15 things your conductor says vs. what they REALLY mean

22 November 2017, 15:20

What conductors really mean

There are certain phrases conductors always pull out of the bag during rehearsal – and we’ve translated them for you. Get ready for some tough love…

1. What they say: “One more time”

What they actually mean: “Roughly 19 more times”

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2. What they say: “OK, so imagine there’s a string coming out of your head, and reaching up towards the ceiling”

What they actually mean: “Your posture is just awful, I can barely look at you”

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3. What they say: “Playing in an orchestra will be the most formative experience of your life”

What they actually mean: “Over the next couple of years, you’ll get pretty used to me shouting and spitting at you. But it’s going to be OK.”

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4. What they say: “Watch your intonation there”

What they actually mean: “You’re horrendously out of tune”

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5. What they say: “Remember, just keep this beat going in your head” 

*clicks 4 slow beats*

What they actually mean: “Seriously, you’re 35 years old. Please learn to count to 4”

*clicks aggressively*

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6. What they say: “Someone was slightly out of tune there, let’s try it once more”

What they actually mean: “Trumpets, play in tune please”

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7. What they say: “One more time, but play it like you really mean it”

What they actually mean: “Your lack of enthusiasm is killing me right now”

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8. What they say: “We’re finishing early today!”

What they actually mean: “Yeah, we’re only finishing early if you get it right.”

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9. What they say: “OK brass, ready for your entry”

What they actually mean: “Where the heck are the brass? Are they still at the pub?”

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10. What they say: “We can take a break now, or keep playing and get out early!”

What they actually mean: “We’ll play through the break, and go approximately 15 minutes over time too but you won’t be able to object because we’ll be halfway through Mahler 3 by then” *evil laugh*

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11. What they say: “Just really feel the Tactus in that passage”

What they actually mean: “For the love of God, just count will you?!!”

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12. What they say: “If you chat between movements, you’re only wasting your own rehearsal time”

What they actually mean: “If you chat between movements, I will be late to the pub. And that’s absolutely not happening.”

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13. What they say: “Right, now let's move on to the Mendelssohn"

What they actually mean: “If you actually practised, you'd get to play interesting music like Shostakovich and Stravinsky”

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14. What they say: *Upbeat* “Let’s try that one more time!”

What they actually mean: “PLAY WHEN I POINT MY BATON OK?? OK.”

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15. What they say: “Good”

What they actually mean: “You finally listened to what I've been saying for the past six months”

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