I’m going to sound like an old person, I know, but I have a bit of advice for musicians who are new to working in the business. Honestly … this can help you get jobs if you are starting to sub.

1: Arrive early to jobs. I’ve noticed so many newer subs coming on to the stage or into the pit at the last minute. So late, in fact, that some of us, including the personnel manager, wonder if the player is going to show up at all. If you are new, make that effort (I don’t write “extra effort” because it isn’t extra at all!) to get to the pit ahead of the start of a rehearsal or performance. Worrying your (tenured!) colleagues isn’t a great way to continue to get hired. We don’t like to worry about other musicians as we are warming up.

2: If you are sitting in the middle of the orchestra, arrive even earlier. Really. I remember, when I was starting out, an older player suggested I not arrive as late as I did, since I had to carefully ease my way into the pit past all the already seated players. It was not a comfortable thing to do, both for them and for me.

3: If it’s suggested you audit a rehearsal and you are new, do so. Don’t think, “Well, I don’t have to do this so never mind!” I guarantee you will earn extra “points” if you come, showing you care about the group, the production, and the audience. You will be less likely to get hired back if you don’t bother.

4: Dress like the rest of the group. Ask, if you aren’t sure what the dress code is (although it is usually listed on a hire sheet). If it says black, it means black (no colored jackets hanging on the back of your chair, either). If it says long or 3/4 length sleeves, don’t wear sleeveless or short sleeves. Again, this shows that you care, and also that you are attentive to things like this. This matters even if you think you aren’t seen by the audience: the orchestra members do see you! (I once played a job where a player didn’t wear what was requested and I heard the player say to a colleague, “It doesn’t matter. No one can see me anyway!” Well, I saw you … and I heard you say that.)

I hate to sound like an old lady, but the truth is that is what I am, so there you go. I just want younger musicians to succeed in this business. Oh … and for the typical stuff, you can always visit my etiquette page.

Can you imagine if some actor was practicing lines and another actor started saying those same lines? Or how about a musical theater lead singing a song and hearing someone else sing the same thing? I doubt (I hope!) those things are never done. So this is just a gentle (not really) reminder to refrain from playing someone else’s solo as they are warming up. Seriously. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

It’s rude. It’s frustrating. And it’s immature behavior.

I’ve been meaning to write this little bit of advice for eons, but keep forgetting. Finally I’m getting to it!

Some years back I was playing a concert with a younger player (NOT in my section) who came to the concert without wearing the requested concert attire. When a friend of his came to chat with him he said, “What’s with the clothes?” His response, “No one can see me anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

No. It matters. It matters greatly.

This young player made sure I would never recommend him for a job in a group I play in. Others heard what he said as well, and I’m betting I wasn’t the only one taken aback by his not caring how he appeared.

Be careful what you say. Always.

Now, to be fair, I confess I’ve been known to say stupid things, and I have to watch my tongue as much as the next person. (But I would never break a concert dress rule. Ever.)

So that’s it. Just a wee bit of advice that, I hope, no one but that one player ever needs to hear.

Side note: there are other bits of advice I would love to give. I have written an etiquette page, but I doubt anyone reads that. I sure see a lot o younger musicians who don’t know some simple little “rules”.