Versions of this have been bouncing around the interweb for quite some time; I’ve taken the liberty of massaging it a little. Enjoy.
The following rules are intended as a guide to the development of habits which will promote the proper type of relationship between singers in the tenor section and the conductor.
- Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, and of a draft. It’s best to do this when the conductor is under pressure or has just raised her arms to start a piece of music.
- Bury your head in the music just before the first downbeat of each song. Keep it there.
- Loudly clear your throat during pauses.
- Quiet instrumental interludes are a good chance to blow your nose.
- Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know that you don’t have the music.
- Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.
- When possible, sing your part either an octave above or below what is written. This is excellent ear-training for the conductor. If she hears the pitch, deny it vehemently and claim that it must have been someone else, probably in the bass section.
- When working on a piece in a new language, interrupt the rehearsal to ensure you’re getting a new word correctly. Say the word twice and ask her preference, making sure to say it exactly the same both times. If she remarks on their similarity, give her a look of utter disdain and mumble under your breath about the “subtleties of inflection”.
- Make every effort to take the attention away from the conductor and put it on you, where it belongs. You are, after all, a tenor and there is nothing more important in the world of choral singing.