How to Annoy and Alienate Colleagues in 11 Easy Steps!
Quirky personalities are more-or-less a fact of life in the classical music profession. For non-musicians and students, it can almost seem like a dirty secret when the dramas behind-the-scenes are discovered.
A prevailing thought among spectators is that because music is performed so harmoniously, professional musicians must all get along like peas in a pod. On the surface this seems like a very logical assumption.
Yet, some musicians – especially those unaccustomed to or sheltered from social morays and business norms – exhibit a fair amount of temperamental and odd behaviors that in any other work environment would have serious repercussions.
In that vein we have a deeply-jaded, professional French horn player named Archibald K. Noodlefish.
Here are some “tips” on how to make the best of a bad attitude.
from the venerable Archibald K. Noodlefish
1.) Play with a smart-phone.
Let’s be honest – rehearsals are boring!
How can one possibly expect to pay attention for that long and stay on task? Most of the stuff being said does not relate to me personally, so I might as well zone out and get some Facebook time.
2.) Complain about everything.
Life is one constant disappointment after another and I like to remind everyone around me about that fact.
My opinion is fair and honest and people need to hear it. Some might say that I have a negative attitude, but I would like to think that I am just being truthful.
3.) Empty tuning slides with passionate rage.
So what if yanking out my slides sounds like coins dropping into a tin bucket?
What is the problem with blowing condensation out with hurricane force? Who cares if I spin my horn around like a drunken acrobat?
I must get that water out and sometimes it needs to happen quickly – at any cost. It’s an occupational hazard really and some people simply do not understand what I have to go through to get this done.
4.) Socialize during rehearsals.
I have important things to say and catching up to do with my buddies. So what if I giggle and goof around when the conductor is rehearsing the strings? They should just have a string sectional and let me go home.
5.) Be a “Don Juan.”
Life is short and I need to get all the romance and attention I deserve.
Dating other musicians in the group I work with makes things much easier. If it eventually doesn’t work out, I will just move on to someone else and try that out for a while.
What harm is there in that?
6.) Show immediate appreciation after every solo entrance a colleague executes correctly.
It is important to support my colleagues when they get something right and they need to know that I support them. Telling them in person afterward is just too much effort; there is not enough time during work to do that.
Shuffling feet, thrusting out a leg or making kiss-kiss noises are all good options worth exploring. Of course if they mess up I will not shuffle or signal any kind of approval.
That would be silly and disrespectful!
In any case I am fairly sure that the sudden void of praise will go completely unnoticed. Besides, I will just make up for it next time with an even bigger acknowledgment.
Maybe I should wave a flag or shoot off fireworks?
7.) Avoid eye contact with the boss.
I can see the Maestro just fine in my peripheral vision. The guy is a bit leery of me anyway so I might as well take advantage of his insecurity and ignore his attempts to control me. That dirty bastard…
8.) Bark commands. Give dirty looks.
Rehearsals are done in a rush! Who has time for manners and politeness?
I take it personally when mistakes are made. If someone around me is doing something wrong I let them know right away and in as few words as possible in order to save time.
Sometimes a facial expression alone – one that looks like I just tasted cow manure and accidentally saw my parents having sex – lets people know that I disapprove.
Also, do not underestimate the power of sarcastic eye rolls and loud, exasperated sighs filled with bitter angst. Oh my goodness, those are precious art forms in themselves!
(He chuckles to himself for a moment, then gets serious.)
If the recipient of my feedback cannot handle an intense appreciation for rehearsal efficiency that is their problem, not mine. They just need to get a thicker skin and toughen up.
9.) Play a little louder and a little longer than everyone else.
I create dulcet tones and lovely art when I play. It is imperative that everyone hears and appreciates my Art.
Need I say more?
10.) Park your chair in someone’s line of sight.
I absolutely need to see the Maestro and sometimes I need to move my chair around to get the best view.
The people behind me are not important and I do not need to acknowledge their presence or their need to see the conductor. They can adjust their chairs around me.
11.) Avoid saying things like hello, how are you?, good morning or good-bye.
I see my colleagues every day – sometimes two or three times! They are not going anywhere, so I might as well take advantage of this and spend that time warming-up or playing with my smart-phone.
Besides, I dislike most of those people anyway!
Warmest wishes for a successful and memory-filled career,