The Golden Rules of Ensemble Playing
- Everyone should play the same piece.
- Stop at every repeat sign and discuss in detail whether to take the repeat or not. The audience will love this a lot!
- If you play a wrong note, give a nasty look to one of your partners.
- Keep your fingering chart handy. You can always catch up with the others.
- Carefully tune your instrument before playing. That way you can play out of tune all night with a clear conscience.
- Take your time turning pages.
- The right note at the wrong time is a wrong note (and vice versa).
- If everyone gets lost except you, follow those who get lost.
- Strive to get the maximum NPS (note per second). That way you gain the admiration of the incompetent.
- Markings for slurs, dynamics and ornaments should not be observed. They are only there to embellish the score.
- If a passage is difficult, slow down. If it's easy, speed it up. Everything will work itself out in the end.
- If you are completely lost, stop everyone and say, "I think we should tune".
- Happy are those who have not perfect pitch, for the kingdom of music is theirs.
- If the ensemble has to stop because of you, explain in detail why you got lost. Everyone will be very interested.
- A true interpretation is realized when there remains not one note of the original.
- When everyone else has finished playing, you should not play any notes you have left.
- A wrong note played timidly is a wrong note. A wrong note played with authority is an interpretation.
by J.W. Swing