your work. Look for your piece at one of these two links, which give total measure counts for all the standard repertoire. The first link is here, and the other is here. At the first meeting of your group, make sure all parts agree, number-wise. Also, it sometimes happens that one edition of the piece will have rehearsal numbers while another has letters (in the same spots). If, at the initial meeting, you find that this is the case, take the time then and there to enter the alternate rehearsal marks in your part as well.
Bad page-turns are an irritant to everyone, but it is solely your responsibility to solve yours before you arrive. We do not have ready access to a photocopier at the Workshop, and we cannot waste coaching time dealing with the problem. So please be considerate of your colleagues, and figure out whatever is needed for a straight-through performance ahead of time.
Whenever you have a longish rest, or are holding a note for many measures, you should write in cues for whichever voice precedes your next entrance. You should also mark in instruments with whom you share important lines, so you know whom to watch. This simple expedient saves a lot of rehearsal/coaching time.
Lastly, please print out and/or study our official guide for sight-reading and pick-up ensemble playing in general.