Orchestra Etiquette and Rehearsal Helps

As we are a learning orchestra, we thought it would be helpful to post some general tips that are universal to playing not only with this group, but also other groups as your musical career leads you:

To all rehearsals, please remember to bring:

  • Your music – There is rarely spare music for any one part
  • Your own music stand – there aren’t any extras to loan out
  • A music stand light if you need one
  • A tuner, if you have one
  • A sharpened pencil plus a spare for marking your music
  • A snack for break time
  • Any questions you may have
  • Anything else you think you may need

Please don’t forget to mark your music with the rehearsal markings as given during rehearsal.  If you miss something or want to double-check, they are posted on the “Members Only” page on this site.

Please remember to KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE CONDUCTOR!  If you cannot see the conductor clearly from your seat, please adjust your seat and your stand so that you can see her clearly.  If you do not look at or cannot see the conductor, you will miss cues, tempo changes, etc.

Please remember to stay quiet when the conductor is working with an individual or a section.  They need to be able to hear her and she needs to be able to hear them.

Please practice your music.  I know it’s said many, many times, but it cannot be overstated.  Individual practice time is when we get our notes, learn our rhythms and our parts.  Rehearsal time is when the conductor pulls it all together for the best sound possible.  If we are not prepared at rehearsal, we lose valuable time while the conductor has to work with those who should have practiced at home, which is not fair to those who did invest the time at home.  These rehearsals make us better musicians.  Let’s invest our time wisely  in practice so that we get the biggest return at rehearsal.

Dress Rehearsal – Dress rehearsal does not mean come to rehearsal in concert dress, unlike a theatrical production where costumes are involved.  It simply refers to the rehearsal being conducted AS IF it were performance night.  That means there will be no stops, no do-overs (unless we hit a major problem in the music).  Please come to dress rehearsal attired comfortably, as with all other rehearsals, and not in your concert wardrobe.

Concert Dress:  This is considered a formal occasion.  Accordingly, please come attired as if going out to a night at the orchestra – because you are!  People are coming out to hear you play, and we all want to look our best:

  • Ladies, dress is ‘concert black’.  This means we wear all-black: black skirt or pants with a black top, or an all-black dress.
  • Gentlemen, please wear a black suit or black tuxedo, white dress shirt and black bow tie.