GUIDELINES FOR ORCHESTRAL ETIQUETTE Know Where and When When you receive your Rehearsal Schedule, check for conflicts between GVYO commitments and your other activities. Advise the manager as soon as possible of any conflicts requiring your absence from a GVYO rehearsal or concert.
Arrive prepared Players are expected to have prepared their parts before each rehearsal, in all cases except sight-reading rehearsals. Individual home practice of the music allows the conductor to use the rehearsal to make music, not just to ‘note bash’. Also, listen often to recordings of the repertoire.
Arrive on time Players should arrive at any rehearsal or performance in plenty of time to set-up, tune, and be seated and ready to play by the time indicated on the schedule. A good plan is to arrive a half hour before the scheduled time.
Assist with set-up All players are expected to assist the stage manager in practical matters such as movement of music stands, chairs, instruments and equipment.
Attend every rehearsal There is no such thing as an unnecessary player in an orchestra. Conductor and individual players depend upon, but most important, the music itself demands, the contribution of every member of every section. For this reason absence, except in emergencies, is unacceptable.
Bring everything you need Pencil and eraser are required at every rehearsal. String players also need rosin, a spare set of strings, and mute. Wind players - mutes, reeds, screw drivers, oil, grease, etc.
When the conductor stops the ensemble, stop playing immediately. Even when teaching is not focused on your section, keep your ears attuned to the conductor – what is being taught elsewhere will likely pertain to your section very soon and you just might learn something about the music!
Do your best to match the style and intonation of your section leader
Direct any question about your part to your section leader. If your question is intended specifically for the conductor, wait for the break or other opportunity when the conductor has time to listen.
Good posture is an essential habit for all musicians, both for health and for aesthetics. It also visually communicates your commitment to the music. Learn to avoid sudden or unnecessary movement, which can be distracting to other players and audience.
Fostering good communications
Musical concerns: take concerns to your section leader first, or to the conductor if and when appropriate
Non-musical concerns: take these either to your section representative on the Players Committee or to the manager
PRACTICAL MATTERS Instruments Instruments are a valuable – and vulnerable – investment for every musician. Protect your own instruments and watch out for others’ in the crowded environment of the rehearsal hall.
Ensure that your instrument is adequately covered on your home insurance policy. It may need its own private rider.
If you don't already own one, consider buying a case that provides sufficient protection for your instrument
Never leave your instrument out of its case when it is not being used.
The orchestra owns some instruments and bows that it may loan to orchestra members. These assignments are made at the discretion of the conductor. It is the borrower’s responsibility to ensure that these instruments are well cared for and returned in decent condition. The GVYO holds insurance on these instruments for GVYO use.
Music Your music copies are the property of the orchestra, and will be used by future orchestra members after you have finished with them. Players are responsible to keep their parts good repair, and to return them to the orchestra librarian promptly after use.
Marking Your Part
Do not mark anything on your music except those notations necessary to help you read your part. Mark only in pencil
Before you return your music to the librarian, it is a much appreciated courtesy to erase all marks exceptbowings from your part
Players will be charged replacement cost for any music lost or seriously damaged.
Some Common Techniques for Marking Rhythm:
Mark the main beats with a vertical line (large enough not to be mistaken for a fingering). Mark them neatly right over the corresponding beat.
Always count bars rest - don't rely on anyone but yourself.
Make absolutely sure you know before you begin a piece of music what the conductor's beat is, e.g. in a slow passage is he subdividing and beating in 8? Mark your part accordingly (e.g. In 2 or In 6)
Ritards can be marked with a wavy line above the passage – as can any sudden rubato, etc. It's a signal to keep a close eye on the conductor.
Other attention grabbers:
Any trap or sudden change can be marked with ‘eyeglasses’. This means ATTENTION!
If you miss an accidental - mark it in immediately. Anyone can make a mistake once, but it's embarrassing to make it twice and unforgivable to make it three times!
NOTES FOR STRING PLAYERS
If you need to put a fingering in a passage, discuss your ideas with your stand partner and try to agree on the same fingering. Keep any fingerings to a minimum, and write only the fingering of the first note in the new position. If two different fingerings are needed, then the outside player's fingering goes above, and that of the inside player below. Write neatly!
