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Re: How do you know if a piece is too hard/too easy when first reading it?
Normally, the biggest issue is age of the group. I've always heard (and found to be pretty accurate) that a High School group should be able to at least "chunk" their way through it upon first reading. With Junior High/ Middle School Group it can probably be a little less "recognizable" on the first run-through because the learning curve is so much quicker.
That being said...this year, I'm aiming a lot lower. There's just no telling when individuals, sections, or I might have to spend time quarantined and/or sick.
A good piece of advice I once heard - no judge ever said "this piece was too easy for this group". I'm taking that to heart and saving the tough stuff for Spring Concert...IF we have a Spring Concert.
GOOD LUCK - stay well, stay safe!