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Show-offs - and what can be done about them


Meadow
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My daughter led the viola section in an important music school concert this evening. During one movement she had a solo, but had agreed earlier to share it (that is, play it as a duet) with her stand partner who is fairly new to the string program in order to give him a bit of a boost. Everything went fine in rehearsals but, during the performance (in front of a very large audience) she discovered this guy's ego certainly doesn't need boosting. The string orchestra always stands during its performances. During the movement with the solo, the stand partner stood directly in front of the music stand in such a way that my daughter couldn't see the music at all - and remained there for the entire movement. Luckily, my daughter knew MOST of the movement by memory and played on as best she could. After the concert, the "partner" was bragging about how well he'd played. Others said later that this guy has a long-standing habit of deliberately upstaging people during concerts.

Has anyone else had to deal with such blatant show-off? What happened, and how did you deal with this person?

[This message has been edited by Meadow (edited 11-18-2000).]

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I have had almost the same thing happen to me. I am concertmaster of my highschool orchestra and we were playing saint saens introduction and rondo caprisioco as you know it is for solo violin and the orchestra part is pretty easy. Well this guy in orchestra got mad so in the middle of the song he comes up there pushes me out of the way and starts playing it. I was in shock, but you know I just got up there again moved him outta the way and started going again. I think with showoffs you need to be agressive in a way. Also at our state solo and ensemble there are kids there who feel they need to showoof and one kid came up to me and said I bet I am a better player than you are. This obviously got me mad so I challenged him to seee who was better he played his solo piece which was the Mendellsohn and I played my piece which was the Sibelius and you know he was mad at me but the point of this kinda wandering post I made is sometimes you just have to be agressive and show the showoffs that there will always be times when they dont get there way. Also has your daughter talked to him about this maybe he is doing it unintentionally although I may doubt it but if she tells him how she feels maybe things will get better.

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Rainyann: my daughter was SO angry she didn't talk to the stand partner because she thought she might get dangerous smile.gif

However, she did talk to the conductor, who has promised to deal with the situation before the next concert in two weeks' time. Hopefully, he'll deal with it in my daughter's favour. The next concert will be her last in the pre-college program and she certainly doesn't want it spoiled by some selfish upstart. My daughter has a reputation as an excellent orchestral musician, partly because she's a good "team player". This boy seems to be one of those who so fancies his chances as a soloist that he couldn't care less about the ensemble. We know many young people who think along those lines, but don't act it out so blatantly during concerts.

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This sort of behavior should be discussed with the conductor. The conductor might very well have noticed it anyway -- and might have been waiting to see the reactions of the players involved. (In a youth symphony, anyway.)

I had the interesting experience, in high school, of fighting with my stand partner daily over seating, one year. I was the concertmistress. She was rather bitter about this -- not because she played better (she didn't), but because she felt that her popularity amongst the other players entitled her to the first chair, and was older than me by three years. The conductor, as you might imagine, didn't see it her way. wink.gif

However, the conductor never intervened -- until I asked him to. He'd been waiting to see how much I'd tolerate before I stood up for myself, and how far my stand partner would go. (How far she went is a story unto itself.)

Also, you never know who is in the audience, even at a school concert. I've had all kinds of surprises -- future teachers, future college admissions officers, future freelance colleagues (and orchestra personnel managers)... bad behavior can come back to haunt someone in the most unexpected ways. Graciousness under fire, too, is a useful and notable skill.

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How rude, well do what I did as a child, run away from the Violinists LOL. I absolutely could not bear the scratching and sqauking, but although we were poor folk the Lord blessed me with perfect pitch and a creative mind while they -the little geniuses were fiddling for candy- 'I' was at home playing WITH an old spanish Guitar which had but three stings and inventing tunes and variations on Piano, BTW I was 5 years old them.

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There's this show off at my music school which everyone's fed up with. He's a pretty good player (great technique I must say) so we can't squash him too much.

But he sucks in orchestra, haha.

There was this time when we had a guest conductor who is known to be nasty. What happened was that this show off was doing wrong bowings and the conductor pointed at him and told him off. Then at a pp he played quite loudly and he was told to play softer. Then he turned to the players around him and said, "my piano's are soloist's piano". We all got so annoyed. Then during break he came up to me and said, "it's funny that the best violinist in this music school gets told off!"

Now we just laugh it off. Whenever the section makes a mistake or whatever, EVERYBODY would turn to him and say it's him. The funny thing is that his ego is so huge (and he could be so insensitive) that he doesn't care or doesn't feel anything.

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quote:

Originally posted by toasty:

How rude, well do what I did as a child, run away from the Violinists LOL. I absolutely could not bear the scratching and sqauking, but although we were poor folk the Lord blessed me with perfect pitch and a creative mind while they -the little geniuses were fiddling for candy- 'I' was at home playing WITH an old spanish Guitar which had but three stings and inventing tunes and variations on Piano, BTW I was 5 years old them.

I happen to be a violinist, I do not brag about anything. However, one thing I can't stand is; the inability in people to look at all sides of an issue, I'm not talking about the girl who got shoved aside by her stand partner, that was rude and inexcusable. You "Toasty", should criticize

music, musicians, and musical instruments only when it can be accepted as intelligent opinion.

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Crystal, How dare you call me edgy!!!!!!!!!!!!! smile.gif Just kidding! smile.gif

I have been on both sides of this issue, I have had my comments twisted into something I did not mean to imply, As anyone who has conversed with me knows, I am very tongue in cheek at times, and it is often misconstrued.

I myself have also jumped down a few peoples throats for comments that I might have read a little too much into. We're only human, and we tend to have mood swings from time to time, but for the most part the people here are very generous and courtious, and the rest of you can kiss my...Oh I'm sorry another mood swing! laugh.gif

Can't we all just get along!?

Pole

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Hey Polecat, I hear you're a new daddy (Congratulations!) so you have a perfect excuse for mood swings! how is your wife doing? and little Abigail? Most importantly, are you helping out by sharing the getting up in the middle of the night duties?? smile.gif

Get along? Well, gee, sure, but ho hum, how boring! laugh.gif

actually I shouldn't talk, I'd probably just melt into the background with a hurt expression and let the show-off have his way, then go around for three days with a "woe is me" attitude!

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Laurel, Tis true, I'm the proud poppa!! Abigail was born 11/5 and my feet have yet to hit the ground!! Momma and baby are doing just great, and as a matter of fact I do get up with my wife and help with the feedings, my job is the official diaper changer, I'm getting pretty good at it too, about 1 min. 20 sec. a change! Is that a guy thing? timing everything we do and trying to improve on it each time!? Please quit snickering! I didn't mean it that way!

Pole

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