For the past 25 years, I’ve been playing mariachi music at the professional level. I always adhere to a high code of conduct, that I would like to share with my fellow mariachi musicians.
- Be on time, at least 20 minutes before down-beat.
- Careful tuning is essential for a good rehearsal and performance. Needless playing is unfair to others who are trying to tune.
- If rehearsing with written music, place your music stand at best height for maintaining eye contact with the conductor.
- Stop playing when conductor stops, and listen to what he says.
- Do not rely on reading music, try to memorize as fast as possible so that you can interpret your music better.
- When playing, listen to the entire Mariachi. All parts are important, especially the rhythm section.
- Keep track of time allowed for breaks, be back to play on schedule.
- NEVER stare or comment when someone makes a mistake. This is discourteous to the player and distracting for everyone. AND YOU COULD BE NEXT!
- Practice your parts at home. Plan your practice. Isolate problems in advance so you can concentrate on them.
- Prepare group choreography during rehearsals.
- Continuing your musical education in voice and instrument is very important for longevity as a good all around musician.
Image and Hygiene
- Clean boots, traje, botonadura, haircut, nails cut and clean and personal presentation.
- Remember we are striving to get rid of the image of the stereotypical pot bellied Mariachi sitting under the cactus.
- When accompanying singer, do not over shadow the star.
- Once on stage do not practice parts, it looks unprofessional.
- Adjust attitude and facial expressions to type of the song you are performing.
- Do not talk to person next to you on stage unless its part of the act.
- Always keep in subtle tough with section leader, vocal cutoffs and director but DO NOT IGNORE AUDIENCE.
- When featured as a solo singer your arm movements and facial expressions need to compliment the lyrics of the song. Practice in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable.
- Choosing the right variety of songs and change of tempos are important for your choice of repertoire. PLEASING THW AUDIENCE ALWAYS COMES FIRST.
- Have fun, enjoy yourself during performance. DO NOT GET UPTIGHT!
- If you do not have something nice to say about your fellow musicians, do not say anything at all. If you have a problem with someone discuss it with your leader.
- Constructive criticism is one thing, putting people down is another.
- Always put your ego aside.
- When you appreciate the performance of another group let them know, congratulate them. This shows humility and true appreciation of Mariachi.
- Healthy competition is good motivation and results in better performance by all groups.
- Remember a professional musician can be creative and innovative, not always bound to the mechanics.