Hybrid Arts Flutist



Posted on February 21, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Music Etiquette? Why do we need etiquette??

As a classical musician, the majority of my training was in how to play my instrument better. After all, folks who work in a primarily aural medium should have a handle on that! However, we are not just musicians – we are performers. Other performers, namely actors and dancers who work in a more visual medium, are trained in stage presence. Musicians seem to lack significant education in this department and forget we're being watched.

So when we scratch our butts during a performance... the audience notices. And then they forget to listen to you, because they're thinking, "They just scratched their butt!!"

In addition to stage presence, I’m a stickler for stage decorum and how to work with colleagues in an appropriate, congenial way. I think there are many problems in orchestras and chamber ensembles that could be solved with a few simple etiquette lessons! Preferably over lunch. BLT, anyone?

Although stage presence and etiquette seem separate and don’t have a clear connection, I believe they are both essential to us as performers and neither is stressed enough in our musical education. I would like to compensate for some of that lack of education by writing down tips I’ve learned about these issues. Some points are obvious (but should be said anyway) and some are taken from the theatre and dance education I've had.

Sometimes I repeat myself so you might find certain topics like smiling, being genuine, etc. repeated over and over in this blog. But I find these subjects are incredibly important and worth repeating.

In addition to giving advice, I will also be taking questions! Are you sitting in rehearsal and have an etiquette quandry? Do you have a performance coming up and are unsure of your bow? I'd love to hear about it and help you out! I also welcome your opinions, so feel free to post in the comments section if you agree or disagree with what I've said. Though... no swearing. There are kids present.

I will be updating my blog once a week, so please check back next Sunday for my first real entry entitled, “When Does the Performance Start?”.

Categories: Stage Presence, Etiquette

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