99 – 01 FAQ’s:


Q1: What level of preparation should I be willing to invest for day one rehearsal of a program?

  1. Your personal level of musicianship is broadened by curiously investigating the composer’s intent as you prepare a piece before day #1. While rehearsal #1 is a music reading/read-through session,  it is immensely helpful to “anticipate what might be coming” (10 minutes per piece to identify key/key changes, tempo, form, unusual markings). Principal string players may also be required to mark bowings, which takes a bit longer. By understanding and following the signposts written on the music sheet you have already introduced yourself to the works and can come prepared to lead or ask relevant questions about rhythm, bowing, or potential rough spots.
  2. Listening critically to a recording of the arrangement if available, while following the score (90 minutes), is ideal preparation for rehearsal #1. 
  3. Active listening with the part in front of you, perhaps even with your instrument, can help you uncover sections that don’t readily jump out as difficult.

By actively educating yourself on all of the guidance written on your music, you will begin to develop

  • better initial preparedness when meeting with the ensemble
  • more efficient rehearsal overall, because time is spent more on balance, transitions, and assembly of all parts
  • elevation of the ensemble rehearsal time to work on higher level tasks of expression and conveyance of emotion


Q2: What is my invested time to “Be Ready”?

SAO Performances last about 75 to 90 minutes.

Casual Listening: For a nine (9) piece program, if all recordings are available, 90 minutes to listen once to the recording gives you initial context and energy.

Active Listening: Ten (10) minutes of listening while reviewing the part (assuming 9 pieces of music) could be another 90 minutes of active listening and marking challenging areas which could need specific attention.



At SAO, we want you to have fun, learn and grow. Growth can happen faster when you focus individually on your areas of improvement. With us, you WILL evolve. The time it takes for you to evolve also depends on your passion and effort outside of rehearsal. 

When you actively review all music prior to the first rehearsal, you are really training yourself for invitations to advanced performance opportunities. “Gigging” musicians demonstrate discipline to walk in knowing the parts well enough that:

  • The time and work in a rehearsal becomes less about the fundamentals of music
  • Most ensemble rehearsal effort is in the adjustments, such as balance and expression and transitions, relevant to polishing the performance.

Personal evolution of musicianship is in part, about delivering the performance up to a certain standard, in the afforded amount of time.


Q4: Isn’t the music interpretation of the composer’s markings the conductor’s job to lead? Why should I spend the time when the conductor is going to guide me based on their training?

ANS: Follow the conductor. When you advance your individual skills, following the Conductor becomes easier and quicker. You enable (or disable) the conductor from advancing the ensemble, based on how well you understand and execute your individual part. The ensemble moves uphill to a performance, like a long train with many cars seeking its destination. When all of the cars are ready to roll at higher speed, the conductor can adjust the throttle and arrive in style.