First in a Series

Recently, my wife Noelle (a professional violinist) and I spoke to the members of the New World Youth Symphony Orchestra. We talked about four pillars of respect that are required for excellence in any musical ensemble.

The four pillars are:

  • Respect for the Music
  • Respect for the Conductor
  • Respect for your Colleagues
  • Respect for Yourself


We had the students build a list of the many ways one demonstrates all of those traits when they are part of a performing group such as a symphony orchestra, band, or any other group that takes its music making seriously. Here is the first list.

How to Show Respect for the Music

  • Play it to the best of your ability
  • Know the tune
  • Knowing the history behind the piece, its composer, and its
    historical context
  • Take care of the physical music and mark it in a professional way
  • Understand your role within the entire piece
  • Learn to pronounce the composer’s name properly
  • Don’t always try to be the most important part
  • Count and subdivide carefully for proper rhythm
  • Don’t eat/drink around your music
  • Remain focused when you’re playing
  • Know what the other parts are playing, even when you have rests

We thought this list showed some great insight from some very fine young musicians who have only been playing for a few years. Long time professionals would do well to remember many of these points. Perhaps you can think of others.

Next week – Respect for the Conductor