How long do you spend working up a test piece?

How long do you work on a test piece for before a contest?

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Not sure if this 1s been covered! but we spent just over 2 weeks running up to the areas on our test piece, and I was wondering how long everyone else spends? (on average)


Active Member
I normally allow six weeks but much will depend on the band's other commitments and the difficulty of the piece. With Tristan we had five weeks (following a contest and a major concert) but we used our time more intensively than usual and included a couple of extra rehearsals in the week before the contest.



Active Member
We only started work on Coventry 4 weeks before, when we got our new conductor - we had looked at at a bit before christmas though but not much

Tuba Dave

we started in january as well on Coventry variations.

I heard that Zone 0ne brass only had 4 rehersals. :shock:


Active Member
We had a few blow throughs in Nov, to get adjusted, then hard work after Jan. About 3½ months.


Active Member
The band started on Kaleidescope in January and I started practises in feburary, got very bored after about 3 weeks though... but the work paid off in the end :D

In theory if the band can technically play the parts I think two weeks is long enough to work up a piece.


Staff member
I know this is not my band, and is probably exceptional, but I was talking to Simon Dobson of Zone One Brass at the Areas, and he was regretting the fact that they had only managed 4 rehearsals on Coventry Variations.


We looked at Vizcaya before Xmas then picked up with it on return in January. Never really had a full rehearsal till the week before but that is usual I'm afraid for a lot of bands.
Rehearsing test pieces is down to how settled the band are, and what piece you are playing. I think 4-6 weeks is pretty reasonable.


Active Member
If the players can all play the notes I think 4/5 rehearsals is all you need really. Obviously the lower down the sections you go, the more time you need to spend note bashing rather than shaping the music. I cant remember when we started on Kaleidescope but I think it was about mid January when it started completely taking over every rehearsal.


tru AJ! but to be honest we dint really need them did we!? It dint help however only having a full band on the sat, n the conest was on the sun!
I like this topic. I think that a short run up to a test piece is good because it keeps the mottifs and ideas fresh and your performance will always have a positive intuitive energy about it. Keeping tests on the stands for ages has obvious benefits but can make a performance sound to mechanical and over-rehearsed. It's good when you can balance a healthy new energy towards music whilst still feeling the sentiment of playing a cracker contest performance of a good piece that you've grown attatched to over a period of time.


Early January for Tristan with real work 4 weeks before-came 5th so maybe should have done a wee bit more.

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