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18 Steps for Better Band Performance


  • Everyone should play the same piece.

  • During a concert, 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 your partner.

  • Always 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 (notes 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 and make it look nice.

  • If a passage is difficult, slow down. If it's easy, speed up. Everything will work itself out in the end.

  • If you are completely lost, stop everyone else 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 realised when there remains not one note of the original.

  • A wrong note played timidly is a wrong note. A wrong note played with authority is an interpretation.

  • When everyone else has finished playing, you should not play any notes left over.

  • Never, ever, look at the conductor. He might mistake it for interest and try to put some real music in the piece.


Nota Bene for Musicians

(with acknowledgements to Peter Hayward)


p - piano (soft) - the neighbours have complained

f - forte (loud) - the neighbours are out 

Crescendo - getting louder - testing the neighbours' tolerance level 

ff - fortissimo (VERY loud) - to hell with the neighbours 

pp - pianissimo (VERY soft) - the neighbours are at the door 

Dim. - thick 

Obbligato - being forced to practice 

Rit. and/or Rall. - coming up to a bit you haven't practiced 

Con moto - I have a car 

Allegro - A little motor car 

Maestro - A bigger motor car 

Metronome - Person small enough to fit comfortably into a Mini 

Lento - the days leading up to Easto(with eggo and choco and things) 

Largo - brewed in Germany (Hence "Handel's Largo" reaches parts other beers cannot reach!) 

Piu Animato - if you don't clean that rabbit cage out, it will have to go 

Cantata - a fizzy drink 

Tutti - ice cream 

Coda - a fish-a served with chipsa 

Codetta - childs portion 

Chords - things that organists play with one finger 

Dischords - things that organists play with two fingers 

Suspended chord - for lynching the soloist 

Rubato - ointment for the musician's back 

Subdominant - "I can't play until I've asked the wife" 

Tonic - a pick-me-up 

Syncopation - bowel condition brought on by an overdose of Jazz 

Crotchet - knitting 

Quaver - the feeling before a lesson when you haven't practised 

Key signature - silly things put there to frighten you (ignore them, they will go away, and so will your audience) 

Time signatures - things for drummers to ignore 

Colla voce - this shirt is so tight I can't talk 

Professional - anyone who can't hold down a steady job 

Flats - English apartments 

A tempo - (just) in time 

A tempo de cafe - Ah, coffee time! 

Improvisation - what you do when the music falls down 

Fugue - clever stuff 

Prelude - warm-up session before the clever stuff 

Acciaccattura/appoggiatura - insects 

Opus - exclamation made when Moggy has done a "whoopsie" on the carpet 

Scales - fishy things 

Trills - bird food 

Virtuoso - someone who can work wonders with easy-play music 

Antiphonal - crossed lines 

Melody - an ancient and now extinct art in songwriting 

Music - Happiness!

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