Report Oh, the quirks of a student orchestra! in Early Posts - 1996 - 1999 Posted November 22, 1999 funny! In my university orchestra, people actually avoid sitting near the front because they don't want the conductor to hear what they really sound like. Occasionally I sense some bad vibes from people over seating, but we no longer compare hickeys (except as a joke) or drop difficult music-- everybody knows that in college, unless you are a music major, you don't take private lessons anymore anyway. Most of us don't practice either-- college students who are not performance majors (and my school doesn't even have a performance program) hardly have time to practice! (well, that is not necessarily true, but for most people practicing is no longer a priority!) I must say that I can understand being jealous of the players in the front. In the back it's really hard to make music. The brass section blasts right into your ear, nobody else there can play the notes, and you can't even see the conductor, so it's definitely harder to play well in the back than in the front! When I started playing with my university orchestra, I sat in the VERY last seat, so I know what it is like back there! So I feel some pity for the poor guys who struggle along and drag the whole section down-- that was me! But, thankfully, I practiced (for a couple of years), and I managed to escape that position-- that is, until I join another orchestra one step up from this one. Some people are in the back because they are unmotivated (especially in high school), but some people are in the back just because they are working their way up. Seriously, I think it is good for us string players, especially violinists, to have our egos deflated a little and sit in the back of the section. For some people, getting stuck in the back can be a dead end, but I think that if you are wise (someday you may find yourself in the back of a much better orchestra than you are in today), you would take it as a challenge to yourself and your own playing. In which case sitting in the back will actually work for you and not against you. That way you can't lose!