10 absolute nightmares only musicians have

21 August 2017, 15:14

They won’t make great trick or treating costumes, but these are the truly *terrifying* scenarios that haunt musicians’ dreams

1 Pageturning nightmares

Variations include: pages won’t turn, pages are blank, pageturner knocks music off stand, pages are made of chocolate.

You can watch the whole of that terrifying page-turning ordeal, by the way, here

2 Reed terrors

Like night terrors, only specific to bassoon and oboe players. Warning: the following image may cause panic attacks for wind players


broken oboe reed

3 When the orchestra plays an entirely different piece from the one you’d prepared

But like that would ever happen in real life. Oh wait.

Remember that time it happened to a real-life virtuoso, Maria João Pires?

See also: that time the whole Berlin Philharmonic pranked their soloist with the wrong concerto

4 Hanon finger exercises

Hanon’s exercises for pianists: simultaneously the most boring things on the planet. And, unbelievably, extremely stubborn earworms.

Thanks Hanon.

Hanon exercises

5 Being forced to play a contact sport

Urgh, such fast-moving and objects flying through… DON’T TOUCH ME AND MY PRECIOUS FINGERS.


6 Being asked to play for free

Oh no, actually, that one happens in real life. My bad.



7 You have to play in a concert but all your black clothes are in the wash.

See also: when you realise you’re naked part-way through a recital; when you realise the examiner is naked part-way through an exam.

washing machine 

8 Having to make small talk to a non-muso

“What instrument do you play? Or do you sing”

“Actually I’m a lawyer”


9 Playing outdoors in a freak hurricane

There's no relying on English summers… (they do not look like this)

Playing violin outside


10 Memory lapses

The audience take their seats, the house lights come down and… nothing. Mind blank.