4 thoughts on “In the Pits: How to Succeed as an Orchestral Pianist

  1. As a pianist in an orchestra, I find your advice and helpful tips to be extremely inspiring. I specifically like list of realistic things one must be able to do before even thinking about playing in front of a large group.
    “Follow the beat- As a soloist, you can set your own tempo. An orchestral player, on the other hand, will need to accurately follow someone else’s speed.”
    What outstanding advice. When playing the piano on your own and setting your own pace it is often times hard to switch to an orchestral performer.

    This was great information and I enjoyed reading!


    1. Hi Ashley,

      When you play with an orchestra, your music library will of course give you the parts you need. But when auditioning for orchestral positions, where do you find copies of orchestral parts to practice? One could, I imagine, purchase a full score and extract the piano part but there’s got to be a better way. I’m specifically looking for Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Shostakovich’s First Symphony.



  2. Thanks for posting this! It’s hard to find information for those of us who play piano and find ourselves in an orchestra setting since we are usually the only one on our instrument.

  3. Good points. I appreciate your blog. Another question – it is relatively common for a keyboardist in the orchestra to need a synthesizer – eg. Orchestra contracted for outdoor events – keyboard needed maybe for a celesta sound, calliope or theremin. I have been asked at least a couple of times about whether I had one to bring. Any ideas or suggestions? I am not interested in the DJ type synths with muted track recording, but don’t want to go the other direction where it is just a stage piano without good quality sounds for this purpose.

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