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Discussion Starter #1
I'm excited.

By way of background: I played tuba for one year in the 7th grade, and owned a guitar in college (learned a few chords and a few licks, like the intro to "Stairway to Heaven," but that was about it). So, almost 20 years later, I decided to have one more go at becoming a musician. 3 years ago I bought my first sax, a YAS-23. A Martin Indiana tenor soon followed, and 6 months ago a Couesnon Bb bari joined the collection.

I started with self-teaching and CD play-along books, and after a year of that began taking lessons. Now I feel ready (gulp - am I really?) to start playing with other people.

I've been mostly playing the tenor, then splitting my time 50-50 between tenor and bari once I got the bari. So even though I'm slightly more proficient on the tenor, I figured I'd play the bari in the community band, for 2 reasons:

1) I thought the bari parts would be easier
2) Surely they'd have plenty of tenor players, and would be in need of a bari.

So in early March, I went to one of their practices, to talk to the director about joing up. His first question was, what do you play? I told him, either tenor or bari sax. His response was, great, we really need a tenor. I looked around, the band had 6 altos, one bari, and no tenors. Go figure. OK, so the decision was made. Their next concert was to be on the 23rd of April, and I was told to show up for the very next practice, on the 30th.

I showed up, and no one else did. Hm, some hazing prank they pull on the new guy? No, they took that week off, and no one bothered to tell me. So the first practice for the summer series is a week later, which will be tomorrow. I can't wait.
 

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freeflier said:
I'm excited.

By way of background: I played tuba for one year in the 7th grade, and owned a guitar in college (learned a few chords and a few licks, like the intro to "Stairway to Heaven," but that was about it). So, almost 20 years later, I decided to have one more go at becoming a musician. 3 years ago I bought my first sax, a YAS-23. A Martin Indiana tenor soon followed, and 6 months ago a Couesnon Bb bari joined the collection.

I started with self-teaching and CD play-along books, and after a year of that began taking lessons. Now I feel ready (gulp - am I really?) to start playing with other people.

I've been mostly playing the tenor, then splitting my time 50-50 between tenor and bari once I got the bari. So even though I'm slightly more proficient on the tenor, I figured I'd play the bari in the community band, for 2 reasons:

1) I thought the bari parts would be easier
2) Surely they'd have plenty of tenor players, and would be in need of a bari.
Ask to make copies of the pieces you have difficulty with so you can practice them at home. It's a great jumping off spot to get involved with other bands. I play whatever horn they need sometimes 2 or 3 in the same concert.
 

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A pre-first-practice word of encouragement. If you haven't played with a group, other than the play-along CDs (good experience, BTW), don't be surprised or discouraged if you spend much of the rehearsal totally lost. This may be even more likely for you, since being the lone tenor player, you won't have someone on the same part to help you get "unlost". Rapid sight-reading and counting tend to be the biggest hurdles for those new to ensembles. Be sure to heed mountainman's advice to get copies of the music to practice at home. It takes a long time to become proficient at sight-reading a piece first time through, and I, for one, am still working at it.

Keep at it, have fun, & let us know how it's going.
Best regards, Ruth
 

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mountainman said:
Ask to make copies of the pieces you have difficulty with so you can practice them at home.
Uhm - isn't this standard? Some of us are scolded regularly for not practising at home...we are given copies stamped with "original in archive", and we can do whatever we want (clip, annotate, ...) with them, as long as we don't give them away.

Have fun anyway. And don't be surprised by the tempo...
 

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tictactux said:
Uhm - isn't this standard? Some of us are scolded regularly for not practising at home...we are given copies stamped with "original in archive", and we can do whatever we want (clip, annotate, ...) with them, as long as we don't give them away.

QUOTE]

It certainly should be standard, but apparently it isn't. In two of my bands I have to make my own copies if I want them at home, as there is only one folder per part. And recently there was a thread on the forum started by someone whose director felt that NOT taking the music for home practice would improve his sight reading! :? Go figure!
 

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Welcome to the club!

I joined a community band last September with a year and a half of playing under my belt, and almost no previous music experience (unless you count 6 months of piano lessons 30+ years ago). It's been the best thing I've ever done with my sax! I'm one of three alto players in a 6 player sax section, and I'm having a ball. The experience has helped me tremendously with my playing. Ruth is absolutely right. My biggest challenges are the sight reading and keeping up with the tempos of some of the tunes. I figure in the first 4 months with the band I averaged playing about 50% of the notes, and I'm now up to 70-80%. I should be playing 100% of the notes in no time!

Good luck with it!

Frank
 

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AltoRuth said:
It certainly should be standard, but apparently it isn't. In two of my bands I have to make my own copies if I want them at home, as there is only one folder per part. And recently there was a thread on the forum started by someone whose director felt that NOT taking the music for home practice would improve his sight reading! :? Go figure!
You should indeed always get your own copy so you can study the piece at home. That's where you learn the notes so you can concentrate on making music at bandpractice. Big difference between them...
 

