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Discussion Starter #1
I've signed up for a jazz band class at a local community college.

I have never before played in a band, I've just been taking private lessons at home. I have jammed a number of times with friends, but these were always very loose, unstructured things.

I'll be the fourth tenor in this band, which has around 25 members. I'll be sharing 2nd tenor duties with #3.

First real session will be Monday, and I finally got the music today (was supposed to get it last week). 11 tunes.

As a late bloomer and band newbie, I imagine there are many things that would be good to know of which I am as yet ignorant.

Any tips or advice for a first time jazz band participant?

Any things you learned along the way re playing in a band that you wish you had known from the outset?
 

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Listen to professional recordings of the charts if they are available, and play along with the volume turned up till you blend in perfectly with the ensemble. This will give you a master class on listening, style, articulation, time, intonation, balance, and blend---all of the elements of playing in a jazz ensemble. As a freshman at the university I attended in the late 1960's I got the lead alto spot in the jazz ensemble with little or no experience or background. Luckily the leader had us play a lot of Count Basie Charts that were on vinyl records back then. I took lessons from Marshal Royal every day at my record player that first year to learn how to play those charts in that style.
 

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Just have fun and enjoy playing with other musicians! I'm shure you're well prepared. Bring a music stand with you and wait what's happening...

Few questions: Is this the first meeting for everyone? What kind of tunes did you receive? Is bringing together a bigband the goal of this jazz band class or is improvisation a topic, too?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Listen to professional recordings of the charts if they are available, and play along with the volume turned up till you blend in perfectly with the ensemble. This will give you a master class on listening, style, articulation, time, intonation, balance, and blend---all of the elements of playing in a jazz ensemble. As a freshman at the university I attended in the late 1960's I got the lead alto spot in the jazz ensemble with little or no experience or background. Luckily the leader had us play a lot of Count Basie Charts that were on vinyl records back then. I took lessons from Marshal Royal every day at my record player that first year to learn how to play those charts in that style.
I was hoping to do just that, and we were instructed to find and listen to the tunes, but we don't have info as to any recordings utilizing these particular charts. So I was just going to try to find recorded versions that may be close enough to help learn the tunes better, if not the specific arrangements.

I do like the tip re playing along with volume turned up, and will use that. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just have fun and enjoy playing with other musicians! I'm shure you're well prepared. Bring a music stand with you and wait what's happening...

Few questions: Is this the first meeting for everyone? What kind of tunes did you receive? Is bringing together a bigband the goal of this jazz band class or is improvisation a topic, too?
I should have mentioned that though this is a new semester, I am the only new person in the band. Everyone else has been involved for some time. We were supposed to start a couple weeks ago, but the final performance from the last semester was delayed, so I sat around for the first week as they did final rehearsal, then attended as audience member for their delayed end of term performance.

Last semester they did a lot of Ellington, with some Strayhorn and Gordon Goodwin tunes. The song list for this semester is:

Body & Soul
Spring Can Really Hang You Up
Eleanor Rigby
Armando's Rhumba
Afro Blue
Arnge Drank
Count Bubba
Dat Dere
A Warm Breeze
Shiny Stockings
Don't Get Sassy

As to your question about the goal of the class, I don't know enough to really answer yet. It does seem mostly fixed on big band jazz performance, though there are parts for improvisation (I think . . .). Not sure how much "instruction" there will be on general topics, such as improvisation, or if it will just mostly focus on learning how to play and perform the tunes.

From what I've seen so far, the goal is to have a fun band for older (and younger) folks to play in. Though the class is part of the "continuing education" part of the college (and is free for 55 and older), there are also a number of young people in the band.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tips/advice? Yes. Don't suck. :mrgreen:
What? You mean you don't play the sax by inhaling?

Gee, maybe I've been doing it all wrong.

Thanks for that helpful tip.

So I take it that when you play, you blow?

Yeah, I expect you blow. :mrgreen:
 

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All good advice.

Another thing, be aware the roll of 2nd tenor. 2nd tenor gets all the "color notes" (usually), meaning the notes that aren't melody and (don't necessarily make sense by themselves). Listen to lead alto for style, blend into the section...

Also, of course, have fun! Playing in a band is a rush!
 

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Just do your best to ghost whatever is beyond you technically. That as a pro is something that Id bring into it. If I can't do something well you will never hear me not do it if that makes sense. Since you have a harmony part and pretty much no melody, your goal is to fit into the groove the lead alto sets up. What I would do is tape a rehearsal of all the songs you play and use that as you practice to learn parts that are harder. Also you should (bad word but there it is) on a daily basis work to be a better player. I spend half my practice time on "chops" getting better time, tone, intonation, scale and chord facility. and then the last half on whatever I need to memorize or work on for a session. So no matter what I play next week I am bringing a better skill set to it if that makes sense. And IM 64 so what I"m telling you applies to my age as well as when I was 25 in college. K
 

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Main thing is to have fun. Try to listen and follow 1st alto so you can blend in and have an open mind towards tips and hints you might get from the section. And don't worry about being the only 'new' person in the band. They all have been at some point.
Maybe you can ask them what charts come up first so you can prepare a bit and that might make you feel a bit more comfortable. And in te meantime you can spend some extra time on the sax-specials in Count Bubba :)

Enjoy, it's about making music together and share the fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
JIf I can't do something well you will never hear me not do it if that makes sense.
Well, if you don’t do it, then of course we won’t hear you . . . .

I think you are saying if you can’t play a passage well, omit (ghost) it rather than play it poorly for all to hear. But the double negatives make the grammar of the sentence a bit confusing. It could be read as meaning you will always play all passages and phrases regardless of whether you are capable of playing them well. But that doesn’t seem what you are saying. Is it?
 

