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Although your specific chamber music part may not look challenging to you, especially compared to your current solo repertoire, the challenging work comes in putting the ensemble together!

It is expected and important that you will have prepared the notes, rhythms, bowings, fingerings, etc. before you come to Beaver Creek.  Getting help from your private teacher is highly encouraged and very important.  A good ‘test’ to see if you are properly prepared is to try and play through your part along with a professional recording of the assigned piece.

Prepare your personal part by marking in score study notes as in Score Study 101

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Imagine, showing up for your first rehearsal in beautiful Beaver Creek, Colorado, and after you tune, sit down, settle in, everyone lifts their bows to the strings ready to play…..and then nothing happens.  Who starts the piece?  What does it sound like?  AVOID THIS CATASTROPHY!

Show up having done your score study!  Here’s how:

  • Get a copy of your part AND the score of your pieces (the score has all parts aligned), get a pencil, and at least one recording; these days with YouTube, Freenapster.com, and iTunes, you should have no problem!
  • Listen to the recording watching just your personal part.  Then listen to the recording again, following along your part in the score.  Then listen to the recording following each of the other parts (a total of at least 5 listenings).  Bonus if you listen to a different recording each time!
  • Set up your part and the score side by side, number all the measures if they’re not already printed in your part.
  • In your personal part, circle all the places where there is a “grand pause”, where all four instruments have a rest at the same time, i.e. SILENCE
  • In your personal part, mark in where you have a “rhythmical buddy”, people who have the same rhythm as you for at least 3 beats.  You can do this by writing a small V1 (violin 1), V2 (violin 2), A (viola),  C (cello), B (bass), P (piano), G (guitar), or F (flute) above where you start having a passage together. Sometimes you may have multiple musical buddies, mark in everyone you have the same rhythm with!
  • In your personal part, write in “rhythmical cues”, before each of your entrances.  Over your rests, write in the rhythm of the melody line for at least 1 bar of rest.  If you have fewer rests than 1 bar, then write in all of the melody line’s rhythmic cues.  If you have trouble figuring out who has the melody, check out that trusty ol’ recording, or take the score to your lesson and ask your teacher.
  • Score Study 101 is an example of some score study to give you a hint of what this might look like.  In the provided score study (the viola part to the last movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 59 no 2), one of our faculty members has color-coded the viola part; brackets symbolize the beginning and end of viola relationships with “Rhythmic Buddies”.
    • The brackets and rhythms are color coded:
      blue = first violin
      red = second violin
      green = cello.
  • As long as you’re marking a copy (not an original part) feel free to use either system (V1/V2/A/C or color coding), the point is so that you know what other people have at every musical fork in the road.
  • Score study is a unique and VERY IMPORTANT step in preparing for any first chamber music rehearsal.  Getting all this nitty-gritty work out of the way before you meet up with your new ‘band’ allows for the real music making to take place, starting day 1!!!

Please contact us if you have questions.