Fun Story: My director kept telling me and my tenor sax buddy to play softer. No matter what we did, it wasn’t soft enough for him. So getting frustrated, I told my buddy “Dont play this time. Just fake it”
Our Band Director then informed us we sounded perfect.
A similar thing happened to me last week. I play flute in our local youth symphonic orchestra and we have a ridiculous number of violins and only three flute players and a piccolo in our section. Our conductor is unbelievably biased towards string-players generally, and although we shared the tune with the 1st and 2nd violins at one point, we were told to quieten it down.
Bearing in mind the part wanted us to play ridiculously high in the upper register and we were already marked down as pp, we complained it simply wasn’t possible for us to do without going horrifically out of tune. Regardless, the conductor made us all repeat the section a further two times more, and after deciding to do one-a-part and reducing the volume as much as we could, he still complained.
Annoyed, we whispered amongst ourselves not to bother, and just mime the part by moving our fingers as we usually would, just without blowing down the instrument. The section was repeated, and after stopping us, our conductor sang praises about how amazing it was, and why we couldn’t have played like that in the first place. We then proceeded to complain as a section about how unbelievably biased towards the strings he was. Needless to say, he was extremely embarrassed when we took him to one side at the break and told him what we’d done.