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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tonight I'm going to try out for my local community band :white:

http://www.cccband.org/

I'm a bit nervous :shock:

My biggest challenge is I'm not the best sight reader in world. I've been working on that for the last year and have made great improvements. But, it's not like I can sit in right away without getting familiar with the material first. I'm hoping they'll let me take it home to study it. Also, I've never played in a large traditional band assemble. There are 70 players in this group. I've played in lots of small popular music (rock, blues, jazz) groups just not anything like this. Maybe I can hide in the back for awhile :D

On the plus side, a very good friend of mine plays clarinet in this band. A least I have a drinking buddy after rehearsal :cool:

Wish me luck!
 

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Greetings from a former Pennsylvanian. I hope your audition goes well. I envy your experiences in smaller groups--- it should mostly serve you well, but if you are used to playing lead in noisy venues, you will likely have to tone down a bit and pay lots of attention to blend and to how your part fits into the whole. Most of my playing is in community bands (I currently play in three, and in one amateur "big band". Obviously I enjoy it very much--why else would I do it, since it's strictly volunteer. It's done wonders for my sight reading---before joining up with the bands, I was fairly decent at it from many years of choral singing, but I've gotten way better at this point.
Since your group is an audition group, I suspect it's a higher level of play than I'm accustomed to--in the unlikely event that you are turned down, look around for a non-audition community band to get some experience.
Let us know how it went.
 

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good luck TJ!

Rory
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
AltoRuth said:
Greetings from a former Pennsylvanian. I hope your audition goes well. I envy your experiences in smaller groups--- it should mostly serve you well, but if you are used to playing lead in noisy venues, you will likely have to tone down a bit and pay lots of attention to blend and to how your part fits into the whole. Most of my playing is in community bands (I currently play in three, and in one amateur "big band". Obviously I enjoy it very much--why else would I do it, since it's strictly volunteer. It's done wonders for my sight reading---before joining up with the bands, I was fairly decent at it from many years of choral singing, but I've gotten way better at this point.
Since your group is an audition group, I suspect it's a higher level of play than I'm accustomed to--in the unlikely event that you are turned down, look around for a non-audition community band to get some experience.
Let us know how it went.
Thanks from a former NC guy :) I don't know if it's an audition per say. It's more like an assessment of my skills. They have to figure where they'll sit me I guess. I've been playing guitar for 25 years, but this will be a real test of how far my sax playing has come along over the last five years.
 

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Great advice AltoRuth...

Playing in a big-band is all about blending in (unison).

TJ...Don't worry too much about the sight reading thing - at this type of audition.

Most of these type of bands emphasize a lot of rehearsal, with plenty of notice on when the performances are. And you almost always can take the music home and work on it. So you will not have to rely on the sight reading element as much. Not to say I have never seen the director show up with a new chart a week (or even the day of) a performance. This happens particularly when the vocalist can't make the scene at the last minute, and there is a substitute.

Also, just a small detail....avoid coloring your notes too much with vibrato. I don't know the particular sound of your band, but most want a "straight" tone, or the whole section in "unison" on the vibrato thing. (think the Glenn Miller sound)

Good luck, and let us know how it goes....:D
 

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I think the secret is not to be "noticed" too much - when in doubt, remember that discretion is the better part of valour! They look a bit like the outfit that I joined a year and a half ago - http://www.dvcb.org/ - except that your web site gets updated more frequently. Best of luck - I'm really enjoying it.

Stefan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ya' mean I can't put on that honkin' Dukoff and wail over the practice space??? Bummer :twisted:

Blending in with an easy strait tone will be the name of the game :thumbrig:

Time to get ready... I'll let you all know how it went.

Thanks :)
 

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SaxxMan said:
...
Most of these type of bands emphasize a lot of rehearsal, with plenty of notice on when the performances are. And you almost always can take the music home and work on it. So you will not have to rely on the sight reading element as much. Not to say I have never seen the director show up with a new chart a week (or even the day of) a performance. ...
It's a concert band, not a big band.

I played in the New Holland Band, in Lancaster County which is adjacent to Chester County, back in the Middle Ages. I can tell you, sight-reading was a major issue. I was in eleventh grade when I started and many of the members had been playing the orchestral transcripts and other difficult music in our repertoire for years, so it was a huge challenge to try to keep up. Sometimes it was a huge challenge to even know where you were in the music, let alone actually play it.

The good part is, there's no better way to improve your sight-reading skills than to be thrown into a situation like that. You'll probably feel like you are sinking for a good while but keep at it and soon you'll be swimming. I was a sight-reading fiend after a year or two.

Good luck TJ!
 

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tjontheroad said:
Ya' mean I can't put on that honkin' Dukoff and wail over the practice space??? Bummer
I had to buy myself a Selmer S 80 C* to quieten down enough! - although I've just replaced that with a Protone, which (I think) does the job better.
 

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TJ -

You're going to love it - I know I did when I joined my band in August. It has really helped my playing.

Good luck!

