Closer to CLOSER: Final preparation

Guest Blogger:Andrew Gerle is the author of The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition. Below is an excerpt from his blog on Theatre Music Directors.

In the performing arts (and I’d say most of life in general), the quality and quantity of time spent in preparation for an event is more than 75% of what goes into its being a success. As with the casting process, being fully prepared going into rehearsals can make the difference between struggling to get your job done and participating in a dynamic collaboration. Identify your musical needs, articulate your musical-dramatic vision, and learn not just your music but everyone else’s as if you were going on tomorrow in each role.

I begin preparing a score for rehearsal with my piano part. I know that I have to be not only comfortable playing the notes, but also know it so thoroughly that I can also listen to the actors as they’re learning their notes and starting to make musical and acting choices. I can’t be worrying about my accidentals and rhythms and keeping an ear on the actors’ as well. And my first priority is to the actors – I can always perfect my part at home after rehearsal, but for actors who don’t have great musicianship skills and/or don’t have a keyboard at home, they are depending on me during these short rehearsal hours to give them what they need to get their parts under their belt.

In learning the piano part, obviously I start with the notes, the technical learning of the score. This means having a pencil handy as I practice, circling chords that always take me by surprise, writing in fingerings, practicing page turns (and Xeroxing and making fold-outs whenever necessary), reassigning hands if stretches or middle lines are hard to reach, and beginning to think about endurance if the score is particularly athletic (like Closer). I don’t want to feel like I’m merely reproducing the notes when I get to rehearsal; I want the music to be a part of me. I don’t want to think about what I’m playing, I want to be able to think about why. This is what makes a song come alive and become part of the active storytelling, and this is what helps actors create vivid and truthful performances.

For more please visit Theatre Music Directors.

The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition

Award-winning New York theatre composer and pianist Andrew Gerle pulls no punches in this irreverent, fly-on-the-wall guide to everything you’ve never been taught about auditioning for musical theatre. From the unique perspective of the pianist’s bench, he demystifies the audition process, from how to put together your book and speak to an accompanist to the healthiest and savviest ways to approach the audition marketplace and your career. By better understanding the dynamics of professional auditions, you will learn to present yourself in the strongest, most castable way while remaining true to your own special voice – the one that, in the end, will get you the job.


Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on May 29, 2012, in Music Industry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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