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Yanagisawa A-W01, Yanagisawa SS-902
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I'm not sure how many people within this thread are familiar with groups like NYSSMA or NYSBDA, as they're all New York associated groups but here goes my short story.

The other day August 25th I was anxiously waiting my arrival of mail for my notification of making the New York All State Jazz Band, I had auditioned in all 3 horns (Alto, Tenor, Bari) and I had got perfect scores on alto and tenor (100/100) and a 97 on Bari all with a bunch of strengths on each sheet. I was well in the running and had a great shot at making the band as I had made All County Jazz all my years previous and had participated in an auditioned out of school group the past year which just increased my chances. As I was going through my mail I had seen that my letters had arrived (only for Alto and Tenor) and I opened them and my heart shattered as I saw two ALTERNATE letters (and yes they did say Alternate in bold and caps) in front of me. I was actually very much devastated at the fact I hadn't made it. Later that day I had found out 2 guys from my county (according to NYSSMA they try to take players from evenly spread geographic zones from the state) and one player had made the Jazz at Lincoln Center Band so I wasn't that upset about that. What I had found out that totally ripped me to shreds was that the second chair tenor player from my county (yes I am the first chair tenor) had made first chair tenor in All state Jazz! I was furious because this guy had come out of nowhere and as NYSSMA states in their website and I quote "The All-State Selection Committee reviews (in no specific priority): member school music teacher recommendations, adjudicator recommendations, the candidate's previous NYSSMA Solo ratings, grade in school, zone representation, participation in the previous year's All-State, and participation in other performing organization." I had filled almost all these conditions and I somehow was passed over to another person that hadn't fulfilled some of these?!?! The sad part comes now as that I don't have a desire to pick up my horn as much as I used to anymore and when I do play I just feel sadness and not sure why I want to major in music and I feel this whole process has killed my passion for music and Jazz. I'm not really sure how to cope at this point and I just wanted to get my words out here with guys who might have gone through a similar situation.

On a side note, my dad found a group called NYSBDA which is a group for people who did not make the NYSSMA All State ensembles, I wanted to know if anyone had any sort of knowledge on this as I know little to nothing about it.

Thanks for taking the time to read all, Matt
 

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Hey there, Matt. I'm sorry to read about your situation. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is all part of life for an artist and you can either learn from this experience or let it discourage/defeat you. I'd bet that virtually every member of this forum has experienced something very similar in their career - I know that I have, both as a performer and educator/conductor. There have been plenty of occasions when I know without any doubt that my personal performance or the performance of one of my school ensembles deserved to win or place, but it didn't happen. I found out last year that the adjudicator of a music festival several years ago admitted to one of my fellow conductors that he (the adjudicator) knew that he should have awarded my ensemble first place at a competition about 4 years ago but didn't....simply because he had a headache that evening and my ensemble had huge dynamic contrasts that exacerbated his headache. Everyone in the room that night knew that my ensemble should have won and I received many "consolation" messages. Even the conductor of the winning ensemble apologised to me because he knew his group didn't deserve to win. I was thoroughly pi$$ed and really felt for my students but I knew that "injustice" - whether real or perceived - is simply a part of life, especially in the arts, and that everyone needed to move on. I also learnt some things about competition adjudication from that experience and have incorporated those lessons as an ensemble conductor ever since. I've also done a fair amount of festival adjudication myself since that particular event and I always strive to ensure that I don't make the same mistake that other adjudication made i.e. not allowing how I physically feel to cloud my objectivity. I also recall a solo competition performance from when I was at college and I performed this really difficult French piece that should easily have won....but I didn't even place. From that experience, I learned that not everyone appreciates classical French saxophone repertoire and that repertoire needs to chosen carefully for each performance. If I'd won, I might not have learned that valuable lesson.

How you handle your situation right now will determine a lot things: you can either use this experience to work on your character development and learn some life-lessons as an artist or you can let it discourage/defeat you. At the moment, you're letting this situation discourage you and if you're not careful, it may eventually lead to you quitting saxophone i.e. you may allow it to defeat you....and sadly, I've seen this occur dozens of times in my career with peers and my students. Everything within me wanted to tell them: "Stop acting like a baby; get up and start moving forward instead of wallowing in self-pity." Sometimes I was able to say that but other times it wasn't appropriate for me to say anything.

I completely understand how you're feeling right now but I encourage you - strongly - to use this disappointing situation to develop character and resilience. If you continue with saxophone, I absolutely 100% guarantee that you'll experience similar things right throughout your career and it's how you handle these experiences that will determine how high your musical star will rise.

Regarding your side note: I've never heard of NYSBDA but do some research and look at possibly using this as an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade....that's how to produce success in life.
 
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I'm not sure how many people within this thread are familiar with groups like NYSSMA or NYSBDA, as they're all New York associated groups but here goes my short story.

