Types of Stand Partners

May 22, 2017, 10:25 AM ·

stand partners

  1. The Pro. How did I even end up sitting next to this prodigy?
  2. The Show-Off. Please stop playing the Sibelius violin concerto in d minor. I get it. Everyone gets it.
  3. The Whisperer. This is way more interesting than listening to the violas attempting to play louder!
  4. The Snacker. Half of you wishes he would stop crunching, half of you wants him to share.
  5. The Slacker. She never has a pencil. She already lost her music. You have to take on the role of the Responsible One (see number 21), otherwise you’ll both be dead. You’re kinda surprised that she remembered the concert was today. Oh look, she’s wearing black jeans instead of dress pants. “Yeah we sit in the back no sweat man no one will notice.”
  6. The Crush. I actually practiced that tough passage.
  7. The Jazz Musician. Probably knows what secondary dominants are and can sing and identify all the modes. I’m 5% annoyed and 95% secretly jealous of your mad skills.
  8. The Best Friend. You write messages to each other on the back of the music so the conductor won’t know you’re chatting.
  9. The Strong Silent Type. He never says anything and is really tall. You’re a little bit intimidated and too scared to talk to him.
  10. The Phone Addict. If you don’t stop playing Crossy Road, you’ll be flatter than that chicken.
  11. The Comedian. You wish you had something witty and clever to say back.
  12. The Klutz. She has a lot of nicks on her instrument, and her shoulder rest is always falling off. Somehow she sent your pencil flying into the void, and she knocked all of the music off the stand. Last week she nearly stabbed your eye out.
  13. The Violist. Plays so terrible, basically a violist. Also known as the Airbower. (Just kidding, I am a violist!)
  14. The Artist. All of your music is covered in doodles now. You’re pretty sure you even saw a blender scribbled in somewhere…
  15. The Restless One. Taps foot. Scratches head. Jiggles knee so hard that the stand shakes and your beloved mechanical pencil bumbles its way off the stand and falls to its death.
  16. The Snoozer. Should you wake her up, or just let her get what she deserves?
  17. The Persnickety One. He insists on marking in everything himself. He requires you to fold the edge of the page a certain way. The stand has to be just the right height and turned just the right way so there is equal viewing space.
  19. The Cello Wannabe. He’s always turning his instrument upside-down and playing it like a cello. Just switch already.
  20. The Turtle/Hunchback. My back aches from watching you.
  21. The Responsible One. Your hero. He always has a pencil, always taped his music, knows what measure to start on, and he lends you his rosin, extra mute, and nail clippers.
  22. The One Who Can’t Turn Pages. She accidentally ripped your music too.
  23. The One Who’s Always Late. On the bright side, you get the whole stand to yourself.
  24. The One Who’s Always Tuning. Also known as the last one to finish tuning. Re-tunes every other rehearsal number.
  25. The One With Bad Handwriting and Can’t Spell. Did you write “energy” or “enmeyy”? Does that say “pesante” or “peasant”? How does one play like a peasant?
  26. The One Who Plays Out of Tune. And then everyone turns around to stare at you both after your stand partner finishes on something in between an F and an F# instead of an E, and you want nothing more than to protest your innocence. But it’s too late. Everyone already turned back around again. Your reputation has been established. Now you have to move to a new country.


May 22, 2017 at 07:35 PM · Well done. But, maybe number 24 is using gut, and they have to tune so they don't end up as number 26;)

May 22, 2017 at 07:55 PM · I was a violist in the SFYO and all of these applied to me. Well, maybe only half.

May 22, 2017 at 08:44 PM · I would fall under nos. 1, 11, and 15. I get a little persnickety at no. 22 because one of my finest talents is turning pages. Really, it is.

May 22, 2017 at 09:21 PM · A couple of weeks ago I was deputising in the firsts of a local orchestra with the concert a week later. Programme: Sibelius VC and Finlandia, and Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony (the "Organ"). I knew the first two pieces but not the Saint-Saens. We had a stand-in soloist for the rehearsal, and she was impressive - it was only later that I discovered she wasn't the real soloist but a second violinist from one of the BBC orchestras, which accounted for her standard. After the coffee break we were to run through the Saint-Saens at performance speed. Our stand-in soloist sat in the spare seat next to me and supported me through the symphony as I sight-read it. That was an unexpected and absolutely invaluable lesson.

Fast forward to the concert a week late. The real soloist this time was a 16-year old Russian, Kristina Dimitrova, a pupil at Wells Cathedral School in England. It is no exaggeration to say that you could make a comparison between her and Nicola Benedetti at that age, a combination of well-nigh perfect technique and passion in her playing. After the interval she sat alongside me so that she could have an opportunity to play the magnificent but rarely-performed Saint-Saens symphony, which she sight-read.

That was surely my lucky week for this year!

May 22, 2017 at 09:27 PM · I was 2 feet taller than my timid freshman stand partner last year, so I guess I fit #9.

