Because of special circumstances, the ensemble I play with decided to practice tonight, and not our usual Tuesday night session tomorrow night. We have a very diverse group, about 22 of us (it tends to fluxuate practice to practice because of scheduling issues). But out of the twenty or so usual members, fourteen of us are considered "professional musicians", and fifteen of the total are/were music educators. We have a couple of high school students, and a couple of college students as well. The point is, that we have all levels of experience. But all of us have been playing our instruments long enough that somethings are just there, we just assume that was meant.

Like tonight for instance. We allowed one our future music teachers to conduct and lead the ensemble, starting of course with a few warm ups. He said something that caught my attention, but registered to me as something I have been doing for ages and even catch myself doing on occasion. Here's what he said:
"Alright, let's do an Eb majour scale, please."
Nothing really wrong with that to start with, right? Except the instruments are not in C. Have you caught on yet? He did not say "concert Eb". Now remembering who he told it to, for us, that conversion was instant. No thought process.

I thought about it for a second, and I decided to be a little...mean. I was--as I usually do--playing Bb trumpet. I decided to play the concert Db majour scale--which is the Eb majour scale for a Bb trumpet. This is how we teach trumpet players. I did this to see if he would notice. Or more specifically to see if he would know how to correct it.

So off we went, playing our scale, and I, I played a concert Db. Much to my delight, he did in fact notice--which most would. But, much as I predicted, he could not discern who had played the wrong scale, or much over why they had done so. After a couple of minutes of me being silent--my stand partner and basically everyone around me realized why I had done this and remained silent--my teacher instincts kicked in.

I finally explained that I had played an Eb majour scale. When I said this, he looked at me like I had three heads. To be fair, I would of looked at me like that too. He retorted that no I didn't. This where I explained myself, that I had actually played an Eb majour scale...but, the Bb equivalent--which is concert Db. When I said this, he realized what he had done.

Lesson: careful what you say!