Musings on Learning Music




BAND & ORCHESTRA ETIQUETTE: Some of you will be moving on to a community band or orchestra at some point and I want you to be ready if you decide to move to make that move.  Here are some points of etiquette that are expected if you are playing in a standard community band or orchestra:

  • Obviously, be quiet in rehearsals & concerts and don't talk unless necessary.
  • Mark your parts in pencil so that they can be erased. Definitely mark everything you need to mark so you make as few mistakes as possible and so you remember what the conductor changed/added/emphasized.
  • Always let your conductor or your section leader know if you won't be at a rehearsal (for us, either mark "no" on the attendance list if you know ahead of time, or email me).
  • If you are on time, you are late. Arrive early enough to get ready, chat a bit and have a good warm up. Now obviously, you can't ALWAYS do that, but as much as possible try to be at least 15 minutes earlier than when rehearsal or concert warm up begins. For us that means showing up by 6:25. Earlier is better.
  • In most groups, you are there to help the performance happen, so it is standard procedure that you don't miss more than two rehearsals in preparation for any concert, and you DO NOT miss the concert! (Our group is here so that you can have a place to have fun with music and the concerts are almost beside the point in some ways, so it isn't crucial to be at all rehearsals, or even the concert. We are purposely more relaxed.)
  • Concert dress means concert dress. Don't ever wear a beige shirt instead of white, or blue pants instead of black, or any other "close enough" type substitution. And dress shoes are assumed. Ladies, if you are wearing a skirt, it should come down well over your knees - you are up higher than the audience and the view from those seats is great! Floor length skirts are usually suggested.
  • I post soundfiles for you use. but likely you will need to find your own; do it. Listen to get the style and details of the piece
  • Always have all of your music and a pencil with you; in an orchestra, there are generally no extra parts.
  • If you are given a group manual, read it - every word!
  • If you are given the music before the first rehearsal, be sure that you have it pretty well learned before that first rehearsal. BUT, practice it at many different tempos so that you can match whatever the conductor does. Definitely listen to soundfiles of the music before the first rehearsal, even if you don't have the music.



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©Diane Muffitt