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Preparing for a Short Event (“Cello Festival”)

Hello Cello Enthusiasts! Through my own personal experience, and those of my colleagues, this blog post is for those who are interested in hosting their own Short Event/ Cello Festival. I hope this is a helpful insight for getting your musical ensemble prepared for any sort of event!

As with so many things in life, successful preparation for an activity has a lot to do with its likely degree of success.

Below are some things you will certainly want to consider.

  • Distribute the music in advance. Not everyone will practice in advance of the event, but enough will to make this worthwhile.

    • Perhaps you will want to provide the music electronically, to save money and to get the parts to the participants that much sooner.

    • Give them incentives to practice, such as by telling them something like, “we’ll play this piece only if it sounds great on the day of the concert. Please don’t spoil the piece for everyone by not looking at your part in advance.”

    • How do you know which part to send to any given person? Consider the possibility of providing them with a worksheet when they register to help them determine which part best suits them. For example, the sheet could include sample measures of the difficulty level that they can expect for each of the given parts.

  • Make arrangements to place strong players at the front and the back of each section! This may mean (1) using or preparing a standing ensemble in advance, or (2) contacting some strong players in advance to be sure they can commit in advance to playing particular roles at the event.

  • Mark the music thoroughly in advance, in order to save lots of time at the event. This includes not only bowings but recommended fingerings, measure numbers, specific tempo markings, or even cues for other parts just before a new entry.

  • Consider distributing and rehearsing from scores instead of parts. This approach:

    • Improves their score-reading skills, which can be very useful to them as musicians.

    • Can allow everyone to play any particular part that you want to isolate, instead of waiting while you work with just one section.

    • Can save on rehearsal time, since everyone can see everything that you are talking about and that others are playing.

    • Can, for similar reasons, help decrease the chances of calamities during the performance.

Disadvantages of rehearsing from scores are that there are more page turns and a greater number of copies to make, but, unless the piece is lengthy (i.e., more than about 4-5 pages), the benefits are well worth it.

For more tips and tricks to having success with your ensemble and the cello, please visit at There you will find videos, books, podcasts, and even more blog posts filled with information!

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