On Tuesday the 12th, both the instrumentalist and the singers attended a workshop on practice with Jo Hensel at Guildhall. She opened the class by inviting us to partner up with someone we know the least and talk, uninterrupted, about our relationship with practice. While one person talked, the other had to practice active listening. After a short discussion of how being on each side of the conversation made us feel, we were asked to switch partners again for a different task where we evaluate our practice methods. In the task, we evaluated different aspects of our practice methods. We each took time ranking the following aspects out of ten based on how satisfied we were with the aspect. Physical environment, practice time, productivity, focus, creativity, the material including repertoire, motivation and, health and wellbeing. After another short discussion, we asked each other deep analysing questions and based on those question we decided on a single action we would do to improve the area/s we are unsatisfied with. I great experience that allowed us to really actively think about our own practicing practice without judgment and with helpful direction.
On Monday the 18th, the group was lucky enough to sit in on a dress rehearsal of the Midsummer Night’s Dream opera by Benjamin Britten, performed by the students of Guildhall. Not only is the story itself of a Midsummer Nights Dream odd, but Britten’s musical interpretation is also sufficiently eccentric. That coupled with the stunning set and costume design, the whole production was quite captivating. After watching a run through of the first act, the cast and crew gathered for notes and briefing. I think we were all slightly taken aback by the intensity of the small meetings happening across the venue. In the pit the conductor was giving very particular directions, in the audience, the choreographer was instructing the fairies and off to the side, two of the main actors were practicing slapping each other. While all this was happening, the technicians would make changes and slight alterations all across the venue. As a viewer, it was interesting to hear the criticisms and then watch them be implemented or not in the second run-through. Overall a great glimpse into the standard of rehearsal and performance that the students at Guildhall must meet.
Written by Maria Zhdanovich