The words “score study” take me right back to music history at 8 a.m. on Wednesdays (you, too?). Grout anthology in one hand, class notes in another, marking cadences and phrase structure and German augmented sixth chords.
Don’t worry - I’m not suggesting you analyze your music for Sunday quite to that degree.
However, the practice of studying a score - before teaching, rehearsing, or performing the piece has its merits.
First of all, as the director, you won’t be caught off guard when you turn the page and find divisi for the divisi or an abrupt modulation to G-flat Major. You’ll also have time to prepare answers for all of Lillian the alto’s questions:
“Where do we get to breathe?” “Do you want us to sing piano there?” “Can I sing the lower part on p. 6? You know I can’t sing above a C.”
Like those early morning music history classes, the time you spend getting to know a new anthem and studying the score, looking at the details, sight-reading, singing, playing, predicting, analyzing, and looking for patterns is not just good preparation for teaching - it helps you become a better musician.