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Monday Morning Zen – Keeping Time

Posted on September 21, 2015

One of the trickiest things to do when running a show is keeping time to music when you are trying to not only run cues, but also call spots.  The biggest problem is that not only are you listening to music, you are trying to anticipate the cues as you either call them or hit go on the console.  This can be even more difficult when there are no lyrics to go by.

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While nothing can replace rehearsal, here are a few tips in tightening up your timing

1 – Take a video of the rehearsal.  Watch the video over and over again till the music is stuck in you head.  Practice hitting go and calling your spots in time with the music.  This will greatly help you in getting your timing better.

2 – Get the sheet music.  If you are working with a band, they will have the music charts available.  Get a copy and mark it up with the cues.  Write in where the cues go and follow the music.  Even if you can’t read music, this can be helpful since the timing of the music is written in the charts.  If you are lucky, you will be working with a musical director that will be willing to help you out with this.

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3. When you write the cues, put them in places where they make sense.  Try to make your cues match to drops in the music and movement on the stage.  By doing this, you will be building musical and movement cues to go on.  This will make it easier to memorize the locations of your cues and when to hit go.

4. Practice, practice, practice.  Make the most of of rehearsal.  Listen to the music.  Make the cues make sense.  Since the cues should be motivated by what is happening on stage, weather it is musically or physically motivated, locating the cues should make sense.

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Running shows like this takes patients.  There can be a lot of frustration surrounding the design and execution of shows like this.  Try to stay above the Frey by remaining prepared and rehearsed.