Code of Practice for Orchestra

orchestra code of practice


All players are expected to perform in all concerts for which they are required and to attend punctually all relevant rehearsals. If, in exceptional circumstances and for good reason, a member is unable to perform in a particular concert they should inform their section leader, the Conductor and the Orchestral Secretary at the earliest possible opportunity. It is not acceptable for a member simply to cease attending rehearsals for the rehearsal period of the concert they are unable to participate in without informing the relevant personnel.

Regular rehearsals are held on Monday evenings during term time. Rehearsals begin at 7.15pm and end at 9.45pm. Members will be expected to attend occasional rehearsals on other days. Notice of dates and times of these additional rehearsals will always be released as soon as possible.


Members are asked to follow the procedures outlined below, so that balance problems are minimised and arrangements can be made to make music available for those attending:

  • String players should inform their section leader;
  • Wind, brass and percussion players should inform their section leader and discuss arrangements for a deputy with the Conductor.

The Conductor will have the final say over whether a member shall perform in a concert if he or she has missed more than two rehearsals. The final two rehearsals before a concert are particularly important. No member may perform in a concert if he or she has missed either of these, unless prevented by exceptional circumstances (such as his/her employment) and granted permission by the Conductor.

Arrangements for deputies

Please see the separate page on Booking Deps and Extra Players.

New members

String players are welcome to attend at least two trial rehearsals before deciding whether to apply for membership. If they wish to join they should inform the Orchestral Secretary or the Auditions’ Secretary. Wind and brass players may only audition for a place in the ‘pool’ list until a suitable vacancy arises for which they may be considered, or until the round of re-auditions for a particular instruments occurs.


Subscriptions should be paid within one month of the AGM or successful completion of an audition for a place in the orchestra. Upon payment of the subscription each member will receive a membership card.

Members are encouraged to pay their subscription by Gift Aid donation. This can be done at no cost or obligation to the individual and is of great benefit to the Society; the necessary forms will be supplied by the Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer.


Music should be returned to the Orchestral Librarian immediately after each concert. Any member who fails to return their music, or returns it in a damaged state, will be liable for any costs incurred.

Music Stands

Music stands are not provided by the Society. Members should bring their own stand to each rehearsal and to concerts as appropriate.

Concert Etiquette

This policy has been drawn up to formalise concert platform procedures for orchestra members to ensure that concerts appear well presented.

  • Concert dress, unless otherwise stated is: ladies – long all black, gents – dj’s with black bow ties.
  • Members of the orchestra should wait for instruction from the Stage Manager before going onto stage. For joint concerts, this will not be until after the choir have taken their places.
  • The orchestra should warm-up quietly on stage until the Stage Manager signals to the co-leader it is time to tune. The principal oboe should wait for a signal from the co-leader then give the A. (The initial tuning note should be taken from the keyboard where one is used.)
  • Upon the entrance of the conductor, cues for stands and sits should be taken from the leader. All celli and 1st violins should turn to face out towards the audience.
  • The principal oboe should keep an eye out between pieces for a possible retuning signal from the leader (especially if there is a soloist engaged).
  • After the interval the Stage Manager will put the orchestra on stage. The leader will signal when it is time to tune to the principal oboe.
  • Stands for applause will be directed by the conductor. All celli and 1st violins should face out towards the audience. Please smile and look like you’re enjoying yourself!
  • Players off stage not required in specific pieces must make sure they are well out of earshot of the stage before talking. Anyone wishing to be in the immediate vicinity of the stage during performances must remain in silence.
  • Players not required for any given piece should make sure they have asked the conductor whether they should sit on stage or not.
  • After final applause all members should leave the stage and wait for instructions from the Stage Manager before returning to collect music stands and other belongings.
  • At the end of each concert, music, including spare parts and practice parts, should be placed in the Librarian’s music box before leaving the venue.