Turns out that Apple's Garageband is a good fit for rehearsals.
We are getting ready for our December concerts and it was definitely time to open some ears in the room. The kids think they know what to do and we do have most of the notes and rhythms figured out as individuals.
But working together? Not so good.
We have issues with blend, balance and phrasing. Some things that every audience member will notice if they aren't done well. They may not be able to tell you what the problem is, but they will notice that something is a little off.
So I set up my little Firewire mixer, fired up Garageband and created a recording set-up that would be as truthful as possible... no reverb, no tuning gimmicks, neutral mics, at about the distance where the audience will start in auditorium.
I also set the kids up with our state's adjudication sheet (for ideas to evaluate the work) and a couple question reflection sheet for each section of the band.
We recorded, played the piece back, gave each section a few minutes to discuss and write down what they liked, what they didn't and what they needed to do to improve. Record, playback, discuss, repeat.
The discussions were focussed. And the band made some rapid improvements. Each section had something to say and work on.
Will we do this ALL hour. Probably not. But I think each piece is going to get the treatment between now and the concert.
Recording your band in the process of learning their concert. Give it a try.
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