Over the years I have always played with others in community orchestras - those that run not-for-profit and do not pay their members, but have a great time making beautiful music. Even while we lived overseas for several years, I bought a cheap cello over there and joined a local orchestra, which was really very rewarding (but that's another story).
Since we moved home, I have my old cello back, but I haven't played. The other day I realised it's not the actual playing that I miss, it's the performance. It's the feeling of tuning up, of standing in the backstage area waiting to go on stage, the apprehension that you might screw up and make a mistake, the satisfaction after it's all over of a job well done.
It also occurred to me that this is the reason I miss raiding as well. The feeling of "performance" is quite similar, even if the instruments are quite different.
So what makes raiding similar to performing in an orchestra?
Before the raid, you practise in heroics or a training dummy to get your rotations right. You read the strategy to know what to expect. Musicians practise their part in the music to attempt to play it without any mistakes. They attend rehearsals to practise with other orchestra members.
Preparation is key. For a raid, make sure you are repaired, bring food/ammo/potions/reagents etc.
For a performance, musicians make sure their instrument is tuned, polished, bow rosin'd, that they have spare reeds, that their tuba is not full of spit, and so on.
The raid is directed by a raid leader (conductor) who directs the raid according to a pre-prepared strategy. Each raid member has their own job to do whether it be healing, tanking or bringing the pew pew (I would call the bass instruments and percussion the tanks and the strings and brass bring the pew pew, but who does the healing?).
During the raid, if one person screws up it can destroy the whole attempt. If you make a small mistake, you can cover it up pretty well because there are others who can cover for you if you fake it for a bit. Unless you're the tank.
After the boss is down, you take a screenshot and head off to the pub in Dalaran for a party. This is pretty much the same for an orchestra. Well, maybe not the screenshot part.
The major difference is that if something goes wrong, the music doesn't just take over and kill everyone in the concert hall, although that would be an awesome premise for a movie. Also, orchestra members don't have to move out of fires while they're in the middle of the symphony, unless it's Stravinsky or something.
Playing in a musical ensemble and raiding with a guild are two variations of the same theme: Teamwork. Playing in a sports team or any other team activity has the same common principle: to work together as a team to achieve glory. How the group performs is down to how much preparation each person has put in, and how well teammates support each other.
"None of us is as awesome as all of us. "
PS. Image is shamelessly borrowed from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. No, that wasn't the one I was in :)PPS. What Ken Blanchard actually said was "None of us is as smart as all of us." But I tweaked it :)