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I started playing in bands when I was 10 and am over 60 now.

I bet you anything that the most important things are ones I never think about, having absorbed them 50 years ago.



Arrive early enough to set up and warm up and be ready for the first downbeat.

Sit quietly. Pay attention. Listen. Tune up ahead of time. Do not practice during band.

Pay close attention to the first chair: Play the way they want you to play unless overruled by the director.

Play with a big, full tone, filling your horn, even when playing softly.

Blend in.

If they will let you do some solos, then do them. You have to get some time in sucking at them before you get good at them.
(Ask your first chair about that.)

Since you have a list of tunes, check on youtube for the EXACT arrangements. Listen to those and practice along with them, too.
(Getting lost is a pretty easy thing to do if you do not know a tune.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I started playing in bands when I was 10 and am over 60 now.

I bet you anything that the most important things are ones I never think about, having absorbed them 50 years ago.



Arrive early enough to set up and warm up and be ready for the first downbeat.

Sit quietly. Pay attention. Listen. Tune up ahead of time. Do not practice during band.

Pay close attention to the first chair: Play the way they want you to play unless overruled by the director.

Play with a big, full tone, filling your horn, even when playing softly.

Blend in.

If they will let you do some solos, then do them. You have to get some time in sucking at them before you get good at them.
(Ask your first chair about that.)

Since you have a list of tunes, check on youtube for the EXACT arrangements. Listen to those and practice along with them, too.
(Getting lost is a pretty easy thing to do if you do not know a tune.)
Thanks for this. Though some of these may seem basic, they are always important and should be kept in mind.

Regarding getting some time in at sucking at solos, no worries there. I have lots of experience in that already (the sucking at it part, that is).

Checking on youtube for the exact arrangements . . . hmm, not sure how easy or quick this would be . . . I only have the 2nd tenor part, and there are lots of versions of these out there on youtube. I'd love to hear the exact arrangements, but not sure how long it would take me to find them. And there may not even be videos of songs performed from these charts for all I know.
 

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With 11 tunes, you're not going to get through them all next Monday. Ask the director which ones he intends to hit first, then you hit them first. Spend plenty of time on quality practice. Nothing is more frustrating than having a band member return the next week having not improved. My sight reading sucks, but give me a week . . . .

Mark
 

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Thanks for this. Though some of these may seem basic, they are always important and should be kept in mind.

Regarding getting some time in at sucking at solos, no worries there. I have lots of experience in that already (the sucking at it part, that is).

Checking on youtube for the exact arrangements . . . hmm, not sure how easy or quick this would be . . . I only have the 2nd tenor part, and there are lots of versions of these out there on youtube. I'd love to hear the exact arrangements, but not sure how long it would take me to find them. And there may not even be videos of songs performed from these charts for all I know.

what i do is search for the arranger's name

then I look for a high school or junior college band recording

bingo

That is the one my local community college is using.
 

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I was hoping to do just that, and we were instructed to find and listen to the tunes, but we don't have info as to any recordings utilizing these particular charts. So I was just going to try to find recorded versions that may be close enough to help learn the tunes better, if not the specific arrangements.

I do like the tip re playing along with volume turned up, and will use that. Thanks.
It's pretty easy to find recordings of virtually any arrangement with a little googling. I would go to Youtube, put the name of the tune and the arranger's name in the search box, and see what you get. Chances are very good that some other school band has a video performance of the songs your band is doing. (It may not be very good, but it at least can give you a sense of how it's supposed to sound.)

Big band section playing is really fun. It's my favorite, actually! If, like me, you're not a great reader, it's good to try to listen to recordings, and to go over the charts with a metronome and just get the tricky parts under your fingers. I don't know what else to tell you except keep your ears and your eyes open: you want to make sure you're blending in with the section, and you want to keep one eye on the band director, who will probably be cueing certain parts, asking for more or less volume, etc, as the piece goes along. Have fun! You're going to make some mistakes, but so will everyone else. And don't be afraid to ask for a solo!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
With 11 tunes, you're not going to get through them all next Monday. Ask the director which ones he intends to hit first, then you hit them first. Spend plenty of time on quality practice. Nothing is more frustrating than having a band member return the next week having not improved. My sight reading sucks, but give me a week . . . .

Mark
Yes, I already asked the director that very question today, thinking along the exact same lines. But I am at least half expecting I won't hear back from him . . . until Monday, if at all. I was supposed to get the sheet music last week, and only got it today. So I am not going to hold my breath on that one, but I do hope he responds by Friday at least.
 

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You are correct, A better way to state that is if I'm not clean on a passage I'll ghost it, accenting the phrases where Im supporting the lead alto phrasing and not stick out on the rest. A wrong note at the right time won't get you fired as much as the right note at the wrong time will . Theres another confusing sentence. The best way to say it is , dont' show anybody what you CANT do. I played in plenty of community bands and jazz bands where as lead alto i knew I was the only one who could play the sax soli well. But at least the other guys didn't embarrass themselves. But like others have said have fun. This probably isn't about being 100% right. But I would tape the band playing all the material and use that as my practice tool of what to work on and what gets priority. Just my opinion K
I think you are saying if you can’t play a passage well, omit (ghost) it rather than play it poorly for all to hear. But the double negatives make the grammar of the sentence a bit confusing. It could be read as meaning you will always play all passages and phrases regardless of whether you are capable of playing them well. But that doesn’t seem what you are saying. Is it?[/QUOTE]
 
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