I once launched my bow into the audience at a CSUN concert after a particularly zesty up-bow release. The inside chair gave me his bow and sat through the rest of the movement quietly, but the person who caught the bow kept standing up and trying to give it back during rests and I had to continually hiss “not now!” and bat him away.

My high school conductor used to work sitting on a stool, and one time he got flapping a little too enthusiastically and he fell clean off the stage. Just tipped backwards about 6 feet flat onto his back and disappeared. It was amazing, after we heard his wheezing voice eak out I’m okaaay

My first teacher’s daughter was a wonderful violist who was intently playing a quick section in orchestra when she noticed her bow wasn’t moving freely any more. As she tried to continue, she heard a muffled sound and looked up, only to see the tip of her bow stuck between her standpartner’s upper lip and gums.

One summer at Idyllwild Arts, during some Bizet, my standpartner’s D string started slowly uncoiling. When she stopped to fix it between movements, all of the other strings popped off. She panicked, maybe because she was the outside player, and thought the people watching would notice. So she asked me to fix it for her while she pretended to play. We must have looked like a biplane trying to take off with a mechanic still putting fuel in it. What a mess!

The next summer at Idyllwild, during a performance of Pictures at an Exhibition, a bat got into the hall and flapped all over the stage, strafing the principal trumpet player just before the “Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle” solo, and later settled behind the bass section, who were all too cool to even care, man. (PS: The little guy was shooed outside, unharmed, after the concert was over)

Aside from providing a bit of a laugh, it’s a bit of a reminder that things can go wrong and it’s not the end of the world. See you tomorrow, with some more hacks for fixing problem technique. 🙂


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