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. 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.
Look at the top right of your sheet music. The arranger is usually listed there. Then google the tune name and arranger. More often than not you'll find a recording, either video or mp3
 

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Here's the order to scope out the music when you first open the part on the stand: (feel free to contribute your own version, folks--I might be wrong, ya know!)
1) before anything else, scan the whole part & look for the word SOLO. That's YOU, and if there's one section of the part you absolutely, positively have to nail, it's that.
2) structure of the piece. Note all repeats, note any DS's, where they refer back to, and any codas.
3) key changes in the piece. Know where they are at all times (some music, esp older handwritten parts, give you the key signature at the top and never again, so note that as well).
4) technically challenging rhythms or time signature changes.

Like I say, this is personal and I welcome contradiction from other players--what order of operation works best for YOU?

Finally, I'll just reiterate what others have said: listen, listen, listen. When it's a sax soli you have to "BE" the lead player, get inside his/her head and follow exactly what he/she does phrasing wise, dynamics wise, blend wise. (This is a real skill, and the more you do it consciously the better you get. There are players who specialize in 'playing second'--be it 2nd clarinet in a symphony orchestra or 2nd alto in a big band, and are valued by the lead player for their skill--also, for instance in the Basie version of Corner Pocket, 2nd alto has a little 8-bar soli with the trumpet, and you listen, and blend under the trumpet line. I find it challenging and fun, myself.)

Good luck and have fun!
 

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This is where I was a few years ago. New to sax and even newer to playing in a band. A few things that worked for me are:
1: learn to play quietly but with good tone - you will really feel it when things "lock-in" with your fellow tenor players but it won't be too bad when you hit a few dud notes (and you will!)
2: Build up from the easy stuff bar by bar, riff by riff until you get the feel
3: Dont stress over any fast frilly bits but see if you can pick out the key notes to play or even just play along with the keys or bass to start with
4: have fun

I can read music. I can play sax - I just struggle to do both at the same time, but I still have fun
 

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Here's the order to scope out the music when you first open the part on the stand: (feel free to contribute your own version, folks--I might be wrong, ya know!)
1) before anything else, scan the whole part & look for the word SOLO. That's YOU, and if there's one section of the part you absolutely, positively have to nail, it's that.
2) structure of the piece. Note all repeats, note any DS's, where they refer back to, and any codas.
3) key changes in the piece. Know where they are at all times (some music, esp older handwritten parts, give you the key signature at the top and never again, so note that as well).
4) technically challenging rhythms or time signature changes.

Like I say, this is personal and I welcome contradiction from other players--what order of operation works best for YOU?

Finally, I'll just reiterate what others have said: listen, listen, listen. When it's a sax soli you have to "BE" the lead player, get inside his/her head and follow exactly what he/she does phrasing wise, dynamics wise, blend wise. (This is a real skill, and the more you do it consciously the better you get. There are players who specialize in 'playing second'--be it 2nd clarinet in a symphony orchestra or 2nd alto in a big band, and are valued by the lead player for their skill--also, for instance in the Basie version of Corner Pocket, 2nd alto has a little 8-bar soli with the trumpet, and you listen, and blend under the trumpet line. I find it challenging and fun, myself.)

Good luck and have fun!
Good advices. I would add that, in my experience, a lot of charts don't say "solo," it's just that suddenly all you have is chord symbols for a while. It could mean that that section is open for solos for whoever wants to blow, so sometimes it's a good idea to check with the band director: "So, do have a solo at [bar number whatever]?"

Checking for repeats and finding the DS is a really really good idea. It can be pretty embarrassing to be the one guy who didn't notice the repeat. Ask me how I know.
 

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I'm musical director of a big band. Doubling chairs usually doubles the problems. The problems can be generally described as:

1. Playing too loud
2. Not blending and balancing in your section because you're playing too loud
3. Not phrasing with the lead player because you're playing too loud
4. Not hitting attacks and cutoffs with the lead player because you can't hear them, you're too loud
5. The sections not balancing with each other because they're all not listening, too loud.

LISTEN. TO. EVERYONE. ELSE. MORE. THAN. YOU. STRIVE. TO. BE. HEARD.

And do whatever the director says. It's more fun to sound good! Have fun.\
 

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The first few practices might be intimidating. You will feel steamrollered. If you think you are going to like this then stick with it. Practice is the cure for most ills. I have a small digital recorder (Olympus Digital Voice Recorder VN-8100PC) that I bring to practice and record the songs as we play them. Then I go home and play along with the songs listening through earphones. It is a lot of fun - like playing a concert each day. The digital recorder can make the passages in loop form or sped up or slowed so you can pick tough passages apart. It is good for your technique and you will gradually improve. It is a lot of work but fun. Good luck!
 

