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Hilarious rehearsal quotes
Ah, the life of a musician...
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (26 votes) 
Sacramento, California

May 8, 2022 - 4:33 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
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Community/semi-pro orchestra:

Ginastera, Dances from "Estancia"
Ginastera, Harp Concerto
Schumann, Symphony No. 4


"Basses, I have this fantasy that I will be able to hear all these glisses."

(in the harp concerto, Ginastera calls for the first violins to play double-stops "as high as possible" on the A and E strings)
"Pick a nice, impossibly high pitch and stick to it. It can't possibly be wrong. Be confident. Don't let anyone tell you it's wrong."

"We should reorchestrate all the Mahler symphonies with maracas. Mahler reorchestrated Beethoven, why not?"

"Jonathan, are you on the tamburo rullante? At 15, burn it -- as if you were a trombone player."

"Piccolo, this needs to be more of a beast. I'm picturing something between an elephant and a dinosaur. It can sound more desperate."

Conductor: Trumpets, what are you playing?
Trumpeter: First movement at 13.
Conductor: That was almost right. First movement, at the beginning. These masks and that accent -- those porteños are impossible to understand.

"It should sound completely wrong. So wrong that it's right."

"There's a hell of a lot going on, a lot of characters and ideas intertwined. It's like reading Proust, except with a bit more neuroticism mixed in. If you spent two hours with him, it would drive you crazy... which is why the symphony isn't that long."

"Celli, basses, you have an expensive sound system at home. I'm going to need a little more darkness from it."

"That was very 1905. Very chic."

"This is how you... no, this is not how you bounce a basketball. Sorry, I didn't do sports as a kid. Well, I did do sports for a bit, and then I was horribly injured. That's my excuse."

"Let's do some standard-issue Romantic violin playing for a moment just to get it out of our systems."
(first violins play passage)
"Now let's do some weird shit."

"Try to rush a little bit. Channel that stand partner you once had who had no sense of rhythm and you hated them for it."

"Is it just me, or am I hearing too much good playing? It's all a little too responsible."

"Put your mouse at the bottom of the curve and drag it down a bit."

"We have one-third of a bass section to lead us into this movement... but it's a mighty one-third!"

"I need more bow. It should almost make you dizzy, you know? Seasick."

"Basses, this is your Caruso moment that you've been waiting for all season."

"This is one of Dante's circles of hell. We'll have a proper celesta on Friday, but until then can you try playing an octave lower so it's slightly tolerable?"
(celesta player plays an octave lower on electronic keyboard)
"All this technology, we can Zoom and talk with somebody, but then we get this."

"In the percussion, the bongos can be a lot more heroic to begin with."

(after working on Ginastera harp concerto, before moving on to Estancia)
"Completely different world. Close your eyes and reimagine. This is nothing like the spaceship I picture for the harp concerto."

"It's like the dog falling into the pond."

"Let's dance the malambo! This may be the fastest malambo we've ever danced, because there isn't enough time."

"Strings, don't work so hard. Let them [the woodwinds] play. Treat yourself."

(singing along with beginning of 2nd movement of Schumann 4)
"Let's go ho-ome, good night, good night."

"Please be patient with me as I try to use this toy podium... I'll try to be still, but with these dances I can't guarantee it. If I start falling off, try to catch me."

"Mezzo-forte cantando: more bird-like. Lighten it up."

"It's still a little shy. It sounds like you're worried about making a mistake. It should be the exact opposite. This is your..." (raises arms, strikes a pose) "...red carpet moment."

"We haven't played through this whole piece in a while. I'm not going to stop unless it gets disastrous. Let's see what happens."
(stops orchestra 28 measures in)
"I lied."

"Percussion, you guys are inside a subwoofer."

"Make the brass great again: bring it down a little."


May 8, 2022 - 10:51 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
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@AndrewH -


Thanx for sharing the humor! 




...except, 'malambo' ref sent me down another (wonderful) rabbit hole. (lol) 

- Emily

Sacramento, California

May 30, 2022 - 9:08 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
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University orchestra:

Wagner, Overture to Rienzi
Koetsier, Tuba Concertino, 1st movement
J. Strauss II, "Mein herr marquis" from Die Fledermaus
Felder, Die Dämmerungen
Weber, Overture to Die Freischütz


"I love your enthusiasm, horns! You may all be reading a completely wrong transposition, but you're really going for it!"

