Keeping the Conductor In Line

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by trickg, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Sorry guys. I saw this and just couldn't resist.

    18 ways to keep the conductor in line:

    1. Never be satisfied with the tuning note. Fussing about the pitch takes attention away from the podium and puts it on you, where it belongs.

    2. When raising the music stand, be sure the top comes off and spills the music on the floor.

    3. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, or a draft. It's best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.

    4. Look the other way just before cues.

    5. Never have the proper mute, a spare set of strings, or extra reeds. Percussion players must never have all their equipment.

    6. Ask for a re-audition or seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you're about to quit. Let the conductor know you're there as a personal favor.

    7. Pluck the strings as if you are checking tuning at every opportunity, especially when the conductor is giving instructions. Brass players: drop mutes. Percussionists have a wide variety of dropable items, but cymbals are unquestionably the best because they roll around for several seconds.

    8. Loudly blow water from the keys during pauses (Horn, oboe and clarinet players are trained to do this from birth).

    9. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your C# was in tune. This is especially effective if you had no C# or were not playing at the time. (If he catches you, pretend to be correcting a note in your part.)

    10. At dramatic moments in the music (while the conductor is emoting) be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.

    11. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know you don't have the music.

    12. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.

    13. Tell the conductor, "I can't find the beat." Conductors are always sensitive about their "stick technique", so challenge it frequently.

    14. As the conductor if he has listened to the Bernstein recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also good: ask "Is this the first time you've conducted this piece?"

    15. When rehearsing a difficult passage, screw up your face and shake your head indicating that you'll never be able to play it. Don't say anything: make him wonder.

    16. If your articulation differs from that of others playing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.

    17. Find an excuse to leave rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that others will become restless and start to pack up and fidget.

    18. During applause, smile weakly or show no expression at all. Better yet, nonchalantly put away your instrument. Make the conductor feel he is keeping you from doing something really important.
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    "5. Never have the proper mute, a spare set of strings, or extra reeds. Percussion players must never have all their equipment. "

    In a band that I am (ahem) somewhat familiar with, the percussion players either a) left their music at home, b) never sorted their music, c) have the wrong parts in front of the right "gear" (or vice versa) or d) "left their good sticks at home"! The whole band waits while they shuffle paper.... not that it matters because they are most likely going to do what they feel like regardless of "the ink" or the conductor anyway!!!!
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Orchestral Math:

    1. Wilson is tired of paying for clarinet reeds. If he adopts a policy of playing only on rejected reeds from his colleagues will he be able to retire on the money he has saved if he invests it in mutual bonds, yielding 8.7%, before he is fired from his job? If not, calculate the probablitity of him ever working in a professional symphony orchestra again!

    2. Jethro has been playing the double bass in a symphony orchestra for 12 years, three months and seven days. Each day, his inclination to practice decreases by the equation: (total days in the orchestra) x 0.0076. Assuming he stopped practising altogether four years, six months and three days ago, how long will it be before he is completely unable to play the double bass?

    3. 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 about any given musician is 4 chances in 7, and for conductors is 16 chances out of 17. If there are 103 musicians in the orchestra and the orchestra sees 26 different conductors each year, how many negative remarks 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?

    4. Horace is the General Manager of an important 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 per concert, what are the chances that Horace can avoid hearing a single work by Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms in the next ten years?

    5. 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 0.3528 seconds behind the rest of the viola section, which is already 0.16485 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, will she be able to continue playing this way undetected?

    6. 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?

    7. Rosemary is unable to play in keys with more than three sharps or flats 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?
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    "What did the drummer get on his IQ test?.....DROOL!"

    "What's the difference between a drummer and a mutual bond? A mutual bond will eventually mature and make money."

    (Sorry trickg...I know you're working to play drums.. Couldn't resist! :bleah: )
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    In my National Guard Band, since we have a plethora of trumpet players but we are somewhat short of percussionists, due to the fact that I can and do drum, recently I have been working in the percussion section.

    After last night's rehearsal I will say that I will NEVER look back on the percussion section with dismay and scorn again when they look all confused and can't seem to get it together.

    The parts are never written the same and say for instance if you are coving cymbal parts - you might have crashes in your hands and you will come off of a crash, only to have to play a suspended cymbal swell a bar and a half later.

    Playing trumpet in a section is easier.

    Question: How do you know there is a drummer at your door? The knock speeds up!
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I know. But it's fun anyway! :D
  7. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Good Joke, Patrick. Here's another one:

    Q. What does a drummer use for birth control?

    A. His personality!

    sorry...couldn't resist...
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Ok, I HAVE to get in on some of this, even if I am a drummer too. :)

    New category: Musical Oxymorons. For example

    Snare Drum Music
    Professional Drummer

    from the Drummers Dictionary:
    Accelerando, n. drum fill; solo

    What do you call a drummer with half a brain?

    A guy walks into a shop.
    "You got one of them Marshall Hiwatt AC30 amplificatior thingies and a Gobson StratoBlaster geetar with a Fried Rose tremulo?"

    "You're a drummer, aren't you?"

    "Duh, yeah. How'd you know?"

    "This is a travel agency."

    Q: How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: One, but only after asking "Why?"
    ("Oh, wow! Is it like dark, man?")

    Hey, did you hear about the drummer who finished high school?
    Me either.

    Ok, that's enough for now.
  9. Bugler997

    Bugler997 Pianissimo User

    Mar 22, 2005
    What's the difference between a bull and an orchestra?

    A bull has the horns in the front and the a$$hole in the back.
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    Rich Trumpeter

    Tasteful violas

    Band Musician ;-) (should that be banned?)

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