Orchestral Etiquette

Orchestral Discipline: A List of Reminders
By Lucas Drew

(taken with permission from International Society of Bassists  Vol. 21 No. 3 1997 pg. 70)

1. Be punctual and warm up before each rehearsal or concert.
2. Listen and learn from the conductor, for a competent conductor is also an inspiring teacher.
3. Tune quietly and carefully.
4. Remember that concentration is one of the keys to good orchestral playing.
5. Listen for style, articulation, intonation, etc.
6. Be exact with entrances and releases.
7. When the conductor stops for a comment, stop immediately.
8. Count measures, rests and all silences carefully.
9. Bring a pencil to rehearsal.
10. The principal player of each string section, sometimes after consultation with the conductor
and/or concert master, sets bowing policies.
11. Practice your parts at home, not when the conductor is talking.
12. Don’t stare at a person who is playing a solo passage.
13. Don’t laugh if someone should make a mistake.
14. Place your instrument in a safe place during rehearsal breaks.
15. Check the height of instrument (‘cello and bass).
16. Check bridge and string adjustment.
17. Keep your instrument and bow clean.
18. Check the position of your left hand and bow arm. Start correctly every time.
19. Always strive for a full vibration of the string.
20. Look like a professional string player.

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