How to prepare for an orchestra rehearsal

Being prepared for an orchestral rehearsal will mean that you won’t be stressing about playing the notes, and can enjoy the experience of making music with a group of people! Here are some key tips to aid this process:


Listen to your pieces

Go onto Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube and make yourself a playlist of all the pieces you will be playing this term and listen to it in the background as you go about your day – on the train, as you do your homework or chores. By listening to your pieces, you will have a better understanding of the music as a whole, and this will inform the way you execute your part.


Practice your part

During rehearsal, as you come across tricky sections, put a little asterisk near it so that in your practice you know what to focus on.


The most obvious thing that you will need to practice are the notes and intonation. Make sure you have a good fingering and can confidently play the notes in tune

Look at details

Take the time to look closely at your music and make note of small details such as dynamics or articulation you may have missed upon sight reading. If one person doesn’t play these details in a concert, it will sound like no one did!


Use a metronome so you can ensure you can play the notes up to speed. Start slow and once you have perfected it at that speed, increase the tempo incrementally until you are up to speed. Not sure what speed to play at? Check the tempo marking on your music or ask your conductor.

Practice the mundane things

While you may think that rests and pizzicato don’t need your attention, these are often the things that fall apart the most quickly in a rehearsal. Practice sections with rests using a metronome so you can practice coming in at the correct time

Take it to your teacher

Any teacher at IWIM will be happy to help out with ensuring you can play your part. Don’t be scared to ask for help!


What to bring

  • Your instrument and necessary accessories (eg rosin, spare strings, reeds, valve oil, donut)
  • Music folder + music
  • Foldable music stand (if not provided by the venue)
  • Water bottle
  • A 2B pencil and eraser! This is the item that students most commonly forget – but it is essential to the rehearsal process! Without a pencil, none of the important notes made in rehearsal such as bowing or conducting changes will be written down and they will be completely forgotten the next week – making you wonder what was the point of attending that rehearsal at all? Make sure that it is 2B so that it can be clearly read, and never use pen!!