The other day August 25th I was anxiously waiting my arrival of mail for my notification of making the New York All State Jazz Band, I had auditioned in all 3 horns (Alto, Tenor, Bari) and I had got perfect scores on alto and tenor (100/100) and a 97 on Bari all with a bunch of strengths on each sheet. I was well in the running and had a great shot at making the band as I had made All County Jazz all my years previous and had participated in an auditioned out of school group the past year which just increased my chances. As I was going through my mail I had seen that my letters had arrived (only for Alto and Tenor) and I opened them and my heart shattered as I saw two ALTERNATE letters (and yes they did say Alternate in bold and caps) in front of me. I was actually very much devastated at the fact I hadn't made it. Later that day I had found out 2 guys from my county (according to NYSSMA they try to take players from evenly spread geographic zones from the state) and one player had made the Jazz at Lincoln Center Band so I wasn't that upset about that. What I had found out that totally ripped me to shreds was that the second chair tenor player from my county (yes I am the first chair tenor) had made first chair tenor in All state Jazz! I was furious because this guy had come out of nowhere and as NYSSMA states in their website and I quote "The All-State Selection Committee reviews (in no specific priority): member school music teacher recommendations, adjudicator recommendations, the candidate's previous NYSSMA Solo ratings, grade in school, zone representation, participation in the previous year's All-State, and participation in other performing organization." I had filled almost all these conditions and I somehow was passed over to another person that hadn't fulfilled some of these?!?! The sad part comes now as that I don't have a desire to pick up my horn as much as I used to anymore and when I do play I just feel sadness and not sure why I want to major in music and I feel this whole process has killed my passion for music and Jazz. I'm not really sure how to cope at this point and I just wanted to get my words out here with guys who might have gone through a similar situation.

On a side note, my dad found a group called NYSBDA which is a group for people who did not make the NYSSMA All State ensembles, I wanted to know if anyone had any sort of knowledge on this as I know little to nothing about it.

Thanks for taking the time to read all, Matt
Am right there with you. When I was a senior the same thing happened to me. All I can say is that it was good for me. I realized at a young age that I'm doing this not for awards and positions but because I love doing it. That's enough! This is revealing your motivations and if you push through and work even harder you will be stronger for it. (I know this doesn't help now but this has been my experience.) as a side note, none of the 4 sax players I knew that went to All-State went into music...........
 

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POLITICS.

"Music is not an athletic event" - Ernie Watts.

Keep on keeping on....your decision to keep playing should be the MUSIC....no more no less. The music will ALWAYS be there.
 

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Someone told me this summer that you can't 'think' your way through emotions. This is really an emotional punch and you honestly need time to sort this out. It's also a great time to reflect on why you play music. Honestly, this would tick me off as well. The NYSSMA selection process has always been a mystery - sorry that you're the latest victim.
 

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I am with Tim Price on this.

No matter how long you play or how good you get there will always be someone who does at least some things better than you do.

I disapprove of musical competitions. I don't believe that every single aspect of human life needs to be turned into a competition with winners, losers, judges, prizes, etc., etc.

What's next as subject for competitions? Faith in God? Sex? The Wisdom Games?

I have a very modest musical talent. Is my offering worth less than that of someone with a great talent? What if I am truly trying to serve the music, and the person with a great talent is just showing up and phoning in his performance? If I sit around my living room with some friends and we play and sing three-chord traditional songs, with harmonies slightly out of tune, and cracked voices, and occasional bobbles on the guitars, is that less valid and worthy than a top flight studio cat sitting down to read charts for a new soda pop commercial's jingle?

If you read about the lives of great artists, you will find that many of them were jerks; being a great artist doesn't necessarily make you a great person. But many of them were welcoming and supportive to other musicians, even though much less gifted. I can think of, for example, Rahsaan Roland Kirk; Trane; Bird; Louis Armstrong.
 

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There is nothing positive about the situation, and sad to say there is nothing positive about the way most people would advise the young person.

Thankfully we have exceptional people here, who realize it is not a bad thing to have a young person focus on WHY they do what they do.
 

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...none of the 4 sax players I knew that went to All-State went into music...........
I read an interview with Don Byron where he said he was very glad he didn't get involved in the highly competitive music school thing at an early age; he felt he wasn't mature enough and it would just have burned him out whereas his path gave him time to mature at his own pace.

From a lifetime of sitting in bands, I have seen a lot of really lame players with all the right credentials and All-this and All-that and degrees; and I've seen a lot of really great players who never participated in that stuff but focused instead on developing their own thing.

This also relates to how I feel the whole academic thing is in many ways counterproductive to development of a jazz artist, because the whole idea of jazz is to have one's own concept. How can you simultaneously have your own sound and concept, and meet a set of standards defined by a group of judges? I think there is a fundamental disconnect there.

If a young player came to me for advice I would send them to the woodshed, the bandstand, the jam session, the record collection for developing as a jazz player, and I would send them to the classical teacher for technique development, but I would not suggest that preparing for "jazz competitions" is the best way to develop a jazz player.

All the above is only my opinion, and I am sure people will jump in to provide counterexamples, but that's how I feel about it.
 

