how to learn your orchestra part really well

have you ever experienced being unprepared for orchestra?

(you don’t have to answer that.)

well, i have.

like, when i was called at the last minute for a christmas pops gig in fort wayne, indiana. or like when i was so busy during college that i’d show up to lab orchestra and sight read. and i'd tell myself, “ok. as long as i look over the music carefully and count every measure of rest constantly, i should be able to get through this rehearsal.” and sometimes that would work.

but sometimes i’d be counting along and my mind would wander a bit. and suddenly i’d forget which measure of rest i was in and BAM! ALL IS LOST. oh no.

those were the moments of panic and fear when i'd tell myself, “never again.” now i try to come in for orchestra so prepared that i could trust myself to fall asleep and wake up one measure before my entrance knowing exactly where to play.

(i qualify that above statement with ‘i try to’ because, ahem, well, you know. i try.)

anyway, when i’m studying my part for orchestra, i listen to the piece 5 times. it’s really effective. here’s my new video explaining exactly how i do it.


want to nail your next audition?

here's the 5-part audition preparation method i used to win a job in the met orchestra.

(for any instrument!)



rob knopper

lincoln center plaza, 10023

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.