Caution: non-professional orchestra

Lately I’ve been wondering about orchestra playing. Are we supposed to play boring? Because that’s what everyone seems to be doing. Playing the notes. Dead notes. No life, no music, just notes. Is it all the conductor’s task? To bring the music to life? To bring the musicians to life? To be the brain of the orchestra? Am I supposed to shut down my intelligence when I enter the stage? Or how does it work exactly?

At least now I know where this ‘I don’t really know if I like playing in orchestra’-feeling comes from. From my experience with singlebrained orchestras (and by that I clearly don’t mean that all great minds are thinking alike).

If this happens even in professional orchestras, I don’t see why a concert with conservatory students should sound worse than one with fully professional musicians. If the level of musicality is the same in both cases. Although, … let me tell you something very unprofessional that happened during yesterday’s concert.

The jazz trumpet player gets up to start his solo. He blow the first introductory notes, and then … he faints. The stand falls down, he falls, his collegues help to catch him. You never know what’s going to happen during a concert, so this did come as a surprise. But now comes the unprofessional part of the whole situation. Half of the orchestra turns around to look what’s happening! Only the drummers continue playing (you didn’t expect that, now did you?), they keep on playing. I’m still trying to figure out why the saxophone players stopped playing. Not very professional. And less when they start again one bar early. The two clarinets next to me who had to play didn’t play either. They lost count. And it’s only with the entrance of the brass that everything falls in its place again.

In my opinion this is really unprofessional behaviour. If the conductor doesn’t end the performance you keep going. No? Is this again one of my ‘non standard’ ideas?

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