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Bring your wallet (updated fines).

Now that we’re all back into the season full swing, I thought it would be fun to revisit a popular post from a couple of years ago. Different versions of this list have circulated for years, so again I encourage you to post comments with any suggestions for additional fines/infractions. Also, it seemed appropriate to add a special management section, just as a sign of the times. Please note all management fines are per incident, but variable depending on current executive compensation.

2011 Bonus Section:

Management Fines

Creative accounting

Using the phrases “community engagement” or “new model” more than 75 times in one day

Plagiarizing Henry Fogel (verbal)

Inability to identify Henry Fogel

Referring to ASOL (League) data from 1995 or before

Misinformed pension fund commentary (unintentional)

Comical press gaffes

Any reference to a “20 hour workweek”

Using the words “Detroit”, “Philadelphia” and “new model” in the same sentence

General overuse of jargon or catchphrases (including above)

Covert multi-year contract renewal

Awkward fundraising speech before every subscription concert

Visible ponytail (male)  

Habitual use of mystifying graphs and/or pie charts

Loss of more than 10 titled players in one season

Loss of more than 25 staff in one season

Premature bankruptcy declaration

Musician Fines

Impersonating a Professional

Stupid questions
Really stupid questions

Presumptuous First Year Behavior

Musicological Elucidation
Historical Nitpicking
Obtrusive Foot Tapping
Uninvited Conducting
Questioning Concertmaster’s or Principal’s Bowings (strings)
Comparing Concertmaster’s or Principal’s bowings with what  Philadelphia did under Ormandy


Insane Cackling at Conductor’s Jokes
Loud and Forced Phony Laugh at Conductor’s Jokes
Unwarranted Beatific Smile While Playing
Ridiculously Minute Bowing/Breathing Questions
Conversing With Conductor in Language Other Than English
Active and Public Nodding in Agreement With Conductor
Pencil Behind Ear
Conspicuous Part Marking
Pencil Clattering on Stand After Conspicuous Part Marking
Taking Much Longer Than Entire String Section to Finish Minor Bowing Change
Obvious, Insipid Consultation of Conductor’s Score During Break
Reference to Obscure Recordings/Performances
Pretending to Understand Absurd Metaphor During Rehearsal
Actually Understanding Absurd Metaphor
Informing Conductor That They Have More Rehearsal Time Than They Think

Annoying Behavior By Veterans

Playing High Notes Louder Than Possible (Brass)
Holding Same 1/4 Beat Longer Than Everyone Else
Discussing Technique During Rehearsal
Discussing Technique During Break
Discussing Technique With Guest Artist (at any time)
Tiresome, Time-Consuming Anecdotes
Tiresome, Time-Consuming Anecdotes About Famous Musician (Second-Hand)
Tiresome, Time-Consuming Anecdotes About Famous Musician (First-Hand)
Feigning European Birth by “lapsing” into Foreign Languages

General Obnoxious Behavior

Inviting Conductor to Party
Inviting Soloist to Party
Showing Pictures of Soloist at Party During First Service Following Party
Warming Up Onstage More Than 30 Minutes Before Service
Warming Up Onstage So Loudly No One Else Can
Warming Up Backstage So Loudly No One Else Can
Warming Up Loudly With Solo Part of Concerto To Be Performed by Guest Artist
Continuing to Tune Loudly After Everyone Else Finishes
Unnecessarily Obvious Insertion of Earplugs
Habitual Use of Earplugs Regardless of Repertoire (e.g. Pachelbel Canon)
Conversing With Management (non-hostile)
Forwarding “Funny” Email to Other Musicians


15 Responses to Bring your wallet (updated fines).

  1. Jeffrey Biegel October 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    What if soloist really wants to go to the party?
    OK–you left out the category:
    1: not following the soloist tempi: $500.00
    2: not letting soloist play cadenza in dress rehearsal: $1.00 per note
    3: no water in the soloist dressing room: $3.50 (cost for case of water at Costco, BJs, whatever)
    4: not tuning orchestra to the piano for piano concerto: $100.00 (cost of tuning piano equivalent)
    5: not picking up artist at airport or train, taxi station, bus depot, hitch-hiker stop: $75.00
    6: refusing to shake hand with soloist before and after: rotate concertmaster seat for gig
    7: whispering about soloist for any reason during rehearsals: heavy duty tape over mouth, or $25.00
    8: whispering about soloist for any reason during concerts: microphone secretly placed under your shirt or dress while you are sleeping + $50.00
    9: playing too loudly when soloist has the melody: $50.00 plus mute for your instrument at your own expense
    10: misuse of vibrato during soloist’s concerto depending on the style: $35.00 + rehab consisting of three private lessons by teacher of management choice.

    • Frank Almond October 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      Thanks, Jeffrey.
      I’ll let this one speak for itself. But the tape seems a little extreme.

  2. Heather Bentley October 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Practicing Don Juan when it’s not on the program must be an infraction. $50?
    Love the management fines.

  3. Emmy Hanch October 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Mispronouncing musician’s name at his/her retirement.–$25
    Mispronouncing musician’s name when announcing his/her death.–$100.
    Programming any piece more than 20 times in a given season, or 50 times in a 5-year period.–$150.

  4. Darcy October 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Oh man…”Ponytail (male)” made me laugh out loud! Some of these made me cringe because I’ve been guilty of them..

  5. One who knows October 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Caring what Henry Fogel thinks in the first place: $500

  6. Helen October 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Proposed $50 fine for both musicians and management who misuse the term “structural deficit”. Structural deficits only result from the inability to levy taxes. An orchestra’s deficit is really just a plain old deficit, but a union’s deficit could well be structural, if its expenses exceed its income from work dues, and it can’t raise work dues in time to cover the deficit.

    • Frank Almond October 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

      Well, maybe. I think that term gets defined in all sorts of ways, depending on who’s talking. In any case, $50 seems a little low…

  7. Rick Walters October 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Where are the conductor fines? Too many to list, maybe.

    • Frank Almond October 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      Yes, perhaps for another (lengthy) post.

  8. Joshua Gordon October 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Filling up every inch of white space in a Mahler 5 part with fingerings: $80 plus bulk purchase of erasers

  9. Paul October 13, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Adding soloist/conductor/management as a friend on Facebook: $125 per friend.

    • bratschegirl November 23, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

      Yes! A whole new Social Media category is desperately needed. Taking selfie with conductor: $50 (after concert), $100 (at dress rehearsal), $250 (at earlier rehearsal). Posting selfie on Facetwitgram: $100 (following concert), $250 (before concert), $500 (before end of first rehearsal).


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