The inside player is largely responsible for marking things on the part, and for turning pages. Inside players: take your responsibility seriously. Once you have seen what is coming up on the next page, you can prepare yourself by writing on the bottom of the previous page either:
time - i.e. play out the page - there’s no hurry, or there’s a rest coming, or
vs (versus subito) - turn quickly, and well in advance ... but not too soon! In a busy passage it’s a challenge to turn at exactly the right time in order that the outside player doesn’t miss a note.
Playing chords and double stops: assume that these are to be divided, unless told otherwise by the conductor. Only roll or arpeggiate a chord if told to do so.
two notes written simultaneously: the outside player plays the upper note and the inside player plays the lower.
three notes: decide which player should cover 2 notes, depending on the most comfortable combination
four notes: divide 2 and 2
Any large DIVISI sections may be divided desk by desk or otherwise according to the instruction of the conductor or section leader.
Any ornaments or grace notes which are at the discretion of the performer should be demonstrated by the concertmaster.
Vibrate all PIZZICATI, unless told otherwise - it really makes a difference!
CONCERTS We normally present three mainstage concerts each season, and supplement these with a school concert and/or run-out community concert.
One or two rehearsals, including the Dress Rehearsal, are held prior to each concert at the concert venue (normally The Farquhar at UVic). Dress rehearsals DO NOT require concert dress, unless specifically requested for a photo shoot or special circumstance.
Dress code for women: black dress or skirt (full length), or black dress pants; black jacket (optional); black blouse; black dress shoes and dark stockings or black socks. Dress code for men: black trousers; black jacket; black shirt; long black tie (optional); black dress shoes and black socks. Tuxedos are appropriate but not essential. Concert Decorum: The GVYO strives to act professionally, so be aware of your behaviour and appearance as a GVYO performer. Most tuning takes place backstage before the performance. Backstage noise should be kept to a minimum, entrances and exits should be calm, and deportment on stage dignified. Distracting habits, e.g. practicing onstage before the performance or fidgeting during it, take away from the music.
MEMBER POSITIONS Players Committee Elected each year by the players, this committee consists of representatives of each of the major sections of the orchestra (violins, lower strings, woodwinds, brass & percussion). The committee meets monthly with the manager to communicate player concerns to the board and conductor, and to receive information about board decisions and activities.
Librarian Whenever possible, an orchestra member will assume the task of librarian for the orchestra and will receive a monthly honorarium for this job. This task may be shared by two players. The librarian is responsible for cataloguing, marking, distribution and collection of scores and parts for the music the orchestra plays, as well as looking after its condition, and replacing lost or damaged parts. Most of the music we play is owned by the GVYO, while some is rented or borrowed from other orchestras. The orchestra also lends music to a number of musical organizations around the island.
Stage Manager Whenever possible an orchestra member will assume the task of stage manager for the orchestra and will receive an monthly honorarium for this job. This task may be shared by two players. The stage manager prepares the setting for rehearsals and concerts (chairs, stands, podium, etc.) All players are expected to assist the stage manager with these tasks.
PLACEMENT A youth orchestra exists for the joy of making music, and also for training in orchestral experience; one area of training is placement.
Every chair in the orchestra requires a strong, committed player.
Every position in the ensemble presents different challenges and offers different opportunities. For example the ‘Last Desk’ requires a particularly strong, focused player.
Placement in a youth orchestra is determined both by artistic considerations, i.e. balance between sections and within each section, and also by pedagogic concerns, e.g. the most able players are given leadership roles to provide a musical example for less experienced players.
BENEFITS Of course the greatest benefit of membership in the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra is just being part of a really great orchestra! Our world-class conductors and coaches are experts at fostering the skills of young musicians, and the camaraderie and fun can’t be beat! But there are other rewards too.
Repertoire: All the ‘greats’, and a good smattering of rarely heard masterpieces as well.
Recordings: We record our concerts for archival purposes and for the educational purposes of our music directors and players. You can learn a great deal from listening critically to these recordings, which are available in CD format on a cost basis.
Solo Opportunities: On occasion the GVYO holds Concerto Auditions for members, offering an opportunity for players to perform solo repertoire with orchestral accompaniment.
Friendships: Many GVYO members remain fast friends - and musical colleagues - years after leaving the orchestra.
Experience: While every orchestra member gains valuable experience as a musician, our librarians, stage managers, and members of the Players Committee also gain ‘backstage’ insight into the orchestra’s operations. Wherever your future profession may lie, your GVYO experience will have taught you to pursue your goals with focus, discipline, teamwork, and inspiration.