MATH TEST FOR ORCHESTRAL MUSICIANS
1. Armando is the dynamic new conductor of an orchestra and has
increased the ticket sales for the classical series to 95%.
If the concert hall holds 3200 people, and the concerts begin promptly at
8:05 p.m., how many
digital watch alarms will go off within one minute of 9:00 p.m.? Within 5
2. Richard has been a professional timpanist for 35 years.
In his personal kit he owns 32 different yarn mallets, 12 different wool
mallets, 5 different rubber mallets, and 2 different polished tack hammers.
What are the odds that a conductor will ask him to use different mallets at
the first rehearsal of a Haydn symphony? A Mahler symphony?
3. Julinda’s orchestra performs Dvorak’s “New World” symphony every
6 years, Sibelius’ “Swan of Tuonela” every 4 years, and Berlioz’s
“Overture to Benvenuto Cellini” every 3 years.
What are the odds that, in any given year, the program notes will include
the sentence “The English Horn
is neither English nor a horn?”
4. Betty is tired of paying for clarinet reeds. If she adopts a
policy of playing only on rejected reeds from her colleagues, will
she be able to retire on the money she has saved if she invests it in
mutual funds (yielding 8.7%) before she is fired from her job?
5. Jethro has been playing the double bass in a symphony orchestra
for twelve years, three months, and seven days. Each day, his
inclination to practice decreases by the equation:
(Total days in the orchestra) x .000976.
Assuming that he stopped practicing six months ago, how
long will it be before he is completely unable to play the double bass?
6. Wilma plays in the second violin section but specializes in
making disparaging remarks about conductors and other musicians. The
probability of her making a negative comment is 4:7 for any given musician, and
16:17 for conductors.
If there are 103 musicians in the orchestra and the orchestra sees 26
different conductors each year, how many negative
comments does Wilma make in a two-year period?
How does this change if five of the musicians are also conductors?
What if six of the conductors are also musicians?
7. Horace is the General Manager of a symphony orchestra.
He tries to hear at least four concerts a year. Assuming that at each concert
the orchestra plays a minimum of three pieces, what are the chances
that Horace can avoid hearing a single work by Mozart, Beethoven, or Brahms in
the next ten years?
8. Betty plays in the viola section.
Despite her best efforts she is unable to play with the rest of the
orchestra and, on average,
plays .35 seconds behind the rest of the viola section, which is already
.16 seconds behind the rest of the orchestra.
If the orchestra is moving into a new concert hall with a reverberation
time of 2.7 seconds,
how long will she be able to continue playing this way undetected?
9. Ralph loves to drink coffee. Each week he drinks three more
cups of coffee than Harold, who drinks exactly one third the amount that
the entire brass section consumes in beer.
How much longer is Ralph going to live?
10. Rosemary is unable to play in keys with more than three sharps
without making an inordinate number of mistakes.
Because her colleagues in the cello section are also struggling in these
passages she has so
far been able to escape detection.
What is the total number of hours they would all have to practice to play
the complete works of Richard Strauss?