Dolores asks, “How do you learn new arrangements two weeks before a wedding ceremony?”
When we are asked to play a new piece of music, we first have to find or create an arrangement. For much of the pop music, there are versions available for a piano/singer, guitar/singer or for a complete band, but not parts for a string group to play.
For us, having the notes written out is important. Our music is like a roadmap… not only does it have the notes that we play, but it also tells us when to pause, repeat, when to get louder and softer, etc. With it, we are a team. Without it, we are individuals, each trying to do their own thing.
So… if there is no arrangement available for strings, we must have one written. The arranger will include a part for each instrument. Once we each have our parts, we practice on our own at home. Since we play together so often (nearly every weekend), we try out new arrangements as a group when we meet. If it’s a particularly difficult piece, we will arrive extra early to make sure we have time to get all of the parts together.
Having played together for quite a few years, we are also well aware of each other’s musical habits and have a good idea of how to play off of each other. As we’ve added new musicians to our family, we’ve also diversified our groups, so that we each have the chance to perform within different groupings regularly. That way, we ensure that we are each comfortable with the other musicians – plus we get a chance to make new friends!