Quick Fix Friday: Give Good Cues

You practice your part diligently. You study the score and mark in all the other instrumental cues. You listen to several recordings. Yet your chamber music still feels…off.

Simple fix? Maintain good eye contact and give good cues.

This is an often-overlooked aspect of performing with other musicians. Many musicians are so used to performing under conductors that they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable leading others in smaller conductor-less ensembles. Accompanists and chamber musicians are not mind-readers (although wouldn’t that be amazing if they were?), so it is important to let others know your musical intentions. Practice giving good cues and nonverbal gestures to let your fellow musicians know where you want to speed up, slow down, play louder, etc. Good nonverbal communication is what separates average ensembles from outstanding ensembles.

Practice giving cues at your next rehearsal. It might feel strange at first, but like everything else, the more you practice the easier it becomes. Your fellow musicians will thank you!

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