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Zandit75
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« on: Dec 05, 2017, 09:31PM »

I hope this is the right place for this discussion.

Last night at band practice, we had a new guy arrive to sit in with us. I knew he was coming as the conversation had been raised several times over the last couple of weeks.
He is currently registered with another band in our State, however due to work commitments, he had to move to our area.
We are hoping he will stick around, and perhaps travel with us to the Nationals at Easter next year as a permit player.
He is very easy to talk to, and has the prerequisite trom player attitude for our band, and plenty of laughs to share around!!
He is also a trom gear guy, so I can see plenty of conversations going forward.

Prior to him coming along last night, we already have 4 Trom players, although one is stepping down soon due to his age.
Our current 1st Trom is a paramedic, and cannot always attend practice or playouts, and our 2nd Trom player is a primary(elementary) grade teacher, but due to family commitments, and being an all-round good father, he's not always available for playouts either, although he is at practice more often. I must just be the sucker that turns up to pretty much everything!!

His reputation preceded him, and his sound and technique is really great. Listening to him play last night is already making me think what I need to do to up my own game! Sure, I play Bass, and he will also sit on 1st, but I'm already seeing this as a great opportunity to both improve myself, the section and the band overall.

Does anyone else have thoughts like this when someone new steps into your group?
Do you see this as a negative, or purely a positive like I am?
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 05, 2017, 10:33PM »

The best way to get better is to play with people that are all better than you.

The reverse it also true.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 06, 2017, 09:03AM »

I've always enjoyed competition for the exact reason you stated. It's a driving force for improvement.

On occasion we have a college bass trombonist visit our community band to either sit in for a performance or just play trombone ensemble music for fun. He's an alumnus of the community band, and even though he's a composition major, his technique on the trombone is stellar. When he visits, he always plays the lower bass part that I enjoy so much, but his presence of sound and musicality just dwarfs mine. I got to hear him at the national solo competition at ATW (which he won), and I decided I wanted to work for that sound.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 06, 2017, 09:14AM »

I've never seen this as competition. I always see it as an opportunity. Ego is an awful thing. The quartet I play in started with me as probably the most rounded player, but it is always my goal to recruit people better than me for a couple of reasons. First, the group sounds better, and what's good for the group is good for me. Second, there is a lot to learn from better players. I notice that I can really play in tune if I play with someone who also plays in tune. Playing is not very much fun with people who can't play in tune. Also, these better players will bring better opportunities with them.

Ego is meant to be something that promotes your own interests, but in the end it works out to really hold you back. Especially in music, which is the most "team" of the team sports. So if you're on the same side, there's no such thing as competition. Its cooperation. Now hopefully the other guy sees it that way as well, and lets you have a little spotlight too, which is one way for him to help promote you while you're helping to promote him.
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 06, 2017, 10:23AM »

The best way to get better is to play with people that are all better than you.

The reverse it also true.

I've never seen this as competition. I always see it as an opportunity. 

 Good!
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FlamingRain
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 06, 2017, 10:30AM »

It's also an opportunity to play great music with great players, and enjoy it in the moment too.
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Zandit75
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 06, 2017, 06:16PM »

I've never seen this as competition. I always see it as an opportunity. Ego is an awful thing. The quartet I play in started with me as probably the most rounded player, but it is always my goal to recruit people better than me for a couple of reasons. First, the group sounds better, and what's good for the group is good for me. Second, there is a lot to learn from better players. I notice that I can really play in tune if I play with someone who also plays in tune. Playing is not very much fun with people who can't play in tune. Also, these better players will bring better opportunities with them.

Ego is meant to be something that promotes your own interests, but in the end it works out to really hold you back. Especially in music, which is the most "team" of the team sports. So if you're on the same side, there's no such thing as competition. Its cooperation. Now hopefully the other guy sees it that way as well, and lets you have a little spotlight too, which is one way for him to help promote you while you're helping to promote him.

I guess I really didn't explain myself the best with my original comment.
I certainly didn't think that this was an ego thing, as I definitely think this will improve three different factors, the band, the section and myself. Whichever order you wish to look at it, yes, I am in the mix. If that equates to ego, then it wasn't meant to.
One way to look at things, is that I had made myself comfortable in my position of Bass Trom. I don't mind playing some of the other parts, we encourage each other to have a crack, or share the load if things are getting tough for one player endurance wise. I don't have the range of the other guys, and endurance to play in the high register for too long, and I personally find the bass trom parts to be more interesting that 1st or 2nd, which mostly play harmony/support parts. That may or my not be a feature of Brass Band music, but it's certainly something I have seen in the charts we play.
Introspectively, by getting comfortable in my position, perhaps I have lost some of the drive to improve. I'm looking at this as a way to improve myself, and by extension the rest of the playing group.
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 06, 2017, 08:28PM »

I guess I really didn't explain myself the best with my original comment.
I certainly didn't think that this was an ego thing, as I definitely think this will improve three different factors, the band, the section and myself. Whichever order you wish to look at it, yes, I am in the mix. If that equates to ego, then it wasn't meant to.

