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I am looking for information on how to structure a practice session for a string quartet. I read many articles online. They talk about working on intonation but hardly any information beyond scales.

We all play together in a university orchestra but there is obviously less room to hide in a quartet.

Does anyone on here know of a published practice plan that we might be able to use as intermediate - advanced students?

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A rather quickish answer here but I don't think you need something "published" in order to achieve what you want. Think about what's important for a string quartet: you need to match. So, here's a list of categories to work on, matching-wise:

  • Tone / Timbre
  • Pitch / Intonation
  • Dynamic Interpretation
  • Articulation
  • Style Interpretation

This is of course assuming you all have the same level of playing technique and music fundamentals (rhythms, etc).

If you discuss with your quartet that you want to spend a couple minutes each rehearsal working on one of those categories, that would be a good way to get on the same page. Otherwise, it's very common for string quartets to develop these skills simply by playing together a lot. When you meet for rehearsal, it's assumed that you've already warmed up and that you're prepared with all of your music. So, get everyone together and just play through a ton of stuff - prepared, sight-read, improvised, whatever you're into.

You're done the rehearsal if:

  • time runs out
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  • Would you say that timing is an area where the members should already be prepared before practice or is that an area that should be focused on as a group? I know in rock bands even if everyone practices to a metronome at home, a lot of the group work is getting the timing really tight and locked together. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 15:49
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    @ToddWilcox Good Question - everybody should know their rhythms as well as possible before rehearsal. Specific to string quartets, there are some pieces where the group might not play exactly what's on the page, but it's incredibly important that they play exactly together. Fine-tuning ensemble rhythm, especially with more complex rhythms, is a natural part of the rehearsal process. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 16:10
  • Thanks. For your reply. The reason why I asked for something published is because it is good for me to have some sort of reference for this sort of thing. To fill in anything I might be overlooking. Thanks for your input. I saw a book on imslp covering those points you mentioned in difference sections. So I’ll try it in practice for a few months and see how effective it is. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 17:51

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