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There are rehearsal bands almost everywhere. Personally I wouldn't throw the commitment to a band into the mix you're describing just yet; I'd wait till you get better settled. When Covid wanes, all those rehearsal bands will be starting back up. Figuring out how to find them is a trick, but a good starting point would be to search "community band" in your location. Many amateur concert bands also have a jazz band annexe, which is almost always a standard big-band. Those have been the starting points for most of my big-band playing through the last 40 years.

For example, a local guitar player wanted to start up a show band; he contacted an old friend of his who happened to run a rehearsal band that I was in. So I played a couple rehearsals for that band, it never went anywhere, but when the tenor player I was sitting next to decided to start a society band, HE contacted the same rehearsal-band director to get a sax section for a one-off gig; gig went well; I played baritone in that band (a professional dance/wedding/event band) for the next 10 years.

That's the way this stuff goes. If you can read, solo, understand the role of the baritone sax in the sax section, and have a pleasing big compelling sound, you'll get work on bari. There's a big difference between the guy that owns a bari and the guy that's committed to the big horn.
 

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Told him I'll think about it but "I'm busy right now and not available until summer 2022".

For the first big-band leader (above), I would love to go sit with the band and learn/experience big-band. Trouble is I'm up to my neck in MBA classes, working full-time and have kids in high, middle and elementary school. I prefer to play music by ear but started out as a choir member/organist...

My hesitation is I don't want to get invited as I don't have time now until I finish my program. I am in for 3 concentrations (finance, marketing and supply-chain management) and have completed 2 already. One to go and a few core courses and I'm done.

My fear is after graduation, I may accept an offer that will mean moving away from my current locality/state and missing the opportunity of experiencing big-band membership. Don't know where 'life' may take me next year.

Does anyone have suggestions for me about what to do about these big-band invitations/opportunities that seem to be coming my way because of bari?
I have trimmed your note (above) for your reflection. You make a compelling case - you are committed already.

My case has been not so different, and now I am on the other side of it. I had no time for an ensemble when in school, and committed to my academics for 12 years until I completed my Ph.D. Once I found a job, I landed a gig (on bari) in two big bands - one where I worked and another where I lived (45 miles from work). I eventually “outgrew” the big band near work (couldn’t stand the drummer), but stayed with the other band for 20+ years, moving from bari to second tenor, then ultimately to first tenor.

My suggestion is to respect your commitment to your family and your studies, and shed like crazy on your horn when you can so you are ready to make the commitment to a band when it becomes available and you have time in your life for it. Summer of ‘22 is really not that far away.
 
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Big band sure is complicated for you guys. I just show up and play. If someone is in over their head or can't get their sh*t together, they usually drop out on their own. Same goes for those who are at a much higher level than the rest of the band. I can usually tell how it's going to go after reading the first chart. In our band, if you can swing, play in tune and read well enough to get it on the 2nd or 3rd try, you're in.

As future opportunities go, it's great if those bands can wait that long for you. But whenever I have a slot to fill in my band, I'm not that patient. I beat the bushes until I find someone.
 

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I have trimmed your note (above) for your reflection. You make a compelling case - you are committed already.

My suggestion is to respect your commitment to your family and your studies, and shed like crazy on your horn when you can so you are ready to make the commitment to a band when it becomes available and you have time in your life for it. Summer of ‘22 is really not that far away.
There are rehearsal bands almost everywhere. Personally I wouldn't throw the commitment to a band into the mix you're describing just yet; I'd wait till you get better settled. When Covid wanes, all those rehearsal bands will be starting back up. Figuring out how to find them is a trick, but a good starting point would be to search "community band" in your location. Many amateur concert bands also have a jazz band annexe, which is almost always a standard big-band. Those have been the starting points for most of my big-band playing through the last 40 years.
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That's the way this stuff goes. If you can read, solo, understand the role of the baritone sax in the sax section, and have a pleasing big compelling sound, you'll get work on bari. There's a big difference between the guy that owns a bari and the guy that's committed to the big horn.
Thanks Dr G and Turf3 (it just feel inappropriate for me to reply/type your username, starting with small 't' :). Pardon my capital). I've always respected your logic and contributions on this forum. It makes sense to prioritize appropriately, shed and be ready for future opportunities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 · (Edited)
Always great advice. Just adding the oncoming details:

They did their gig sans Tenor 2 (which has been their normal for a while). It went well - I've got their next setlist for upcoming gig. And I've got all the band sheets! Time to get reading, rehearsal coming up Tuesday :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Rehearsal went pretty good. I did get one solo, which went well until I jumped the gun and ended the solo section 4 bars early.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Filled in for the 2nd alto player and we had a great tenor player sit in with the group in my seat. Fun to play the different parts, but definitely found myself overblowing trying to keep up with the brass. May need to take my high baffle piece for this group on alto :D
 

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Filled in for the 2nd alto player and we had a great tenor player sit in with the group in my seat. Fun to play the different parts, but definitely found myself overblowing trying to keep up with the brass. May need to take my high baffle piece for this group on alto :D
That might not be a very good idea Jared! One of the most important things of playing in a saxophone sections is blending with the rest and staying under the volume of the lead alto. High baffle pieces normally don't do a good job in Big Band sections because they disrupt the balance.

Better is to work on your airstream support with your current setup. If I remember well you have a 10mfan alto piece and Mark's mouthpieces always play easy and can take a lot of air, so I would concentrate on getting the full benefit out of that setup.
 

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Yup- I played a lot of 2nd alto and 2nd tenor in big bands. IMO these are the most difficult sax chairs since you are often playing in harmony to the lead lines. I used a nice playing Meyer 7M for all the alto work. It can be difficult to hear yourself not just because of the volume but simply due to where the lines lay in relation to what's going on in the rest of the section and entire band. Also, if you're sitting in the sort of "standard" big band arrangement where the bones are sitting right behind the saxes and the trumpets standing in the back; the brass is always going to sound really loud because they are basically blowing directly into your ear. I'd go at least a few more rehearsals before switching to a really bright piece. I'd also consider if you playing louder or with more edge is really the right solution for the band as a whole. Some of the rehearsal bands I've played in set up in more of a U shape, almost like a small orchestra, instead of the traditional bleacher-style configuration and that helps quite a bit though it's often not ideal when playing gigs. Likewise, the brass may just need to learn to play with more control and your conductor should be correcting that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Ah thanks! I was actually kidding. Should have used a more sarcastic smiley face. But all good notes. The overblowing was more a sign I'd been practicing tenor almost exclusively.

I actually was told I had a great sound and blend for my first day on Alto.
 
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