How Hard is This Piece?
Date: February 22, 2014
Had a concert last night, so this post is going up late. (it went well, thanks for asking).
My semi-pro choir rehearses for two weeks prior to a concert and then takes a 3-5 week break before we come back together for the next cycle. As we went through this cycle of rehearsals and performance, I realized once again that sometimes I just have no idea how a choir is going to respond to a piece. I guess I'm exaggerating...it's not that I have no idea, but every cycle there are one or two pieces that either I thought were going to be really hard, and turned out to be mostly correct on the first run through, or something I thought was going to be a gimme turns out ot take so much more time than I thought.
I've tried to unpack this and get better at predicting, but it seems there are always one or two pieces that surprise. There are so many factors that go into the difficulty level of a piece that surprises are inevitable, I guess. And I have gotten better. The longer I have been with this group, the better I've become. Also, we went through a full reaudition a few years back that significantly changed the composition of the choir, and so in many ways, even though this is my seventh year with the choir, it's more like this is only my third year with the group.
I'm not going to go into a deep discussion of all the different factors relating to determining difficulty (I'll save that for my book). We know them mostly, and I gotta get the kids to ballet. But if you are like me and occasionally over or under estimate how hard a piece will be for your choir, just know you are not alone.