by Donn Laurence Mills
If there were a basic training manual for orchestra players, it might include ways to practice not only music, but one-upmanship. It seems as if many young players take pride in getting the conductor's goat. The following rules are intended as a guide to the development of habits that will irritate the conductor. (Variations and additional methods depend upon the imagination and skill of the player.) 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. When raising the music stand, be sure the top comes off and spills the music on the floor. 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. Look the other way just before cues. Never have the proper mute, a spare set of strings, or extra reeds. Percussion players must never have all their equipment. Ask for a re-audition more...