For our final project I have been studying the rehearsal process of the Davidson Orchestra, so this past week I interviewed the director of the ensemble, Dr. Keith. I asked her some specific questions about what I have found in my research, and she brought up a really fascinating idea that I had not considered. She discussed the psychological aspect of an ensemble and how the mentality of the musicians so greatly influences the ensemble’s quality. She discussed how she will pick which instruments need to rehearse a section sometimes based on who needs a break. When Dr. Keith wants to rehearse a chord from a piece, she has the musicians play the chord note by note, to build up the chord gradually. I had assumed that she did this to determine which notes were out of tune, but she explained that she does it not only for intonation, but also to give the musicians confidence in the dissonance of the chord.
While Dr. Keith informed me of how rehearsal techniques psychologically affect the musicians of the ensemble, I also learned this year that there are music therapists who focus on psychology on the receiving end of music. One of the community members of the orchestra told me that she is in school for Music Therapy, so she studies how music can serve as therapy for her patients. She works with disability, mentally ill, and elderly patients who all can benefit from this therapy. I am really interested in psychology, so I think it is really neat that psychology plays such a big role in musicians’ performances and in how the audience receives the performance.
Keith, Tara. Interview. November, 16, 2016.