Everything — everyone! — matters. Or at least we should all act as if we do. I’m a one-on-a-part person. This means I have only bagged a performance once, and this was because I was so ill I couldn’t even sit up, much less get dressed. (You all know that story, if you read this blog!) But some players might think they aren’t seen. Or they don’t matter. They do. Always. Nico Muhly (caution, “language” at his site) reminds us:

The performance was great — don’t get me wrong — but Kind and Venerable Sir in the back of the violas: I’m watching u. And y’all phoned it in. That tremolo may not be the most important thing in the texture at that time, but you have to play it like it is — otherwise, what are we all doing with our lives?

I really hate it when I stop caring. And yes, there are times when my part, even being a lone player on either oboe or EH, seems unimportant. But to not care … to phone it in, as we say … well, it eats at one’s soul, I think. I do try to remind myself of this.


  1. That’s actually a really good reminder for me, at this particular moment. In this particular opera it’s really easy for me to think I am the least important thing on stage. Thanks for posting this.

  2. It’s easy for those of us in the pit to forget too, Mike. We aren’t seen (or barely are), and sometimes we start to look as if we are sleeping our way through. I never want to stop caring. I always want to look involved.