Frank
 

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chitownjazz said:
It's a concert band, not a big band.

I played in the New Holland Band, in Lancaster County which is adjacent to Chester County, back in the Middle Ages. I can tell you, sight-reading was a major issue. I was in eleventh grade when I started and many of the members had been playing the orchestral transcripts and other difficult music in our repertoire for years, so it was a huge challenge to try to keep up. Sometimes it was a huge challenge to even know where you were in the music, let alone actually play it.

The good part is, there's no better way to improve your sight-reading skills than to be thrown into a situation like that. You'll probably feel like you are sinking for a good while but keep at it and soon you'll be swimming. I was a sight-reading fiend after a year or two.

Good luck TJ!
Oh yeah...I'm definitely with you on the value of good sight reading skills...

I got the feeling TJ was goin' to his audition very soon....like tonight, I think. And I didn't want to "put the whammy" on him by gettin' him nervous about the whole sight reading thing. Not much he can do about that in a very short time.

And you're right about how getting "thrown into those situations" will improve sight-reading....

I'm currently in a couple of bands, one of which is just in love with the "Real Books"....We play at a coffeehouse every week - which means I'm sight-readin' every week...Whew!.....there are about 1200 songs in just those books alone. And yep...definitely felt that "sinking feeling", when everyone knows the chord changes by memory, and I've never even heard the song performed before...

:D
 

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I played trumpet in the local community band (http://www.brevard.cc.fl.us/~cbob/) until about a month ago when cataract surgery left me unable to read small symbols-such as whole notes. :cry:

Sight reading is not that important, but practicing at home for the next concert is. Our first read-through of a new concert is always bad. We do four concerts a year and rehearse once a week. The good readers don't usually take their books home and practice. The others do. Or should.

There are no auditions. Folks who want to play in the band simply show up at a rehearsal horn in hand, and the section leader assigns them a chair just based on what's needed and what the player says is his or her ability.

I'm an ear player mostly, and this experience really helped a lot with my sight-reading. You'll be glad you did it. Particularly if they sit you next to a player who reads well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It must be the full moon... 'cause they invited me back ;)

Everyone was very nice and welcoming to me. I sat just about dead center of the band next to the lead guy for the sax section. All the sax players (as well as the rest of the band) were very good and knew the material. Reading in this band is a must. The playlist includes some pretty challenging stuff. Of course they started the rehearsal with the most difficult piece they play, the Finale from Tchaikowsky's Symphony in F Minor No. 4. Honestly, it was a little intimidating to me at first because I was just not use to that whole setting. The largest group I ever played in was nine players with me on the piano/keyboards and WX5 wind synth. So sitting right in the middle of a 70 piece band with my sax playing a Russian symphony was like I became a fish out of water. I played very little and very softly when I could follow along. We then moved on to some easier stuff. I was able to read along and play for about half of what was in front of me.

All in all I'm glad I joined up. They sent me home with lots of homework. I'll be shredding my horn this week for sure.

Thanks for the support. The first show is in May. :)
 

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Well done! Starting with Tchaikovsky 4 is being thrown in at the deep end. I remember having to play piccolo in the original orchestral version almost thirty years ago. I didn't enjoy it at all - nowhere to hide! (come to think of it, maybe it was Tchaikovsky 5 - similar thing anyway)
 

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TJ
Congrats!
Community bands are loads of fun and use a different part of your sax "brain" than combo playing. I wish my schedule included this opportunity.
 

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Good to hear you liked it TJ, and no worries about the reading, this will grow on you. I never forget my first rehearsal (long time ago), I was still on trumpet and they started with a 6/8 march with lots of triplets ofcourse, lost it long before it was halfway :) .
Now I play in two bands (besides the Big Band), in the second one I'm an "extra", completing the section when they have a concert. There I step in 3 to 4 weeks before the event.
This is all on T-bone though. I do sit in with our youth-section on sax, this is some sort of training-band for our youngsters (8 to 16 year) to get familiar with playing in an ensemble before joining in with the actual band.
Good luck in the shed and have lots of fun.
 

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Congratulations, tj. Have fun--I know you'll enjoy yourself and learn lots.
Ruth
 

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Congratulations TJ....:D

I think you will really enjoy the experience...
and like the others have said...you will see a great improvement in your sight-reading, as well as all of your other skill-sets.

You know....there is something to be said about being nestled in the middle of a large sax section - when your just gettin' the feel of the band, the music, and the challenge of difficult pieces....

You can "hide" a little easier until your confidence and skill levels get up-to-speed....

However, on the solos...it's a different ballgame...you're on your own - and the audience's are usually much larger for this type of band, than at a club or a jam session....and they won't be drinking, or shouting, or even talking amongst themselves....It's all you up there...

I'm not tryin' to freak you out....just helping you think of that now...before you walk out on that stage for your first solo and see a couple thousand eyeballs lookin' at you....it can be a little...uh...daunting at first....;)

Good luck, and let us know how it goes....
 
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