Preparation and Planning


It seems to me that this Area of Preparation and Planning is often neglected. 


Let me recall an insight I learned while directing a H.S. Chorus in Houghton Academy.  I noticed that when I taught a song that we had done several years back, that we learned the song much faster than new songs that we had never done before.  Why?  It was because I knew the song so well.  I was thoroughly prepared to teach that older song, whereas I had not spent as much time on the newer songs.  This idea was corroborated again to me when I noticed how thoroughly our Houghton College Choral Director and my close friend Dr. Don Bailey, prepared for each and every rehearsal. 

Perhaps it’s beyond your ability as a Director to learn all four parts of a barbershop song, but at a minimum, you need to know how the song is put together sectionally and to understand some of the traps inherent in the arrangement.  As much time as you can spend in planning and preparation will pay dividends in the efficiency and effectiveness of your rehearsal.


It’s easy for a Director to waste time by being uncertain as to what he/she is doing next.  So we need to plan each rehearsal.  The plan can be very detailed or less so, depending probably on your organizational ability and personality traits.

As a minimum you need to know what songs you are going to work on, put in an order and know what stage of development they are in.  I think of teaching songs in these 4 stages:

    1. Basic Learning

    2. Fixing

    3. Polishing

    4. Reviewing

Beyond that, a more detailed plan might look something like this:

Chapter Meeting Rehearsal Plan


Clock    Time    Activity    Key         Goal

Time    Amt.

7:00    15    WARM UP                 1.2.3

7:15    20    I Want A Girl   Bb      1a & b

7:35     5    Hi Neighbor     Bb         6

7:40    15    Only You       (F)          2

7:55    5    BUSINESS MTG

8:00    10    BREAK

8:10    10    CRAFT (Music Reading

8:20    10    QUARTETTING

8:30    15    It’s You        Bb          1a

8:45    5    Silhouettes    G             3

8:50    5    Mandy                           6

8:55    5    CLOSING

Warm Up

    1. Physical Loosening

    2. Metal Alertness

    3. Vocal Flexibility

    Rehearsal Goals

1. Learn Words/Notes/Rhythms

    a. Basic Learning

    b. Clean Up Problem Spots

2. Teach Interpretation

3. Check Memorization

4. Perfect Details

    a. Tone Quality/Vowels

    b. Tuning

5. Work on the Visual

6. Review


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