Points of orchestral etiquette

For the second year running, I am in a local amateur orchestra. For those of you in a similar situation, I offer the following tips on participation in rehearsals, which can be challenging and complicated interactions.

  • Come on time. This means a few minutes early, because you have to find your place, and unpack everything, and tune, and yada yada yada.

  • By no means come, like, half an hour late when everyone is in the middle of the Mozart piece and the only spare cello seat is in the middle of the orchestra somewhere.
  • If you do come late, unpack quietly and when you wrangle your way to the empty seat in the middle of the packed rehearsal hall, try not to forget your cello.
  • If you do forget your cello, and have to get back up and excusemeexcusemeexcusemesorry your way back to the grand piano in the back of the room where you left it, pretend you’re going because you got an urgent call on your mobile phone if, luckily, your daughter calls to check where you are because she forgot you had rehearsal.
  • When you go to your seat for the second time (excusemeexcusemeexcusemesorry), with your cello this time, by no means are you to forget to tighten the little screw that holds in the spike, because it is, like, a two-foot, half-pound piece of sharpened metal that can make a loud noise when it falls out and CLANGs to the floor between a viola player’s feet.

8 responses to “Points of orchestral etiquette

  1. That was the cellist next to you, right?

  2. mig

    In the sense that I was beside myself, yes.

  3. Oh. Well, uh, at least you didn’t impale the viola player’s foot with the spike though. RIGHT?

  4. mig

    Define “impale”.

  5. Why is it always the viola player that gets impaled?!

    *grins* Very recognizable anecdote though. Hey, at least you didn’t have to unfold your music stand as well. You know, the old fashioned wobbly iron one that never bends the way you want it to. (Excellent impaling possibilities here, too.)

  6. Don’t forget that you must not drop your music after opening the folder upside down.

  7. mig

    Or spend five minutes noisily rearranging it because it turns out you’ve got half of it upside down or backwards, plus a couple pieces that have nothing to do with what the orchestra is playing.

  8. And if you were lucky the others played their shopping list as well.