Imagine you are blindfolded in an open area. Your guide tells you that somewhere in front of you, there is a cliff edge, and whoever gets closest to the edge in 4 minutes is the winner.
You move foot by painstaking foot, feeling the ground in front of you to ensure you haven’t fallen.
That’s how most choirs feels when trying to give an artistic performance. They know the edge where art happens is out there, somewhere, and they are doing their best to inch towards it.
Now imagine if you can fall of the edges with no penalty, and are given an hour to explore your area, it would be completely different. You could find every edge by falling off of it, learn every inch of the terrain, so that it wouldn’t matter that you couldn’t see.
Now when the timer starts, you can walk with purpose right up to the edge, knowing where it is. You can spend your time leaning out, feeling the wind, and reacting to the current conditions.
That’s what rehearsal is for. Fall again and again, to learn where the edges are. If you don’t find them in rehearsal, you’ll never get to them in performance. You’ll never reach artistry without knowing the terrain.
In rehearsal, the cost of failure is zero – fail as often as you can, knowing that every failure helps you know your way to artistry.