The world of orchestra pit performance can take on a host of different identities. You can find yourself below the stage during Broadway theatre performances, awards shows, and a variety of different musical settings. This week we welcome a veteran of ‘pit performance’ (and a great guy in general), John Lawless. John and myself have been on ‘team percussion’ (percussionist and drummer respectively) in various settings. In this show we discuss what it takes to be a great percussion team and how we manage the demands of every show or session that we’ve been a part of.
The first part of the show is dedicated to the art of preparation. We discuss the crucial nature of communicating what instruments will be needed, who will play what (if not already dictated) and the preliminary set-up configurations. We also talk about the essential aspect of ergonomics and logistics.
Rehearsals are an absolutely vital time for percussionists. We talk about the relatively short amount of time allotted and how communication and cooperation during this time is paramount. The discussion of conductor tendencies and extra performance notes and annotations can help with difficult instrument and musical transitions.
We close out the show discussing mental preparation and (respectful, quiet) warming up before performances. The topic of avoiding self-inflicted trouble (irresponsibility) is also covered. We finish out by talking about the importance of being flexible with unexpected logistic and performance issues.
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