Orchestra experience for Musicals.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by kctrumpeteer, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    I got volunteered into playing a musical recently and playing 1st trumpet for it. I was a little surprised after the fact the amount of time committment for playing and the fact that we have 3 weekends of shows Fri/Sat/Sun. (Plus several practice sessions before hand which some times equated to a 4 hour practice to sync up with the actors.)

    Interestingly enough it started off where the piano player was going to queue us in and not really have a director at first and then someone that was more of a choral non-band background is now directing us.

    Needless to say there are a number of things that seem a bit unorganized and also learning about what equipment I have to supply myself among other things.

    I presume you take what you get with a community theater / musical where you are playing for 'mostly' fun and not for pay or minimal pay.

    Anyway I am curious as to what others have experienced with musicals.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A really useful and stable trumpet stand can come in handy--like really handy. Depending on the show, there is a huge amount of down time, even if it is Chorus Line with some great looking women on stage. The Prop Room usually has interesting books, and scoping the cute oboist is usually worth the time. Mostly, we get paid for not playing.

    Have fun!
  3. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    I've done dozens. Every show is going to be different. A good matinee can turn into an evening performance of problems. Depending on the skill level of your performers both on the stage and in the pits, disasters are just around every corner. Singers drop lines in a song, forget to come in, dialogue messes up timing, the conductor loses concentration (not the ones I've performed with, anyway), tempos can change drasically, and you yourself get lost or forget exactly where you are.
    Be prepared to mark cuts in your parts - in pencil if they are rental parts.
    Be thankful you are not a reed player doubling on different instruments and be doubly thankful you are not directing the group while playing keyboard! The folks on stage have to act, sing, speak, and occasionally deal with a non-functioning prop or lighting issue that is out of their control. Being on stage may be the most difficult thing of all.
    They are fun. Enjoy it and always be ready for anything.
  4. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    In amature shows you can have your time wasted as you sit there waiting for them to do "staging that should have been done before the musicians are brought in. This is because you arer working without a clear contract. It should state how much you are paid per service and how long each service should be. If they go over that time you are paid more.

    In a professional show they know that time is money. They don't bring in the musicians until all the staging, line and problems have been worked out. And they run on time.

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