Step 1: "Read Through"
I decided to print the pages double-sided and place them in a binder, since the arrangement allows for pretty decent page turns every two pages. After hole-punching all twelve sheets (with my new Ergonomic Swingline Hole Puncher that I got for my birthday!) I sat down to get started. Luckily, my director had e-mailed along a glossary of German terms used in the piece. I wrote down all my translations (because when do you really get to use German musical terms?), highlighted tempo and key changes (which are frequent) and notated a few enharmonic pitches that I knew would throw me off on the fly.
Step 2: "Listen Through"
Exactly what it sounds like, I sat down with my part, pencil in hand, while listening to the Vienna Philharmonic's recording () conducted by Leonard Bernstein. I wrote myself cues other that those already included and tried to get an idea of where my part would fit in. i.e. Where am I doubling other flutes/woodwinds? Where do I echo or lead other sections? When is my part actually playing a solo? This also led me to realize that I don't hate Mahler as much as I thought...at least not all Mahler. The third movement is actually very cool. The first still sounds totally random and disjointed to me, but I prefer Baroque music, so that makes sense.
Step 3: "Stumble Through"
I tried to start playing through my parts, so that I had at this point seen each note I play about three or four times. I took everything slow, slashing beats and writing hints for rhythms and notes. This was not the time to perfect everything. In fact, there technically wouldn't be a time to perfect everything, since the goal here was just to get up to par on prepared sightreading in a group setting. This is where I would say Step 4: "Refine" would come in. Perhaps I'll do that next week.
I'll report back after rehearsal and comment on how this went! Thanks for reading. I hope this gives you some insight on my personal approach to this kind of prepared sightreading situation.