John F. Colson
Rehearsing:: Critical Connections for the Instrumental Music Conductor

Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Date of Publication: 2015
Language: English

Text book. 294 pages.

Primary Genre: Study Material - book

Colson observes that undergraduate conducting courses focus too much on conducting technique and not enough on rehearsal strategy. He states, “Therefore, I am trying to write this book so that the advanced conductor does have some guidance in how to rehearse the music ensemble.” Eighteen connection topics are given with extensive discussion. Some of these are “Right Hand versus Left Hand,” “Music Imagery, Inner Singing, and Conducting Technique,” “Score Study, Rehearsal Planning, and Rehearsal Preparations,” “Multitasking and Awareness in the Rehearsal Process,” “The Essence and Spirit of the Music,” “Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, and Smaller Ensembles,” and “Trust and Leadership.”


Colson takes the position of applying these connections in the context of the rehearsal. At the conclusion of each topic, there are discussions/activities for application of each topic. Appendices provide appropriate literature, equipment, and video review and assessment strategies.


In the section entitled, “Teaching through Performance Concepts,” Colson provides a lengthy list of phrases to be used in the rehearsal process to get players to focus on the various subtopics. For example, under “Ensemble Sonority Concepts,” he offers among many suggestions, “The vibrato should be employed appropriately to enhance the ensemble sonority.” For the conductors in the ITA, you will find this phrase list very helpful to enhance your own rehearsal vocabulary.


Colson has taught high brass for over 50 years and has over 35 years conducting experience. He penned this book to fill a gap he has experienced in working with conducting students. It can be used as the primary source for an advanced conducting course or as a supplement to his previous book, “Conducting and Rehearsing the Instrumental Music Ensemble.”

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published June 11, 2023