May 22, 2017 at 09:31 PM · No. 16 (The Snoozer). I had a real one once in a rehearsal sitting next to me in the cello section (I was a cellist then). She was a hospital surgeon who had come straight to the rehearsal, arriving a bit late, after over 12 hours in theater. So she was forgiven, gently woken up, and advised to go home and get some sleep - which she did.

The same lady partnered me in a performance of Haydn's Creation. An elderly gentleman in the audience collapsed during the performance, and my stand partner put down her cello and went to help as he was carried out. She returned a while later, looked seriously at me, shook her head slightly, and continued playing. I got the message. The old chap had in fact died instantly.

May 22, 2017 at 10:13 PM · You missed "The Stand Hog"

May 22, 2017 at 10:26 PM · Ahh, the "Stand Hog" -- this is an essential addition!

May 23, 2017 at 07:04 AM · how about the stand partner who plays, plucks or talks while the conductor is talking to another section, as if we dont have to listen.

May 23, 2017 at 12:39 PM · Nice list. What about the 'frightened rabbit'? Well, that's how he played (1/4 of the bow max, dynamic mp or less). He was also a number 22, which nearly resulted in a train-wreck on one occasion involving a particularly treacherous turn.

My favourite regular partner was a number 1 - not a prodigy but a solid, dependable professional who never lost his cool. I learned a lot from him. One one occasion I was following his solo via the cue rather than the conductor, and he stopped playing for a second. I gently pulled his leg about it (number 3), to which he responded 'she (the conductor) gave 4 beats in a 3/4 bar!' No being a number 11 I had no response!

At one time I had an attack of number 2 (and it was Sibelius!) but I couldn't play it well enough to qualify as a show-off - more of a 'warmer-up'.

There's also the 'enthusiast' - determined to play every note at any price (and any dynamic) - including spilling over into the following rest, excruciating intonation etc.

May 23, 2017 at 04:22 PM · I probably fit into several of these, but also into another category: The Newspaper Reader/Sharer. I keep a newspaper on the floor in front of me and if the conductor is really boring or mediocre, I take advantage to read articles. If there's a particularly interesting article, I slide the paper over to my stand partner and share it with him/her. It's not all that common among string players, but the prevalence among brass or wind players (especially the ones who have plenty of tacet passages) is higher than what one would think.

May 23, 2017 at 07:42 PM · I had an ADHD partner. He was restlessly twisting and turning when playing and when not. I felt dizzy just sitting next to him. Then he would engage in loud whipering chatter everytime conductor stopped us. His pencils, glasses, phone, rosin took turn to fall under new chair everytime. My favorite was when he knocked down stand in font of us with his giant shoe, trying to roll the pencill towards him. He was tall, skinny and elbowy,never failing to step on my shoe, or kick his case, or get me under the ribs. I was seriously concerned about safety of my violin.

And there also was another really funny false starter. He would do three things:1. loose count and try to insert himself blindly back into music,2. he would lift up violin suddenly during the rest, so lot of people had to completely tune his movements out, and dont sympathetically join him ar rhe wrong measure and 3. He would loose confidence in repetative measures and skip some of them. I figured, if i will make no mistakes playing, that would be against all odds with the help of solid studying habits.

May 24, 2017 at 12:53 AM · My stand partners have had a combination of 2 and 22 (except that I wasn't up to the outer movements of the Sibelius, and the slow movement isn't suitable).

May 24, 2017 at 02:01 AM · How about "The Faker"

By the way there is a good solution to the show-off who plays the Sibelius to warm up. Play the Seitz D Major even louder. And slightly out of tune.

May 24, 2017 at 04:28 AM · The Follower. Can't count the rests, and doesn't come in at all unless those in front or next to him come in. Then just a fraction of a beat behind once the playing starts. And falls apart with a passage of repeated offbeat notes.

May 24, 2017 at 11:03 AM · And the partner that used to knit during the rests.........

May 24, 2017 at 11:22 AM · Then there is The Rest-Counter ... the one who moves their lips whilst counting on their fingers even when they've rehearsed it 20 times and it's perfectly obvious that you come in two beats after the cellos.

May 24, 2017 at 11:46 AM · ...the one who insists on sitting very close to you trying and sometimes successful, on hitting your instrument at every forte passage......

May 24, 2017 at 09:01 PM · How about the "Entertainer." I may have some other virtues as a stand partner (provide a bright stand light and large print editions of all music), but my main virtue, other than counting out loud which is much appreciated, is that I make lots of amusing remarks. This makes up for my many faults with my stand partners and the stands around me.

May 25, 2017 at 11:31 AM · No. 27 The Foot Metronome. I'm leader of an amateur orchestra and 2nd violin in an amateur string quartet. This desk partner needs one all to itself, as it is not really related to No. 15. There is a great poem by Heather Wastie - 'Until I Saw Your Foot'. https://weavingyarns1.wordpress.com/tag/until-i-saw-your-foot/.

May 25, 2017 at 06:57 PM · All Good ones.....one of my least favorite is a gal that..er..perhaps in lieu of a shower, over-scents herself with dime-store essences that won't quit...and perhaps increase, depending on the texture of the literature.

May 26, 2017 at 02:19 AM · Don't light up next to that one!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine