The First Rehearsal


Grace Browning is principal harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Previously a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra and the New World Symphony, she has also performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, and Houston Symphony.

A seven-step guide to nailing it on the first day

—by Grace Browning

Whether you’re the new kid in youth orchestra or you’re stepping into your first day at a new gig, the first rehearsal is always one of the most thrilling and slightly terrifying experiences as a harpist. Unlike other sections in the orchestra who have the luxury of multiple players to one part, the harp is usually solo. To quote Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” As superhero harpists, it’s our unique responsibility to be 110 percent prepared from the first day so we can contribute our best and focus on the music making. After 20 years of ensemble playing, here’s my fool-proof guide for a knock-out first rehearsal.

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1 Comment

  1. These are great tips! Here’s my two cents’ worth: If there are no recordings to play along with in advance, I get to rehearsal early enough to get some cues from the violin and percussion parts on the stands near me. If there’s a score backstage, that’s even better. Then I mark in more cues as the rehearsal progresses.

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