Everyone is familiar with the term “practice makes perfect,” right? But in the theatre, there’s really no such thing as a perfect performance, and there is especially no such thing as a perfect rehearsal. There is always something to “fix” or adjust.
Students can get hung up on perfection, but so can teachers, directors, choreographers, and musical directors. It gets really easy to nitpick and point out every flaw, particularly during note sessions. Perhaps that’s why students often tune out during notes – it can be disheartening and frustrating to give all your energy and push yourself onstage, only to hear afterwards all the things that were wrong about it.
And, of course, we all want to have an excellent final production… But zoom in on the word “excellent” here – “excellent” is completely different from perfect. A perfect final production, like a perfect rehearsal, does not exist.
An excellent rehearsal or show is attainable. Excellence is going to be different from rehearsal to rehearsal, show to show, and student to student, but aiming for excellence is much less daunting than aiming for perfection. And students can achieve excellence by reframing their thought process towards rehearsal – focusing on practice making progress, instead of trying to achieve perfection.
This doesn’t mean students can be lazy or rest on their laurels though. Go back to the first word of the phrase we’re talking about here: practice! Just showing up to rehearsals and going through the motions does not achieve excellence. Students must aim to improve and move forward at every rehearsal. Otherwise, they won’t make progress.
So how do students make progress and aim for excellence? It has nothing to do with talent or skill. It does have everything to do with good rehearsal habits.
Go back to the basics of rehearsal etiquette and help students put them into practice:
Remembering these basics and putting them into practice during daily rehearsals will guarantee that students will make progress. And that progress will inevitably lead to an excellent performance. Good luck!