If you play the piccolo, you may do so in an orchestra. The next time you do so, you should know what to bring to orchestra rehearsal as a piccolo player.
Read on for a checklist to reference whenever you head out the door.
But first this post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure policy to learn more.
Of course, you’re going to need your piccolo at orchestra rehearsal when you’re assigned to the piccolo part. I’d recommend getting a wood or plastic piccolo.
You can play a metal piccolo, and I did for a couple of rehearsals a few years ago. However, the metal can make it hard to blend your sound with the rest of the orchestra.
If metal is your only option, you can make it work. But if at all possible, I’d start saving up for something better so that you won’t have to struggle as much when playing in the group.
Even when you’re assigned the piccolo part, you may still need to bring your flute. There are a lot of third flute/piccolo parts and some second flute/piccolo parts.
You need to be able to switch between instruments within a piece. Sometimes, you may have the occasional piece that just uses the flute and no piccolo at all.
Or maybe the piccolo only appears for a few bars, such as in Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. Either way, it never hurts to have your flute on hand in case you need it or in case you need to fill in for the first or second flute player.
A Piccolo Stand
I’d also suggest you bring a piccolo stand for a few reasons. If you’re lucky enough to only need your piccolo for a concert, that probably means there’s quite a bit of time where you don’t play.
A stand gives you a safe place to rest your piccolo when you aren’t playing. But if you do need to play your flute as well, you should also have a good spot for your piccolo to go.
That way, you won’t have to rest your piccolo on your lap or worse, your music stand. You can find a good, cheap piccolo stand, and you can fit one in your bag.
A Piccolo Swab
Another idea for what to bring to orchestra rehearsal is a piccolo swab. I like to use a piccolo wand because you can swab out your piccolo without taking it apart.
That comes in super handy during rehearsal after you’ve tuned, so you don’t have to tune again. Plus, it’s super quick, so you can swab out your piccolo during a rest.
If you ever have to deal with water bubbles in your piccolo, a quick swab may be enough to temporarily solve the issue.
Once you lose your hearing, you can’t get it back. Since the piccolo sits so close to your ear and plays so high, you should wear earplugs when practicing for any amount of time.
I keep a pair of earplugs in my piccolo case cover so that they’re easy to find. The ones I use don’t totally block the sound, so I can still hear myself and the other musicians.
That way, I can stay in tune when playing in orchestra rehearsal. It’s an excellent way to protect your hearing without sacrificing your ability to play your instrument.
A Water Bottle
Another idea for what to bring to orchestra rehearsal is a water bottle. I like to keep one at my feet in case I get thirsty so that I don’t have to get up and leave the room.
Staying hydrated is particularly important if you play in a summer orchestra when it gets hot. But it comes in handy no matter what, so you should always bring one to rehearsal.
Something to Read
Another essential that I like to have is something to read or distract myself. I’ve had multiple concerts where I’ve been on some but not all of the pieces.
That means you have a lot of downtime during rehearsals as the piccolo player. Since I use an iPad to read music, I just use that to read or distract myself. But you can also bring a physical book or something else to occupy your time.
Phone or iPad Charger
You may also want to pack a phone or iPad charger in your orchestra bag. Now, you may not be able to use this unless you sit close to an outlet.
But you may get a long break where you can leave the room and find somewhere with an outlet. Then, you can charge up your iPad if the battery gets low.
Put Them All in a Flute Bag
After you gather everything you want to bring to orchestra rehearsal, you need to organize the stuff. I like using a flute bag to keep everything together.
As of now, I use an Altieri bag, but I’ve also used Fluterscooter and Protec bags in the past. Either way, you need something with good insulation and a secure zipper to protect your piccolo and all of its accessories.
Now that you know what to bring to orchestra rehearsal, it’s time to put it all together. That way, you won’t have to rush to pack your bag when you should be heading out the door.
Whether you use your iPad or phone, don’t forget to load it up with a nice piccolo fingering chart in case you need to reference it during orchestra.