I was catching up with a fellow musician friend, and we got onto the topic of embarrassing or mortifying things that have happened to us as musicians.
- my E string snapped, and I didn’t have a spare... (someone came to my rescue). Just so so embarrassing.
- in my viola exam last year, my B piece required a mute for half of it, which I accidentally left on for the C piece (nerves made me forget). Still achieved 29/30 on the C piece, despite the mute.
Any embarrassing stories, where you’ve just wanted to be swallowed up by the ground?
Accidentally threw my bow about five feet straight up in the air while trying to turn a page quickly -- during a concert, playing Tchaik 5.
Played for my class in elementary school and my bow was completely untightened, and I did not stop to tighten it. PTSD!
Was playing Vivaldi A minor in concert in sixth form and missed out 2 complete lines
I marched out onto the platform of the Royal Albert Hall and started tuning up for a performance of Mahler 8. The A-string promptly snapped and I had to march right back again for a replacement. I managed to make my solo re-entry before the actual soloists and conductor, but sadly didn't get a round of applause.
The first time I attended the Aspen Music Festival as a kid, the orchestra placement excerpt was Don Juan. I had never played it before and I didn't know how it was supposed to sound, but I stayed up all night practicing it because I didn't want to sound terrible in my placement audition. The next morning I went to my audition and played it very carefully and far too slowly. Miss DeLay stopped me after a few bars and said "that isn't how it goes, dear" and she suggested that I play it "up to tempo". I was terrified and I don't remember what happened next. The orchestra I ended up in was wonderful and I had a great time, but to this day just thinking about that makes me feel a little sick that I made a fool of myself in front of Miss DeLay, even though that was many years ago.
This didn't happen to me, but to a colleague in the viola section of the community orchestra I played in around 30 years ago.
In tenth grade, the music director had the nice idea to put me on lead guitar for a blues / funk / soul tune I can't remember the name of. Me, a kid who'd only been playing guitar for a couple months and hadn't an inkling about improvisation or scales coming from classical music. I tried my best to pull all the solos by ear before the concert, but it wasn't enough prep for me. We only had one real rehearsal to boot, and the music director was too busy to help me one-on-one. Come the performance, I fumble through the main solo so bad some kids didn't realize I was playing one, and then I missed the ending. Oh, and my crush was in the audience, of course :)
Decades ago, in the late 1950's, I was in the audience at a symphony concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. In those years long ago I went to lots of concerts, so after this long a time I don't remember the program or the conductor or the orchestra (it may well have been the Chicago Symphony), but I know the piece being played was a dramatic orchestral piece (a dramatic symphony - Tchaikovsky, I think).
Went to play the National Anthem in front of a few thousand at a basketball arena. I borrowed my friend's wireless transmitter so I wouldn't have to dork with cables...and forgot to turn the mute switch off. I got a few notes in and realized that the amp was not making a sound. I just dug in and extracted as many decibels out of that fiddle I could.
I was about 12, and it was my first real recital. I was playing Danny Boy on the viola, and the arrangement called for a mute in the first half so as to make a dramatic change in dynamics when taken off.
@Andrew H, wow! Throwing your bow is quite exuberant! Did you catch it? When I played Tchaik 4, the conductor said that if bow hair wasn't coming off our bows for the last movement, we were not working hard enough. Several broken cello and bass bows that day...
It was totally and completely loose. I should have stopped and restarted, but I was a child and it never happened again!
I was playing front desk first in a performance of the B-Minor Mass at school, and I got so mesmerised in the Crucifixus that I missed playing the first three or four bars of the Et Resurrexit.
Not me, but someone else in the band, during a big theater show, went to the men's room during a piece he was not playing, and forgot to turn off his wireless microphone.