"Did you get the monster?"
(trombonist looks confused)
"I talked to Nick, and he said you were coming by to check out the contrabass trombone, so I thought you were going to do him a favor."

"If it's too heavy it'll feel like you had too big a burrito and you're playing basketball."

"Much better at 100... it just needs to be a little crazier."

"This reminds me of the music of John Luther Adams, who likes to write these long lines... it also reminds me of the music from House of Cards, which I like very much."

"It's a magical forest. Don't think of it so normal."

"It's a bit darker. But it also needs to be creamy. And a little bit machine gun. Everything all at once, like Krazy Salt."

"You know what it's like when you have a water hose with a lot of holes in it? This passage started off so well, and by the end it was full of holes. It needs to keep the same energy all the way through."

"279, fortissimo, like a big truck... falling... on top of the garden."

"This last bar needs to be more fat... with more lard in it."

(when rehearsing Weber)
"It needs to creep in from nothing. Think of Ligeti."

"It's not gonna be attacca, so there's no need to page your turns too soon."

"Think of it like you're in a cave. Dark. There's a monk, with a ceramic bowl and a candle. It needs to sound religious. From 7 -- don't forget your ceramic bowl."

"This is a very fat monk. Almost like a sumo wrestler. And all the mass that this man has should be in all the triplets."

"Zinnia, it needs to be saltier in the bongos. It's a bit too kind. Have you seen politicians in a debate, and they say all kinds of horrible things about each other? That's exactly what this needs to be."


May 31, 2022 - 4:00 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
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@AndrewH -

💖 these! 

Thank you!

Sacramento, California

June 5, 2022 - 3:46 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
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Last orchestra concert of the season is done, which means it's time for more quotes! This was Camellia Symphony playing some opera selections followed by Holst's The Planets.


The full program:

Delibes, "Dôme épais le jasmin" (Flower Duet) from Lakmé
Offenbach, "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" (Barcarolle) from The Tales of Hoffmann
Verdi, "Pace, pace, mio Dio!" from La Forza del Destino
Dvořák, "Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém" (Song to the Moon) from Rusalka
Verdi, "Mercè, dilette amiche" from I Vespri Siciliani
Holst, The Planets


"This should feel like you're just about to fall off a precipice, you know? I know you're trying to play all these high sixteenth notes, staccato, fortissimo... that's not important right now. I need to feel like (gasp) I'm going to fall."

(on Jupiter)
"The next one is a fun one. Jolly, even."

(after someone asked what opera selection was being rehearsed next)
"It's the only one left. That's the problem with an iPad: no paper you can throw on the floor."

"At 17, it needs to be more Ravel and less Stravinsky. I know there's some overlap in The Firebird, but... in general."

"Figure 4: the E.T. music."

Conductor (waving at horn player who missed entrance): Hello?
Horn player: Sorry, lost in space.

(phone rings)
Conductor: What was that?
Cellist: That's me trying to silence the music.
Conductor: Technology scares me.
(phone rings again a minute later)
Conductor: It's like an elevator.

"It's an expensive F-sharp. Don't squander it."

"Fast, but not furious."

"Sorry, brass, I know you're getting bored. And there's going to be some more quiet work when the choir gets here. I'll give you some Jupiter in a bit to wake you up."

"There was no Pluto yet. Poor Pluto."

(on violin trills that open the Offenbach Barcarolle)
"This opening is really desperate to be Wagner, isn't it?"

(on choir not being backstage when we reached Neptune at dress rehearsal)
"We're running 20 minutes late and they're still not here. Good service. Let's go on Yelp, everyone!"

(harpist misses entrance at end of Uranus)
"If that happens tonight, I'll wait for you. Or call out your name."

(phone rings at very end of Neptune)
"It must be Holst! He likes it."

Fort Lauderdale
June 16, 2022 - 12:01 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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@AndrewH - Great stuff. 😁

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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