Getting Maximum Benefit from the Maslanka Chorales: a practical guide for directors
The Maslanka Collected Chorales are an extraordinary tool to help develop blend, balance, intonation, and ensemble cohesion in groups ranging from large symphonic bands and orchestras to small chamber groups or sectionals. With a daily 5-10 minutes per rehearsal you will hear a significant improvement in melodic and harmonic pitch awareness in your players.
Dr. Stephen K. Steele, former director of bands at Illinois State University and one of the foremost proponents of David Maslanka’s music, offers his strategies and techniques for getting the most out of this fantastic music.
There is absolutely no end to the possibilities in developing the use of these chorales. The following are a few suggestions: in like instrument sectionals or chamber ensembles; mixed instrument sectionals and/or chamber ensembles; full ensemble. I recommend that each chorale be used for at least one week before moving on to the next.
Full Ensemble chorale use
Rehearsal time is precious and must be used in the most beneficial ways possible. I found that beginning each rehearsal with a chorale reading facilitated the ensembles’ sense of balance/blend/pitch; created a center of being and sound; was a point of departure; and established a focus for the rehearsal. These chorales helped to build the ensemble tone quality through diligent daily use.
There are certainly various approaches to the use of the chorales, limited primarily by the conductor’s imagination. What I found to work best was to begin the rehearsal by reading a chorale without comment while intently listening and encouraging the […]