1. Never be satisfied with the tuning note. Fussing about the pitch takes attention away from the podium and puts it on you, where it belongs.
2. When raising the music stand, be sure the top comes off and spills the music on the floor.
3. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, or a draft. It’s best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.
4. Look the other way just before cues.
5. Never have the proper mute.
6. Ask for a seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you’re about to quit. Let the conductor know you’re there as a personal favor.
7. Brass players : Drop mutes at every opportunity.
8. Loudly blow water from keys or spit valves during pauses.
9. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your C# was in tune. This is especially effective if you had no C# or were not playing at the time. (If he catches you, pretend to be correcting a note in your part.)
10. At dramatic moments in the music (while the conductor is emoting) be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.
11. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know you don’t have the music.
12. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.
13. Tell the conductor, “I can’t find the beat.” Conductors are always sensitive about their “stick technique,” so challenge them frequently.
14. Ask the conductor if he has listened to the Bernstein recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also ask, “Is this the first time you’ve conducted this piece?”
15. When rehearsing a difficult passage, screw up your face and shake your head indicating that you’ll never be able to play it. Don’t say anything: make him wonder.
16. If your articulation differs from that of others playing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.
17. Find an excuse to leave the rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that the others will become restless and start to pack up and fidget.
18. During applause, smile weakly or show no expression at all. Better yet, nonchalantly put away your instrument. Make the conductor feel he is keeping you from doing something really important.