00-01 – Musicianship Development; Introduction

Master Your Skills

Your here! Great. Welcome! You are interested in developing your skills and we at the St. Augustine Orchestra want to provide assistance.

“The mission of the SAO is to create and support a highly respected symphony orchestra, performing great works with passion and excellence, and to be an indispensable partner to our community, providing enrichment through inspiring concerts, music education programs, and access for all in accordance with the articles of incorporation filed with the Florida Secretary of State.” By-laws adopted 2018.

We are striving for increasing excellence in performance preparation and performance delivery. 

Member development is a component of that goal.

Our general philosophy: Organizations which form around music, primarily exist to rehearse and perform. Social organizations exist for personal connection around a common experience. The Orchestra is a hybrid. We share the experience of developing our musicianship, while in the process we develop life-long relationships.


Orchestras that play a variety of music in classical, contemporary, pop, swing and other styles, strive to interpret and execute the composer’s scores “in the style of”, and with the clarity of, what our conductor interprets as the best possible representation of the music arrangement.

Here’s one key statement that summarizes the challenges and rewards of true musicianship which SAO strives to achieve:

Notation is not meant to be a visual form of tape recording. Notation is more similar to an architect’s plan for a building.

The architect’s plan does not actually depict every nail and bracket; some details are left up to the builder.”

Reading the notation for pitch accuracy is only a part of the challenge in what a conductor faces in rehearsal. To the extent we are prepared to read and play the NOTES correctly, the Conductor can develop our execution as a unit, to best represent the piece “in the style of” what the arranger and composer intended. If it were easy, anybody could do it. 

Welcome to the challenge! If you are on this page, you have decided you are up to the challenge of being a better musician.

The following pages are designed to guide you in how to warm up, practice, and interpret the music. The subject matter is extensive. And it is enough to fill volumes and create multiple higher education degrees in music theory, history, and performance. So here is at least, a collection of content which we hope will guide you to developing your musicianship. In the process, SAO hopes to achieve the following;

  1. Support for its members and enthusiasm for being part of our Organization.
  2. Partnership with you to develop your skills.
  3. More effective preparation for rehearsals, from sight reading to deeper development of each work to delight ourselves and our audiences.
  4. Guide you on your self-learning, and skill development journey.

Musicianship is a journey, not a destination. We hope you’ll enjoy the ride with us.

SAO Board of Directors; Artistic Development Committee