Bring your rehearsal plan into the digital world
Only a little extra prep makes all the difference.
Online meetings have forced chapter leaders to better prepare for each rehearsal. Here are some practical but critical pre-meeting tips.
WRITE REHEARSAL PLANS IN GOOGLE DOCS
This allows chapter leaders to literally work off the same page while developing each plan; the final plan is then shared with the whole chapter. Every element in the plan has a link associated with it. If it’s a warm-up video, include a YouTube link. If it’s a tag, link to its page on barbershoptags.com.
PREPARE PDFs OF THE REHEARSAL’S MUSIC
This is similar to maintaining a printed copy in our guest book. Double-check whether anyone in the rehearsal doesn’t have a copy and needs to look at any of the music before we sing each piece. If they do, share it on the screen while singing along to the learning track.
Email the group with both a link to the Google Doc and a PDF of the Plan early in the week before your rehearsal. Also, share a View Only link to the Google Doc on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, inviting anyone who wants to join in singing.
MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT ZOOM LINK
Rehearsals are set up as a recurring meeting every week, so the link never changes. Include the rehearsal link in the Google Doc twice. At the top, have it as a link in bold red capital letters that says, “CLICK HERE TO JOIN REHEARSAL.” Then in the footer, include the standard Zoom link with the phone numbers to let members call in.
SHARE THE ZOOM PHONE NUMBERS
Several of my members don’t have the ability to connect via a smartphone or computer. I even have one member who combines the two: He doesn’t have a webcam, so he calls in for audio, but he connects his computer into the Zoom so he can still see everything we’re doing.
ORGANIZE YOURSELF BEFORE EACH MEETING
Get all the audio files in a playlist in order, ready to go. Then make sure to have a separate window of the web browser open with all the videos, images, and other things needed, each in their own tab with the tabs arranged in rehearsal order.
There will always be that point in the rehearsal when the chorus watches the director stare at their computer screen, but anything you can do to help minimize that will make for a smoother rehearsal for all singers!
About the Author
Dr. Gus Sterneman, Musical Director for Heart of Texas Chorus, is a singer, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist with a passion for stagecraft, A/V work, and Lutherie.
And coffee. Lots of coffee.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of The Harmonizer.