For All Musicians
Scroll down farther for questions about your instrument
What's the deal? How does this work?
Awesöme Orchestra meets for free reading sessions all over the Bay Area. The session is an open rehearsal, and there's no rehearsal besides the session. We offer free beer for the musicians (of drinking age).
Our sessions are open to all musicians who wish to play! But you have to sign up. After you sign up, you will hear from your section's Awesöme Ambassador. The Awesöme Ambassadors are volunteer organizers of each section of the orchestra. They assign part assignments and can answer all your questions. Contact your Awesöme Ambassador here.
How do I sign up?
To sign up to play at a specific session, check out our events page. Next to each event, there is a link for player sign-ups. Fill out the form, and the Awesöme Ambassador for your section will get in touch. If you have questions for them before you sign up, contact them here.
What do I need to bring?
Your instrument (pianists and some percussion excepted, see below) and a music stand. We provide sheet music, stands, chairs, and (when permits allow) free beer for all musicians.
How much does it cost?
Participation is free! But we are sustained by donations from our community and we request donations at the sessions. You can also make a fully tax-deductible donation to the group here.
What am I supposed to do if I have to cancel?
Am I "good enough" to play with Awesome Orchestra?
There are a lot of really excellent and professional players that join us, and also many amateurs, students, and players making a comeback! We are here to make the best music that we can, and foster a community. If you’re playing in a big section and can’t handle a section of a piece, feel free to sit it out. If you’ve been asked to play a part that is too difficult, let your ambassador know. If your playing is hurting the music and you are unaware of it, an ambassador will quietly and politely ask you to sit out. This almost never happens.
Do we need to wear concert blacks?
Can I bring a friend to play with me?
Heck yes! Just make sure they sign up too.
How do I suggest a piece for the orchestra to play?
Almost all our repertoire comes from suggestions from players! Contact David Möschler here.
What's the deal with the umlaut?
See Wikipedia: Metal Umlaut. Our conductor pronounces his last name MESH-ler. Awesöme is pronounced like awesome.
Are there ever too many bassoons?
We usually have ENOUGH bassoons, which is awesome. But it’s quite difficult to have too many. Please understand however, that if we double bassoon parts, only one person will be asked to play solos and during soft sections.
The usual clarinet orchestral configuration is 2 clarinets. Usually parts are for A or Bb Clarinet but they can also be for C with added parts for Eb and Bass Clarinets. If we are playing a Wind Ensemble piece, there may be parts for Eb Alto or EEb/BBb Contrabass Clarinets also.
Many orchestral pieces call for 1 or more saxes in different combinations of Soprano, Alto, Tenor, or Baritone. The Wind Ensemble configuration is usually 2 Altos, 1 Tenor and 1 Bari but can shift according to the composer’s wishes.
Can clarinets and saxes double?
Parts can be doubled up to a point. Usually 2 clarinets on a part is the maximum for most pieces but sometimes we can stretch to 3. If parts are doubled, solos are always played by 1 player and some players may need to sit out during quiet passages. We assign parts on a first come, first serve basis but try to make sure everyone gets a chance to play.
Is there beer?
Is the beer free?
Where will the beer be located?
Can we take beer home with us?
For real though:
What am I supposed to do if the beer runs out?
Just kidding again.
For actual realsies:
Do players ever double parts?
For trumpets and low brass, no. The strength of two trombones is equal to that of one hundred violins. We must not overpower our friends in the more delicate sections.
What happens if there are more trombonists signed up than parts available?
If there are more players signed up than parts available, parts will be assigned by the Awesöme Ambassador according the the following guidelines: 1.) the player’s sign-up order; 2.) the player’s piece & part preferences; 3.) the player’s individual strengths (i.e. strong lead player, bass bone player, etc.).
Can I just show up and play?
No. You must be signed up to play, and parts are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. However, you are always welcome to just show up and listen!
Am I guaranteed a spot if I sign up?
Unfortunately, no. Sometimes we don’t have enough spots to accommodate everyone. But we welcome you to come and listen regardless! (And hey, if you bring your instrument and we have a last-minute cancellation, you could get lucky!)
Are you guys nice?
Totally! And we hope you are, too.
What should I bring?
Always bring some mallets/sticks, music stands (if you have any), your hands (sometimes feet), and a positive, ready-for-anything attitude! An Awesöme Ambassador will send an email out to everyone signed up about a week before the session with a rundown of the instruments needed, and if there is any equipment we can’t provide ourselves, we’ll ask for whatever we need help getting a hold of!
What happens if there's equipment we can't get?
We will make either an appropriate or hilarious instrument substitution.
How will parts be decided?
In the email sent out by the ambassadors before the session, we’ll have a section discussion about it.
What if I really really really want to play a certain part?
You can always call dibs on a part or instrument you would like to play, but in order for that system to work, it is critical to be honest and open about your playing ability! It’s totally great to experiment with something that might be unfamiliar, however we do retain the right to ask you to step down from a part if we feel that you’re struggling, and we ask you not to take it personally or let it get you down!
What if I already signed up, but I need to bail?
No worries! Please just let the ambassadors know as soon as possible, especially if you have already agreed to bring equipment.
What if I change my mind after signing up?
We really have only two rules for Awesome Orchestra members: 1) Be excellent to each other, and 2) If you sign up, show up. But we know that plans change all the time, and string players are especially subject to changes of plans (not saying string players are flaky, but . . . ). We do bring chairs and copies of parts and make other arrangements based on how many people have signed up, so if you find you are not going to make it to a session, please let us know by emailing your Awesöme Ambassador (text if it’s the day of).
Can I just show up and play?
Unlike the brass and woodwind sections, we can never have too many strings. Who doesn’t want to listen to a hundred violas and cellos? However, if you decide at the last minute that you want to join us for a session, please go to the Google Drive and print out copies of your part to bring along. Do this if you signed up a day or two before the session, as well. We bring copies of parts based on how many people have signed up, so we may not have enough copies for last minute attendees.
How do I know where to sit in the section?
We don’t have section leaders or section seating in the traditional sense. We encourage you to sit in the front or the back of a section depending on how you feel that day, and to try different places in the section if you join us more than once. Awesöme Ambassadors are not section leaders in the traditional sense, and don’t prefer the first and second chairs. If you are very familiar with a piece we are playing and/or really want to take a solo, let your ambassador know ahead of time, and go for it! If you’re always in front and want to give others a chance by moving back, we’ll love you for that, too.