A principal player in a string section is acknowledged to have accepted extra responsibility for the performance of that player’s section. This advice is intended to facilitate the successful discharge of that responsibility.
- When communicating with your section or another principal player always speak with courtesy and respect. An effective team leader is part of the team, not above it.
- Learn your part well enough that you do not need your full attention on the sheet music to successfully play it.
- Listen for when your section is uniformly playing with the same rhythm, articulation, dynamic and tone. When an aberration occurs a few times point it out to your section.
- Always listen to the other sections as well as your own. Be aware of when your section is playing the same material as another section or when you are accompanying another section. In general, when you are playing the same material as another section but at a different octave the lower voice should be slightly stronger.
- Look up from your stand regularly to compare your bow use to other principal players. Check that the approach to the music is uniform and in particular that the bowings match.
- In difficult passages particularly, focus what attention you can on playing synchronously with the other string principals.
- Be clear with your intentions about bow use and distribution. Whenever possible place your bow on the string in the part you intend to play with before playing.
- Play confidently when your section has the leading line.
- In general, try to sit in such a way that your section can see from behind what you are doing with your bow. Avoid hunching.