As someone who’s spent a decent chunk of her life in and around stage stuff, I’ve spent a long time getting exposed to various types of performers. It’s to the point where I can tell how long someone’s been performing and how seriously they take it from how they react when the director starts talking at the beginning of rehearsal. And boy howdy, have I learned to appreciate the people who are serious enough to sit down and listen. I love them with a fiery passion.
These people display professionalism, in its most basic sense. They are prepared, they know what they need to do, and they are going to get it done. Sure, they have fun, and chat, and goof off, but not where it will distract others. Professionalism is the virtue that will get ANY performer, musician or otherwise, the furthest in their career.
So. How to go about displaying professionalism effectively? Here’s some ideas. (Most of which I may have just mentioned.)
Be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared. If you’re the person who has their part performance-ready a week before you need to, or who has extra rosin for the person who forgot, or who’s even just wearing clothing appropriate to conditions, you will make your director’s life easier. People like those who make their life easier. Furthermore, it displays that you’re a reliable person, and will probably be a point in your favor in the future.
Listen. Don’t continue reading your music as the director talks. Don’t shift around and put things away. ESPECIALLY don’t talk or whisper while she’s speaking. Just focus, listen, and write notes as necessary. Otherwise you’ll miss stuff, or cause someone else to miss stuff, and that’s just not good for anybody.
Show restraint. Don’t fidget more than necessary, don’t distract others because you’re bored, avoid causing drama. Be the kind of person you want younger performers to want to emulate.
Volunteer. Help with stands, help set the stage, move risers, et cetera. Do NOT grumble as you do this, or at least not loudly enough that other people can hear. The point is to help out and get things done quickly and efficiently – you are not the most important person here. The performance as a whole is what is important. Focus on getting that done well.
Professionalism is a state of mind. It’s going in with an intention of doing what’s best for your fellow performers. It’s caring about the performance enough to give the rehearsal process due respect.
Basically, care about what you’re doing.