I just read the blog of a wind player who was subbing in an orchestra. The player names the orchestra as well as the works. So you know there are no secrets. That same horn player then admits playing a lot of the first piece down an octave because the new work was something he/she deemed not worth playing as written, since the composer wasn’t someone like, say, Mahler or Stravinsky.

All I can say is … yikes! The blog is public. Anyone can read it. Would you want to hire someone who basically said “I chose not to play what was written and that’s that!”? I know I’d be inclined to remove the player from the sub list.

Am I wrong to suggest that?


  1. That’s really infuriating. I’d certainly edit my sub list. Where is this “musician”?

  2. Pretty awful! Reminds me of a flute/harp job I did years ago with a substitute for my regular harpist. She had not prepared at all and made lots of obvious mistakes. That would not have bothered me so much, except she kept making derisive comments about the listeners (“Do you think they know the difference?”) — jeeze! I was, in effect, her employer that night, and I sure knew the difference!

    I think it’s an attitude more common among young, fresh-out-of-school musicians — to show disdain for the unfamiliar and the “uninitiated” — than among the pros. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it sure is a morale killer when you have to work with someone like that!

  3. Steve, where you asking me where I found the blog? Or were you just implying whoever this is isn’t really a musician? Or both? (Sorry … feeling rather slow today!)

    Bill, It IS awful, isn’t it?

    I’ve played some stuff I absolutely despised but when I’m doing it I give it all I’ve got. I work as hard on the music I think isn’t much to speak of as anything else. It’s my job. I’m supposed to do my best … and I can’t decide who is “worth my effort”. That’s life.

    Heh … can you imagine if people in other jobs chose who to give their best efforts to and who to give a halfway job to? Sigh.

    Anyway, I was quite disturbed … and angry … at reading what I read.

  4. Sorry, Patty. That was unclear.

    I was wondering where this person is geographically.

    And I guess I was, by my use of scare quotes, questioning their musicianhood.

  5. The player is in the US.

    I guess the player doesn’t always “toot his/her own horn” in quite the way a composer would like.

    I would question the attitude for sure; might be an okay musician, but isn’t going to get very far (I hope!) if people catch on to the attitude issues.