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...On a side note, my dad found a group called NYSBDA which is a group for people who did not make the NYSSMA All State ensembles, I wanted to know if anyone had any sort of knowledge on this as I know little to nothing about it. ...
Why don't you start a band instead? For example, you could start a band dedicated to learning and performing the compositions of one composer. Say, Joe Henderson. Or Tadd Dameron. Or Django Reinhardt. Do freebies (old folks' homes, farmers' markets, block parties...) I guarantee you, you will learn way more by mastering two sets' worth of Django tunes and performing those two sets with a small group a dozen times, than you will by participating in another music competition group. You'll be more likely to make contacts that lead to gigs, too.
 

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Setbacks. All musicians go through them. It can be rough sometimes. But this goes for any other carreer as well as life in general. Don't mean to get all philosophical on you here but it's true. You either quit or come out stronger. Both as a person and as a musician.
 

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Setbacks. All musicians go through them. It can be rough sometimes. But this goes for any other carreer as well as life in general. Don't mean to get all philosophical on you here but it's true. You either quit or come out stronger. Both as a person and as a musician.
+1

I don't agree with setting blame on politics. A competition presumes that there will be a winner, and all the rest are not. One could whine about the results, but the bottom line is that the judges made a decision. It might be nice to get some feedback as to what you might work on, but that's another matter.

Yes, not coming out Number 1 can be disappointing, but it is going to happen again - the only way to avoid the disappointment is not trying.

Congrats on taking the risk, and preparing for the competition. You are another step forward on your path.
 

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Pursuing a college degree is something useful (like engineering) will not preclude you from being a musician.
 

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Having dealt with NYSSMA my entire adult life as a teacher I can tell you that participating in NYSSMA All-State is not the goal. The goal should be how did I play last month , last year, yesterday, and am I a better player today. That's all that matters. Participation in something that is touted as being the end all of all end alls does not fulfill a dream. It's just a point of reference, desirable or undesirable, toward the culmination of the dream.
 

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I’m sorry this happened. It sounds like it was very unfair. But I can only agree with the other posters: life is full of set backs, and you have to learn to bounce back.
You know, I have a friend who’s convinced he should’ve been a pitcher in the major leagues. He was better than anyone he played against in high school, made lots of all league, all conference and all state lists. But in college, his coach wouldn’t play him. He sat on the bench, despite dominating people in practice. So he quit. And he’s still mad about it. I’ve heard him tell the story at least 100 times over the years.
And I often feel like saying, “you know, you could have kept at it. Maybe the coach would’ve changed his mind, if you kept working hard and kept improving. Maybe you could’ve transferred to another school and tried again.” But I don’t say anything like that, because he’s already missed his chance to do what he wanted to do.
My point, in case you missed it: don’t be that guy.
 

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I'm sorry this happened. It sounds like it was very unfair. But I can only agree with the other posters: life is full of set backs, and you have to learn to bounce back.
You know, I have a friend who's convinced he should've been a pitcher in the major leagues. He was better than anyone he played against in high school, made lots of all league, all conference and all state lists. But in college, his coach wouldn't play him. He sat on the bench, despite dominating people in practice. So he quit. And he's still mad about it. I've heard him tell the story at least 100 times over the years.
And I often feel like saying, "you know, you could have kept at it. Maybe the coach would've changed his mind, if you kept working hard and kept improving. Maybe you could've transferred to another school and tried again." But I don't say anything like that, because he's already missed his chance to do what he wanted to do.
My point, in case you missed it: don't be that guy.
Yepper, nothing like going to your 40th high school reunion, only to find that the high school hod rods peaked in 12th grade.
 

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Start your own band. You'll learn more than you would have with NYSSwhatever.
 

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Here's something that could give us all some perspective:

http://www.wesh.com/news/boston-pati...w-one/41400712
I hear you.
And I do not mean to belittle or diminish the bad experience of the OP but my guess is that if all the senior players here would spill the beans on what setbacks they experienced or witnessed it would be quite a long list. Varying wildly from one person to the next.
Like for instance:
Getting screwed by the band manager financially
Sexual relations between band members going terribly wrong resulting in the break up of a band you are a part of. ( this usually involves a female vocalist )
Arguments or even physical fights between band members over musical issues,
Car accidents involving band members
Health issues of band members, people getting sick on a tour in some foreign country.
Outright betrayal of band members you thought were friends
Getting fired because the band leader thinks they are better off without horns and hiring a DJ as a replacement.
Fights over who is doing or not doing his part of driving the band Van or doing the hard work of carrying the heavy equipment to and from the stage
Fights with band members showing up late, drunk , intoxicated on gigs or reheasels or otherwise behaving unproffesionally
Personal issues between band members becoming a problem because you are on a tour and you share hotelrooms, dressing rooms, space in the band bus etc a bit too long.
Instruments or equipment getting stolen from you or your band.
Having a bad reed night or a sticky gsharp..
 
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