Orchestral Etiquette

THREE GENERAL GUIDELINES

  1. BE PREPARED
  2. LOOK INTERESTED
  3. BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS

Rehearsal

  • Prepare your part beforehand.
  • Arrive early and be warmed up.
  • Ask questions only during breaks.
  • Bring a pencil.
  • Cover your yawn.
  • Maintain a healthy hygiene.
  • Don’t tune loudly.
  • Don’t turn around to see who is playing.
  • Don’t tap your foot or move around too much.
  • Don’t cross your legs.
  • Don’t wear perfume.

Being a Good Neighbor

  • Sit quietly.
  • Use your best judgment on intonation, balance, attacks, and releases.
  • Know the count.
  • Don’t turn around to see who is playing.
  • Don’t make noise while others are playing.

Performance Behavior

  • All Rehearsal behavior applies.
  • Don’t make a face no matter who makes a mistake, including yourself.
  • Bows:
    • Upon entering the stage area, remain standing until the whole orchestra sits.
    • Be attentive during the bows in case you are asked to stand alone or with your section.

Relating to the Conductor

  • Mind the conductor as much as possible.
  • When asked to play something differently, your answer should always be “Sure!”
  • Address the conductor as “Maestro” unless you’re asked to do differently.
  • If the conductor asks to see you in his office or dressing room it is a good idea to ask the personnel manager to come along.
  • Don’t keep playing after the conductor stops.

SOURCES

  • Orchestra Etiquette or, How to Keep Your Job After You Have Won It, by Elaine Douvas
  • http://www.gocmo.org/rehearsal-etiquette/
  • Sebastian Chaves Vargas, Principal Bassoonist

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