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Discussion Starter #1
I recently visited a local college and saw some of my old music teachers and chatted with them for a while. During my discussion, I was "volunteered" to play in the jazz band again. Well, volunteered isn't correct, I asked about it, they told me about it, I liked it, so I was told to sign up and audit the class.

I haven't played with a jazz group for about 20+ years. I'm nervous and looking for tips to survive at least the first few weeks without wanting to just stop going.
 

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I recently visited a local college and saw some of my old music teachers and chatted with them for a while. During my discussion, I was "volunteered" to play in the jazz band again. Well, volunteered isn't correct, I asked about it, they told me about it, I liked it, so I was told to sign up and audit the class.

I haven't played with a jazz group for about 20+ years. I'm nervous and looking for tips to survive at least the first few weeks without wanting to just stop going.
Embrace it. Dive into the moment and enjoy the music. Listen to the product of being in an ensemble. For me, the best seat in the house for listening to a big band is in the sax section. Whether it is the full-on roar of a swinging uptempo chorus, or the palpable lushness of a well-crafted ballad, there is magic in the midst of the band.

You’ve been there before. Your friends invite you back because you belong. Enjoy the ride.



“Hi, my name is George, and I love playing in big bands.”
 

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I suppose that if you stick to melodic, blues based stuff for a little while before you go into more intricate things you will be alright. Good luck! Keep the melody in your head!
 

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I suppose that if you stick to melodic, blues based stuff for a little while before you go into more intricate things you will be alright. Good luck! Keep the melody in your head!
Andre brings up a good point - although indirectly. I typically associate "college jazz bands" as big bands, but recognize there are also smaller ensembles.

Which type of band are you joining, Robert? What part are you playing?
 

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I recently visited a local college and saw some of my old music teachers and chatted with them for a while. During my discussion, I was "volunteered" to play in the jazz band again. Well, volunteered isn't correct, I asked about it, they told me about it, I liked it, so I was told to sign up and audit the class.

I haven't played with a jazz group for about 20+ years. I'm nervous and looking for tips to survive at least the first few weeks without wanting to just stop going.
Robert, can you tell us what school? I am familiar with several college programs around Detroit and may be able to give you some tips.

PM me if you want to chat offline about it.
 

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Ask the director what he intends to play this semester. If he/she hasn't decided yet, ask to see the program of the last concert performed. Nowadays, you'll be able to find most of these pieces in full on YouTube, Spotify (etc.), or find sample audio at the publishers' sites.

If the director can identify the pieces and knows what part you'll be playing, maybe you can copy the parts in advance.
 

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If you had a background, especially school band, you will be fine. Its amazing how much comes back, automatically. Brainwashing and programming lasts a long time ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone. So this is at Henry Ford College. I'll be playing tenor, but I don't know which part yet. This is their Studio 110 band. It's more of a beginners jazz class. They have the "Big Band" which is more of a professional band. I am hoping the enjoy the ride. It's been so long since I've played in an environment like this. When I was there before, I was one of the top players. I played sax, bass and drums while I was there. Now, being gone for so long, it felt good just to go in and talk with my teachers again.

I don't know. I'm probably blowing it out of proportion. There's a few things I hope to accomplish. One, learn to play again with confidence. Two, get better at soloing, cause I definitely need that. Three, show my kids, and I got a drummer at home, that if you practice more than just at school, you can accomplish good things.
 

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Do lots of tech work, sight reading stuff and you'll do fine. I' wouldn't worry about soloing at first. that seemed to always go to players who have been there awhile. K
 

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Thanks everyone. So this is at Henry Ford College. I'll be playing tenor, but I don't know which part yet. This is their Studio 110 band. It's more of a beginners jazz class...
Release your expectations, Robert. I’m betting that your friends at the college just want to give you an opportunity to play, and to give the youngsters a vision that playing music is a lifelong pleasure.
 

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Release your expectations, Robert. I’m betting that your friends at the college just want to give you an opportunity to play, and to give the youngsters a vision that playing music is a lifelong pleasure.
I'm with the good Doc here, let it all go and enjoy!

"Hi, my name is Joe, and I love playing in big bands."
 

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Big bands are great. I've been in the same one for 28 years and am still learning new things. One thing it will teach you is to count and to listen and play dynamics. Blending into a section improves just about every thing you do.
 
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