Bring your wallet (updated fines).

Now that we’re all back into the season full swing, I thought it would be fun to revisit a popular post from a couple of years ago. Different versions of this list have circulated for years, so again I encourage you to post comments with any suggestions for additional fines/infractions.

Also, it seemed appropriate to add a special management section, just as a sign of the times. Please note all management fines are per incident, but variable depending on current executive compensation.

2011 Bonus Section:

Management Fines

  • Creative accounting: $500.00
  • Using the phrases “community engagement” or “new model” more than 75 times in one day: $200.00
  • Plagiarizing Henry Fogel (verbal): $50.00
  • Inability to identify Henry Fogel: $300.00
  • Referring to ASOL (League) data from 1995 or before: $250.00
  • Misinformed pension fund commentary (unintentional): $150.00
  • Comical press gaffes: $25
  • Any reference to a “20 hour workweek”: $3,000.00
  • Using the words “Detroit”, “Philadelphia” and “new model” in the same sentence: $2,000.00
  • General overuse of jargon or catchphrases (including above): $200.00
  • Covert multi-year contract renewal: $2000.00
  • Awkward fundraising speech before every subscription concert: $400.00
  • Visible ponytail (male) : $500.00
  • Habitual use of mystifying graphs and/or pie charts: $300.00
  • Loss of more than 10 titled players in one season: $1,000.00
  • Loss of more than 25 staff in one season: $500.00
  • Premature bankruptcy declaration: TBD

Musician Fines

Impersonating a Professional

  • Stupid questions: $10.00
  • Really stupid questions:$20.00

Presumptuous First Year Behavior

  • Musicological Elucidation: $25.00
  • Historical Nitpicking: $50.00
  • Obtrusive Foot Tapping: $10.00
  • Uninvited Conducting: $15.00
  • Questioning Concertmaster’s or Principal’s Bowings (strings): $25.00
  • Comparing Concertmaster’s or Principal’s bowings with what  Philadelphia did under Ormandy: $100.00


  • Insane Cackling at Conductor’s Jokes: $50.00
  • Loud and Forced Phony Laugh at Conductor’s Jokes: $20.00
  • Unwarranted Beatific Smile While Playing: $40.00
  • Ridiculously Minute Bowing/Breathing Questions: $75.00
  • Conversing With Conductor in Language Other Than English: $95.00
  • Active and Public Nodding in Agreement With Conductor: $35.00
  • Pencil Behind Ear: $25.00
  • Conspicuous Part Marking: $15.00
  • Pencil Clattering on Stand After Conspicuous Part Marking: $300.00
  • Taking Much Longer Than Entire String Section to Finish Minor Bowing Change: $100.00
  • Obvious, Insipid Consultation of Conductor’s Score During Break: $150.00
  • Reference to Obscure Recordings/Performances: $90.00
  • Pretending to Understand Absurd Metaphor During Rehearsal: $15.00
  • Actually Understanding Absurd Metaphor: $25.00
  • Informing Conductor That They Have More Rehearsal Time Than They Think: $2000.00

Annoying Behavior By Veterans

  • Playing High Notes Louder Than Possible (Brass): $25.00
  • Holding Same 1/4 Beat Longer Than Everyone Else: $200.00
  • Discussing Technique During Rehearsal: $100.00
  • Discussing Technique During Break : $200.00
  • Discussing Technique With Guest Artist (at any time): $500.00
  • Tiresome, Time-Consuming Anecdotes: $30.00
  • Tiresome, Time-Consuming Anecdotes About Famous Musician (Second-Hand): $60.00
  • Tiresome, Time-Consuming Anecdotes About Famous Musician (First-Hand): $90.00
  • Feigning European Birth by “lapsing” into Foreign Languages: $150.00

General Obnoxious Behavior

  • Inviting Conductor to Party: $15.00
  • Inviting Soloist to Party: $100.00
  • Showing Pictures of Soloist at Party During First Service Following Party: $200.00
  • Warming Up Onstage More Than 30 Minutes Before Service: $50.00
  • Warming Up Onstage So Loudly No One Else Can: $100.00
  • Warming Up Backstage So Loudly No One Else Can: $250.00
  • Warming Up Loudly With Solo Part of Concerto To Be Performed by Guest Artist : $400.00
  • Continuing to Tune Loudly After Everyone Else Finishes: $10.00
  • Unnecessarily Obvious Insertion of Earplugs: $15.00
  • Habitual Use of Earplugs Regardless of Repertoire (e.g. Pachelbel Canon): $65.00
  • Conversing With Management (non-hostile): $25.00
  • Forwarding “Funny” Email to Other Musicians: $200.00

15 thoughts on “Bring your wallet (updated fines).”

  1. What if soloist really wants to go to the party?
    OK–you left out the category:
    1: not following the soloist tempi: $500.00
    2: not letting soloist play cadenza in dress rehearsal: $1.00 per note
    3: no water in the soloist dressing room: $3.50 (cost for case of water at Costco, BJs, whatever)
    4: not tuning orchestra to the piano for piano concerto: $100.00 (cost of tuning piano equivalent)
    5: not picking up artist at airport or train, taxi station, bus depot, hitch-hiker stop: $75.00
    6: refusing to shake hand with soloist before and after: rotate concertmaster seat for gig
    7: whispering about soloist for any reason during rehearsals: heavy duty tape over mouth, or $25.00
    8: whispering about soloist for any reason during concerts: microphone secretly placed under your shirt or dress while you are sleeping + $50.00
    9: playing too loudly when soloist has the melody: $50.00 plus mute for your instrument at your own expense
    10: misuse of vibrato during soloist’s concerto depending on the style: $35.00 + rehab consisting of three private lessons by teacher of management choice.

  2. Mispronouncing musician’s name at his/her retirement.–$25
    Mispronouncing musician’s name when announcing his/her death.–$100.
    Programming any piece more than 20 times in a given season, or 50 times in a 5-year period.–$150.

  3. Proposed $50 fine for both musicians and management who misuse the term “structural deficit”. Structural deficits only result from the inability to levy taxes. An orchestra’s deficit is really just a plain old deficit, but a union’s deficit could well be structural, if its expenses exceed its income from work dues, and it can’t raise work dues in time to cover the deficit.

    • Yes! A whole new Social Media category is desperately needed. Taking selfie with conductor: $50 (after concert), $100 (at dress rehearsal), $250 (at earlier rehearsal). Posting selfie on Facetwitgram: $100 (following concert), $250 (before concert), $500 (before end of first rehearsal).


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