No, I think you were clear.
Ego was brought up because that's the only situation where anyone would NOT enjoy playing with someone better than themselves, for the reasons already stated.
(Unless the better person is a jerk. Nobody likes playing with a jerk.)

When I was in high school, I still had an ego.
A drummer picked up a trombone, and within a few months he was better than I was.
I didn't like that too much.

Since then, I've enjoyed playing with players better than I am. I learn a lot and it makes me a stronger player.
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Zandit75
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 06, 2017, 08:57PM »

No, I think you were clear.
Ego was brought up because that's the only situation where anyone would NOT enjoy playing with someone better than themselves, for the reasons already stated.
(Unless the better person is a jerk. Nobody likes playing with a jerk.)

When I was in high school, I still had an ego.
A drummer picked up a trombone, and within a few months he was better than I was.
I didn't like that too much.

Since then, I've enjoyed playing with players better than I am. I learn a lot and it makes me a stronger player.

Cool, I'm glad it came across right then.
Sometimes we need a humbling experience to make a us a better person.
 Good!
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Steven

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« Reply #9 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:41AM »

The best way to get better is to play with people that are all better than you.

The reverse it also true.

What do you mean by "The reverse it also true"?  I'm not sure how to interpret it.
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Steven Cangemi
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:43AM »

What do you mean by "The reverse it also true"?  I'm not sure how to interpret it.

He means if you play with bad players, you can actually get worse. The "it" should be "is".
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:46AM »

If you play with people worse than you, there's a tendency to lower your own playing to their standard.

However, in that situation you can also use the opportunity to be a better example and bring the overall level up.  It can strengthen your own playing if you have that attitude.
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:56AM »

This is interesting to think of from the other side too. I have been the new player in bands a few times because I have moved a lot. These days I am most often "the guy coming in" because I can't do weekly rehearsals reliably so I sub.

When I have joined a new group I always sat in the last available chair (not bass trombone- that's special) unless the section or the leader told me otherwise. Over time, as players come in and out or as we get to know each other, usually the other players will suggest that I move up the section or share lead parts. There is no point in pushing this. It will happen if your playing dictates and the rest of the section is amenable. Otherwise, playing second or third can be quite relaxing and if it's a big band with a good leader, you will probably get the chance at a solo or two here and there anyway.

When I am subbing now, even if I am subbing for the lead player, I always ask the rest of the section where they want me to sit and what book they want me to cover. It is quite likely that someone else in the section may want to take an opportunity to play the lead book. What does it matter to me? I'm there to help out.

If there is a solo in my part I'll ask if anyone else present usually plays it. If they want it, it's theirs.

I don't think everyone is an egomaniac but if you act like everyone is and are accommodating no one's feather's get ruffled.

From the OP it is obvious that these situation do cause some stress for the incumbents so if your the new guy help keep things calm by laying back. Maybe don't play your flashiest warms up before rehearsal either...
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 07, 2017, 01:28PM »

Wayne (VJOFan),

You have a great attitude, which I expect will lead to you getting lots of follow-up sub opportunities.  Good!
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Zandit75
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 07, 2017, 02:18PM »

This is interesting to think of from the other side too. I have been the new player in bands a few times because I have moved a lot. These days I am most often "the guy coming in" because I can't do weekly rehearsals reliably so I sub.

When I have joined a new group I always sat in the last available chair (not bass trombone- that's special) unless the section or the leader told me otherwise. Over time, as players come in and out or as we get to know each other, usually the other players will suggest that I move up the section or share lead parts. There is no point in pushing this. It will happen if your playing dictates and the rest of the section is amenable. Otherwise, playing second or third can be quite relaxing and if it's a big band with a good leader, you will probably get the chance at a solo or two here and there anyway.

When I am subbing now, even if I am subbing for the lead player, I always ask the rest of the section where they want me to sit and what book they want me to cover. It is quite likely that someone else in the section may want to take an opportunity to play the lead book. What does it matter to me? I'm there to help out.

If there is a solo in my part I'll ask if anyone else present usually plays it. If they want it, it's theirs.

I don't think everyone is an egomaniac but if you act like everyone is and are accommodating no one's feather's get ruffled.

From the OP it is obvious that these situation do cause some stress for the incumbents so if your the new guy help keep things calm by laying back. Maybe don't play your flashiest warms up before rehearsal either...


Well said VJOFan, thanks for your input. This is the kind of attitude we all share in the section. The new guys has settled in really well after just the one practice, and he'll share 1st chair for our Xmas concert next Friday night. I'm playing a Bass Trom solo on the night(Minnie the Moocher), plus I'm also singing and playing guitar during one of the changeovers during the night(We have an all-ages beginners group and Junior band as well) so I'll have a busy night ahead of me.

Thanks everyone for your input, it's good to see we are all pretty much on the same page!
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 07, 2017, 02:49PM »

The best way to get better is to play with people that are all better than you.

Amen.
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 07, 2017, 05:11PM »

I didn't do well with competition in jr. high or high school.  I didn't know that I could compete.

In retrospect I think the problem was that the teacher let me know I wasn't as good as Joe First Chair but didn't take it as a teaching opportunity to show me what to do differently. I was just always going to be less.

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