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This is where I was a few years ago. New to sax and even newer to playing in a band. A few things that worked for me are:

3: Dont stress over any fast frilly bits but see if you can pick out the key notes to play or even just play along with the keys or bass to start with
4: have fun
Yes. Indeed, yes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
The first few practices might be intimidating. You will feel steamrollered. If you think you are going to like this then stick with it. Practice is the cure for most ills. I have a small digital recorder (Olympus Digital Voice Recorder VN-8100PC) that I bring to practice and record the songs as we play them. Then I go home and play along with the songs listening through earphones. It is a lot of fun - like playing a concert each day. The digital recorder can make the passages in loop form or sped up or slowed so you can pick tough passages apart. It is good for your technique and you will gradually improve. It is a lot of work but fun. Good luck!
So far only one practice. Oh yes, it was somewhat intimidating. All the others were reading and playing at tempo and I was fumbling about. Managed to keep my place and even join in on a few sections without too many fast, complex bits. But I was rather demoralized. I couldn't bring myself to even practice the next day.

But then I kicked myself in the pants and decided to work at it. Just going to try to get down my part as best as I can, and keep doing it each week.

According to one popular saying, if I continue practicing, eventually my playing will be perfect. While I doubt I have sufficient practice time remaining (in my life) to attain perfection, I'll setttle for a modicum of improvement towards mediocrity.

So for now at least, I'm sticking with it.
 

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So far only one practice. Oh yes, it was somewhat intimidating. All the others were reading and playing at tempo and I was fumbling about. Managed to keep my place and even join in on a few sections without too many fast, complex bits. But I was rather demoralized. I couldn't bring myself to even practice the next day.

But then I kicked myself in the pants and decided to work at it. Just going to try to get down my part as best as I can, and keep doing it each week.

According to one popular saying, if I continue practicing, eventually my playing will be perfect. While I doubt I have sufficient practice time remaining (in my life) to attain perfection, I'll setttle for a modicum of improvement towards mediocrity.

So for now at least, I'm sticking with it.
I got my *** kicked a LOT getting into a good big band. Toughen up. Do your best. Practice. I hit some pretty rocky patches in there, wondering if I was doomed, or would ever contribute. But I am very glad that I stayed with the program. If you are at all in the boat I was in, you are going to feel beat up quite a bit. There are a lot of very talented people out there, and being the worst player in a band is awful, awful feeling. If you put in the time, then you should hold your head up. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
At the first practice, there was another new guy, sitting right in front of me, playing sop and alto. And he was incredibly good. So I’m sitting there feeling out of my league from the outset.

I felt like, so any guy off the street can just come in and sound great . . .?

Well, I felt a lot better after introductions were made . . . The guy is a band director and teacher himself . . . .

Now, why he’s joined up in a community college continuing education jazz band class is not yet clear to me.

While it’s of course great to have great players in a band, this student (me) is worried that the new guy is really gonna raise the curve :mrgreen::bluewink:

I felt like the decent middle school player being thrown into the advanced class with high school seniors (even before hearing the new guy).

Ok, enough self pity, whining and explanations. I’m off to practice . . .
 

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It's better to be the average player in a band with great players then the other way around.
Hang in there and you will see you'll make fast progress in a short time.

At the first practice, there was another new guy, sitting right in front of me, playing sop and alto. And he was incredibly good. So I'm sitting there feeling out of my league from the outset.

I felt like, so any guy off the street can just come in and sound great . . .?

Well, I felt a lot better after introductions were made . . . The guy is a band director and teacher himself . . . .

Now, why he's joined up in a community college continuing education jazz band class is not yet clear to me.

While it's of course great to have great players in a band, this student (me) is worried that the new guy is really gonna raise the curve :mrgreen::bluewink:

I felt like the decent middle school player being thrown into the advanced class with high school seniors (even before hearing the new guy).

Ok, enough self pity, whining and explanations. I'm off to practice . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
It's better to be the average player in a band with great players then the other way around.
Hang in there and you will see you'll make fast progress in a short time.
I completely agree. I was just trying to give a little extra flavor of how it felt when the then-unknown new guy played like a pro.

This is a really good band overall. Surprisingly so, to be honest. I'd much rather be in a good band than a poor one, of course. Just means I need to work hard, and if I do, it will lead to better results.

(But allow me an occasional kvetch now and then . . . )
 

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At the first practice, there was another new guy, sitting right in front of me, playing sop and alto. And he was incredibly good. So I'm sitting there feeling out of my league from the outset.

