I was coaching the winds of the UCSC orchestra a few weeks back. Five students didn’t show up. I was telling those that did appear that if any of those musicians was thinking of becoming a professional musician they might think again. Missing that number of players, three of whom were principals, for a sectional was, needless to say, quite frustrating. In addition one player that did show up was ten minutes late. I was pretty amazed. I had to cancel three student lessons that Saturday morning in order to do the coaching. The rehearsal wasn’t a complete waste of time, but it was ridiculous to attempt to rehearse Mendelssohn’s fourth symphony with so many missing.
For a time we simply talked about behavior. I not only talked about not being late or missing rehearsals all together, but went on to talk about other issues that could lose a person a job.
This is a reminder that I do have a page on things I consider important for musicians’ etiquette. Feel free to disagree with me, but these are rules I attempt to follow.
In addition I heard from a reader about another issue — that of tuning. She was finding people were talking while she was giving the A. This is a big no-no, and I need to get that up on the page. In addition, everyone should take time to listen to the A before playing. Sometimes I wonder if a player even had time to hear me give the A before he or she jumps in.
Etiquette is tricky business. I’ve had people get very upset when I suggest certain things can get you fired. Some think it’s just stupid to have to be worried about these things. That’s fine. Ignore them if you want! Just remember you might not get asked back sometimes. You just never know. I only post these things hoping to be helpful.
And yes, I’ve broken my own rules. Sometimes I do very stupid things. That’s another reason I put these in writing: it’s a bit of a reminder for little old me!