The Pedantic Bassoonist’s Guide to Orchestral Dating

I’ve fallen in love with people because of the way they play. Quite unremarkable-looking people, in fact. Wouldn’t notice them in the street. But when they pick up an instrument the sound they make is so beautiful, so gorgeously sensual and nuanced, I’d marry them on the spot.

Funnily enough, really good musicians often turn out to be rather loveable people. Others though… Well I’d rather bite my own arm off. We’ve all met them. Some of us have been on dates with them. The advantage of being a musician is that you can avoid sticky situations in advance by listening to the way they play. Here they are…

The selfish lover crashes horribly early over bar lines with all the sensitivity of a charging bull elephant. Genuinely believes that he (or she… sorry) is the only musician in the orchestra.

The screamer draws attention to themselves with excessive movement whilst playing. It’s a practice commonly known amongst wind players as “soup stirring”. They occasionally finish off a phrase with an over-elaborate arm flourish.

The early finisher is sweat-soaked mess of extreme nerves during gigs. They have a habit of unwarranted fidgeting just before solos. Occasionally they will mutter things to themselves such as “don’t f**k it up”.  The ensuing solos are, inevitably, rushed.

The inattentive paramour is slightly behind the beat at all times. I can’t work out if this is down to a lack of confidence or because they’re short-sighted and can’t see the downbeat. Either way, they’re best avoided. You’ll end up killing them.

The over-confident disappointment plays absolutely everything too loudly.

It was a viola player, in case you were wondering.

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