Murphy's laws of music

  • Trotter's Law of Percussion Music
    Percussionists will consistently lose their music as a concert approaches
    Corollary: All parts will be lost at least once, and percussionists will not admit to losing any music until they are caught faking the parts.
  • The Uncertainty Principle
    The location of all auxiliary percussion instruments cannot be known simultaneously
    Corollary: If a lost percussion item is found, another will disappear.
  • Percussion Will Travel Principle
    On every band trip one important piece of percussion equipment will be left at the school
  • Percussion Won't Travel Principle
    On every band trip one important piece of percussion equipment will be left at the performance site
    Diminishing Quality Rule to the Percussion Won't Travel Principle
    At any festival one piece of percussion equipment will be switched with that of another school
    Corollary: The one you take back will be of lower quality
  • Law of Lost Drumsticks
    Percussionists will lose sticks
    Percussionists always claim the sticks were stolen
    The lost sticks will be found the day after new ones are bought
  • Stidman's Law of Doors
    The largest of the timpani is always four inches wider than the door to the auditorium
  • Murphy's Law on Instruments
    An instrument always breaks at the worst possible time
    Corollary :The instrument will belong to a first chair player
  • Baldwin's Law
    Instruments are easier to break than to fix
  • Wyszkowski's Law
    Anything will work if you fiddle with it long enough
  • Principles of Instrument Repair
    • The screwdriver of the correct size will be missing when it is needed to tighten a woodwind key
    • When replacing a woodwind pad, all available pads will be the wrong size
    • When a pad is accidentally dropped it will roll to the least accessible part of the bandroom
  • Law of Diminishing Repairs
    After restoring one key on a woodwind instrument, three others will malfunction
  • Mouthpiece Inertia Principle
    Brass mouthpieces are easier to jam than to dislodge
  • Halbrook's Axiom
    A stuck key will work perfectly when the repairman tries it
  • Law of Selective Operation
    Brass valves will stick on contest days
    They will not stick when the conductor tries them
    They will stick again when the student resumes playing
  • Richard's Complimentary Rule of Ownership:
    If you keep anything long enough you can throw it away
    If you throw anything away, you will need it the next day
  • Communication Principle
    When a conductor gives students letters for parents, 15% will be left on music stands, 25% will be inside the music, 15% will rot in instrument cases, 15% will be left in lockers, 15% will crawl under the student's bed, and 15% of the parents will receive the letter.
  • Tillis' Organisational Principle:
    If you file it, you'll know where it is but never need it. If you don't file it, you'll need it but never know where it is
  • Left-Right Principle
    At least one person is out of step in any one march
    Corollary: It is usually the same person
  • Reeley's Principle
    Any piece you select as a closing number will have a final note one step higher than the first trumpet can play
  • Small Band Dilemma
    The drum major is always the best trumpet player
  • Bogan's Law of Bus Trips
    Bus breakdowns always occur on the longest trips
  • RT + 1 Principle
    The scheduled return time of any trip will be one hour earlier than the actual return
    Corollary: This happens even when you pad the return time with an extra hour
  • RT + 3 Principle
    You will have to wait at least another two hours for the last parent to pick up a child
  • Blind Leading the Blind Principle
    Band members playing correctly will always follow the players who are playing incorrectly
  • Murphy's Law of Small Band Sight-Reading
    Invariably, the melody will be in an instrument you do not have
    Cues will not be provided
    If they are provided, they will be in the parts of your weakest section
  • Bidewell's Score Maxim
    You will have to conduct from a condensed score
  • Murphy's Music Stand Principle
    The music stand you get will wobble
  • Reely's Adaptation of Rap's Law of Inanimate Reproduction
    If you take a music stand down and put it up enough times, eventually you will have two of them
  • Two Principles of Diminishing Concentration
    Secretaries always interrupt rehearsal when concentration levels are at their peak
    Players late for rehearsal are always those who sit in the centre of the band
  • Horn's Law of Teachers' Meetings
    After-school meetings always occur on the day of an important after-school rehearsal
  • Missing Mute Principle
    At least one mute will vanish from the brass section at any rehearsal
  • Extended Rest Theorem
    The longer the rests, the less likely a section will enter after them
  • Contest Pronunciation Principle
    If a name can be mispronounced as the programme is being introduced, it will
  • Two Recruiting Ratio Principles
    For every student wanting to play clarinet, there will be six who want to play alto sax
    For every student wanting to play alto sax, there will be seven who want to play snare drum
  • The "There's Another Hole in the Dam" Principle
    Fix one spot in the music and another spot falls apart
  • Alternate Amnesia Axiom
    Any alternate fingerings taught will be promptly forgotten
  • Lost and Found Principle of Music Folders
    At least one music folder will be left on a music stand after each rehearsal
    It will usually be the same player
    If it is not the same player, there will be no name in the folder
  • Say It Again Sam Law
    Even if everything is explained perfectly, there will still be a question
    Corollary: You will have just answered the question one minute before it was asked
  • Beginning Players Concert Law
    There will be one video camera for every three beginning musicians
  • Premature Deafness Ratio
    A conductor's hearing loss is directly proportional to how many percussionists are started each year.
  • McMurray's Programme Principle
    At least one name will be left off the concert programme
    Corollary: It will be the child of the head teacher
  • McMurray's Second Programme Rule
    If there are two ways to spell a name, the wrong one will be selected
  • Murphy's Law of Clapping
    If the audience can clap at the wrong time, they will
  • Two Principles of Cymbal Cuing
    Cue the cymbal player or he will not enter
    Cue the cymbal player and he still will not enter
  • Law of Selective Acoustics
    The percussion section always sounds loudest where the judges are sitting. It cannot be heard from the podium
  • Hatch's Law of Clarinet Squeaks
    Clarinet squeaks always occur in the most exposed sections of the music
  • Fillmore's March Law
    If a march can be rushed, it will
    Corollary: A march rushes in proportion to a band's inability to play it quickly
  • The Play It Again Sam Axiom
    At concert festivals, three other bands will play your toughest piece
    Corollary: All three perform before you do, and play it better
  • Surprise Symphony Principle
    At least one section of the music which sounded perfect in rehearsal will go haywire
  • The Punctuality Paradox
    Give a strongly-worded lecture about punctuality and you will be late to the next performance
  • Bidewell's Transition Principle
    You are never as good as the previous conductor
  • Anderson's Solution
    When in doubt, blame problems on the previous conductor
  • The Lowest Common Denominator Principle
    After a concert, parents rave about the pop selection played and say nothing about the test piece
  • The Least Credible Sentence in Conducting
    One more time
  • Emily's law on mobile phones
    At least one mobile phone will ring during a rehearsal or concert
    The conductor had explicitly given a speech about turning them off the day before
  • Emily's law on "gran pausa":
    If there is a "gran pausa" in the piece, at least one musician will keep playing
    He will play fortissimo
    He will play out of tune
  • Emily's law on difficult passages
    The chances of a conductor asking a section to play a passage by themselves in the rehearsal, is directly proportional to the difficulty of the passage and how well the people can play it.
  • Emily's law on pencils
    String players will not have a pencil the day the conductor gives new bowings or fingerings
  • Emily's law on practicing
    The difficult passage practiced for hours, will not be played correctly once the student plays it for the teacher
    the more a student practices, the less likely he will play correctly during the lesson
  • Emily's law on repertoire
    The more the student hates a specific piece, the more likely he will have to play it
    All the laws of music above were sent by Emily Stewart
  • At least one member of the orchestra will forget to change the key with everyone else. Consequently, they will be playing the loudest
    Sent by
  • Two or more flutes will never play in tune
    Sent by