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What everyone else said.

Ruth is correct. The director will count off 1, 2, 3, 4 and then the band will start playing and you'll be lost after the first down beat. Don't sweat it. It happens to all of us. The more you play with the group and the longer you stick with it the less it will happen and the easier it will become finding your way when you do get lost.

Frank and I must be on the same time line because I joined my local community band last September after having picked up the horn less than a year previously.

I am very fortunate in that I sit next to my teacher in the band. He gets me back on track when I get lost and in the process I've managed to learn a thing or two. For example, last week I pointed out a dotted quarter to him that he was playing as a stacatto eight, and he's been playing for 65 years. We're all still learning.

Go forth with both confidence and humility and you will do well. Keep us posted.
 

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Consider the Source said:
The director will count off 1, 2, 3, 4 and then the band will start playing and you'll be lost after the first down beat.
Yup. Happened yesterday again. I've gone through a piece once or twice the day before, mentally marked it as "manageable". The sheet said "4/4". The conductor (and everyone else) played "alla breve". Duck and cover...

FWIW I joined "my" band in January, after some 18 months of learning.
 

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I've been playing for 30 years and have been in pro groups where the conductor beats his pattern and the brass played in 4 and the rest played in 2. It just happens sometimes, regardless of age or experience. The difference is, the pros knew something wasn't right pretty quick and jumped accordingly. A few hundred thousand notes under your belt and it starts to make sense. (Look at symphonic violin music sometime, 100,000 = about 2 concerts.)
 

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And I've seen first rehearsals when the music was in three and the conductor beat in four (but only for a couple of bars).
 

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retread said:
And I've seen first rehearsals when the music was in three and the conductor beat in four (but only for a couple of bars).
Or conductors counting in 7

one, two, three, four, five, six, sev, en
:?
 

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Consider the Source said:
Ruth is correct. The director will count off 1, 2, 3, 4 and then the band will start playing and you'll be lost after the first down beat. Don't sweat it. It happens to all of us. The more you play with the group and the longer you stick with it the less it will happen and the easier it will become finding your way when you do get lost.
You get counted off? Occasionally we get counted off in practice, but for concerts, never.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Consider the Source said:
What everyone else said.

Ruth is correct. The director will count off 1, 2, 3, 4 and then the band will start playing and you'll be lost after the first down beat.
Hah, that's exactly what happened on way too many tunes. I was able to play along on a couple of numbers, but most of the time I just sat there holding my horn. Apparently the summer programs recycle a lot of music, so the people who've been in the band for 20 or so years already know all the music. I really didn't think the first practice would be like that, so it was a bit of a shock.

Ok, so I'm doing the arithmetic... I've got about 35 pieces of music to practice (the director says we might drop one or two before the concert), and the first concert is July 4th. I sure hope my ability to learn new tunes (or sight read) keeps improving over the next two months!
 

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freeflier said:
Hah, that's exactly what happened on way too many tunes. I was able to play along on a couple of numbers, but most of the time I just sat there holding my horn. Apparently the summer programs recycle a lot of music, so the people who've been in the band for 20 or so years already know all the music. I really didn't think the first practice would be like that, so it was a bit of a shock.

Ok, so I'm doing the arithmetic... I've got about 35 pieces of music to practice (the director says we might drop one or two before the concert), and the first concert is July 4th. I sure hope my ability to learn new tunes (or sight read) keeps improving over the next two months!
This happened to me also at last night's rehearsal. We spent three months practicing the all new spring concert stuff. Now, we're doing last year's summer program. It was the first time I played it with whole band. I had no idea what it was going to sound like :dontknow: Some pieces I never even heard before last night. When my part just has a harmony line I couldn't practice it ahead of time without any idea of it's context or tempo. I just tried to read it as best I could.
 

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The band I play in (my band...) rehearses on Thursday evenings. My favorite rehearsal is the one right before a concert. By then I can play most everything we have been working on. Also I have practiced stopping before I clam it up too badly in the places I know I'm in over my head. I also know what the music sounds like so I know where to join back in after the clam bed.

My least favorite rehearsal is the one right after a concert. That's when we start in on a whole new pile of music. I really enjoyed last week's rehearsal. The concert was Sunday. Tonight, probably not so much.

I expect I'll be less lost tonight than I was the first few times I saw new music but it'll happen. 1, 2, 3, 4, where are we?

TJ, you have summarized the main difficulty I have had with a lot of tenor parts. You can play them at home but they are a struggle because they never get anywhere near the melody and are frequently syncopated phrases that don't make a whole lot of sense by themselves. As my teacher says, "just play the ink".

It's getting easier. I wish 7:30 would roll around more quickly. Rehearsal is my favorite time of the week. I don't know what I'm going to do over the summer as our band takes a hiatus until the fall.
 
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