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Tips for Those New to Early Music

String players are always embarrassed at having to spend so long tuning, so be sure to play loudly whilst they do it, so as to hide the noise.

To avoid problems when changing from high to low pitch, strings can simply tune to A=427. To convert a recorder to low pitch you just pull out the head joint a bit.

A good conversational gambit is to ask your fellow musicians how much they practise each day - they will be proud to tell you.

There is no need to book for workshops - people never mind sharing music if you turn up unexpectedly.

Music stands are regarded as communal property, so just grab the nearest one if you have forgotten yours.

If you need a drum, remember that viols make excellent percussion instruments.

Old reeds can be a health hazard, so if you see any lying around it's a good idea to throw them away in case a child gets hold of them.

the best way to learn an instrument is to play it in public.

Musica ficta is a rule which allows you to add or remove accidentals if it makes the fingering easier.

If someone in your ensemble makes a mistake be sure to point it out - they will be very grateful.

D. Arrowsmith

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