I felt like, so any guy off the street can just come in and sound great . . .?

Well, I felt a lot better after introductions were made . . . The guy is a band director and teacher himself . . . .

Now, why he's joined up in a community college continuing education jazz band class is not yet clear to me.

While it's of course great to have great players in a band, this student (me) is worried that the new guy is really gonna raise the curve :mrgreen::bluewink:

I felt like the decent middle school player being thrown into the advanced class with high school seniors (even before hearing the new guy).

Ok, enough self pity, whining and explanations. I'm off to practice . . .
There's always going to be somebody better. The trick is, rather than let it get you down, you use that for inspiration.

Having even one really strong player in a section can really elevate everybody's playing, especially if s/he's a lead alto. Listen hard to what he's doing and you can probably improve your phrasing and intonation. Maybe he'd even be willing to answer questions about how to play this or that.

See you in the shed!
 

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First and foremost. Enjoy yourself! Don't be scared, just play. Also don't be scared to lean on your fellow band members and director, ask lots of questions and make them know that this your first time. The biggest mistake you could make is just winging it and not learning or just doing something without understanding the why.

Also, I think this was already stated above. But find as many professional recordings as you can and play a long with them, pay close attention to the phrasing, articulation, Dynamics, and structure.

Again....have fun and keep your mind and ears open. Good luck!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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At the first practice, there was another new guy, sitting right in front of me, playing sop and alto. And he was incredibly good. So I'm sitting there feeling out of my league from the outset.

I felt like, so any guy off the street can just come in and sound great . . .?

Well, I felt a lot better after introductions were made . . . The guy is a band director and teacher himself . . . .

Now, why he's joined up in a community college continuing education jazz band class is not yet clear to me.

While it's of course great to have great players in a band, this student (me) is worried that the new guy is really gonna raise the curve :mrgreen::bluewink:

I felt like the decent middle school player being thrown into the advanced class with high school seniors (even before hearing the new guy).

Ok, enough self pity, whining and explanations. I'm off to practice . . .
Well, the band I joined has all of the community college and high school band directors in it so that they can have a place to solo on jazz tunes. It also has the retired professional players who do not go to recording sessions any more but still want to play. It is a very fine place to get your butt kicked.
 

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I'm late to this thread, but it jogged a memory from a few years ago. A good friend and great trumpet player was putting together his middle school jazz ensemble. He asked me to come and speak to the sax section about a variety of topics. Here is my outline for the part about playing in an ensemble:

III. Playing in a jazz band section

A. Blending vs. leading
1. There is only one lead player, the lead alto. Everyone else needs to listen to them and blend.
2. Blending includes loudness, articulation, style, and most importantly intonation.
3. If you can’t hear the lead alto, you are playing too loud – and / or the person next to you is.

B. The lead alto
1. You are in charge – play with authority
2. Authority does not equal loudness!
3. Authority does equal accuracy – slurs, tonguing, staccato, swing feel, etc.
4. You really need to play in tune – learn to listen.

C. The first tenor
1. Blend, blend, blend
2. You get to play a lot of solos. Play the written notes first. Learn the melody and play around with it.
3. Lots of notes does not equal a great solo – melody and rhythm are most important.
4. Sometimes you are playing with the trombones. Listen to the lead bone and blend.

D. The second alto
1. You are usually playing a third or other small interval below the lead.
2. Play in tune and blend.
3. It’s not a competition to see who can play louder.

E. The second tenor
1. Blend, blend, blend
2. You will probably be playing a fair number of low notes. Work on your long tones down there so you can make them speak cleanly without too much volume.
3. Sometimes you are playing with the trombones. Listen to the lead bone and blend.
4. This is probably the most difficult chair in the section to play well.

F. The baritone
1. You are the foundation that everything else builds on.
2. A lot of the time you will be playing the same part as the lead alto, but an octave down.
3. Play with authority.
4. Remember, authority does not equal loudness!

Probably some repeats in there from earlier in the thread, not to mention my own repetition. Even though this was for middle school kids, I think it applies pretty universally.

I'll also repeat something that was said earlier. It's better (and you will learn more) to be an average player in a great band, than to be a good or great player in a mediocre to poor band.
 

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Great stuff, Saxhound. For bari though, I think it's more common that they're doubling the 2nd alto an octave down, 'drop 2', with some note differences here and there. That's my choice, personally, I rarely or never double the lead.
 

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Also, on bari half the time one is with the bones or the rhythm section instead of with the saxes. No better place for listening. A very cool chair.
 
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