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Author Topic: Joining a community orchestra  (Read 4088 times)
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BGuttman
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« Reply #20 on: Jan 05, 2017, 11:45AM »

and i'd bet the ringers got paid

You betcha.

In my current groups the Principals are not paid extra (except for the Concert Master).  The MVPO gives all the adult musicians an honorarium per concert, which was based on an agreement with the AFM (originally you had to be an AFM member to get the honorarium).  Other groups are unpaid.  When I am asked to sub at the last minute I usually get a small amount of money; especially if I'm not a regular member of the group.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #21 on: Jan 05, 2017, 11:58AM »

Orchestra presents different challenges to band; just because there may not be a lot to play doesn't mean it will be easy, even if the notes look easy on paper. They have to to be pretty perfect and you have to know not just your own music, but what the others are doing, otherwise you will miss entries.
Really a lot depends on the standard of the orchestra, I joined an amateur orchestra not long ago; they are a good standard and ambitious, and commission quite a bit of new music, as well as standard repertoire - the last concert was Mahler 2, which got a 10 minute standing ovation and I was immensely chuffed to get the cance to play 1st Trom in such a great piece, something I never expected as it's the fist orchestra I've joined, and I'm not so young.
I've also played trumpet with them quite a few times with them in the past (as a dep).  So regarding reading; on bass trom you may not be needed all the time. On tenor you will encounter bass, tenor and alto clefs with some frequency. On trumpet you will have to transpose many parts; Trumpet in F or E are quite common.  This orchestra has intense all day rehearsals for two or three weekends (daytime) before a concert, but not weekly rehearsals, which would not appeal to me on brass; the schedule (ie when you are required in a rehearsa) is also published.   
I like the challenge and the discipline, it isn't for everyone. You will also find that you cannot rely on colleagues in the section to play at the same time or pattern as yourself, so it helps to be reasonably confident. It is not normal to have two players on a part.  
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« Reply #22 on: Jan 05, 2017, 12:10PM »

and i'd bet the ringers got paid

 >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(

...Geezer
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ronnies
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« Reply #23 on: Jan 05, 2017, 02:23PM »

Meant that all the rehearsals the key solos were silent.

When we played Mahler 1 just before Christmas, the first time I heard the tuba solo in the third movement and the magnificent low F in the first was at the performance.  I'd been filling them in at every rehearsal. :-)

Ronnie
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« Reply #24 on: Jan 05, 2017, 03:23PM »

Worst attitudes I've encountered have been paid ringers. "Just gimme my check so I can get out of here!"
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« Reply #25 on: Jan 06, 2017, 04:53AM »

Oi- didn't do my research  :-0 the group is ACTUALLY a community band, not an orchestra - no string players. Sorry if that caused a bit of confusion! That opens up the possibilities a bit more, I'd think, although I cant necessarily count on them hurting for trumpet players.

In my mind, in regards to joining a group like this, that's "just for fun" and anyone can join- I've got aspirations and goals that I want to reach as a trumpet player that are FAR above my trombone playing- not to say that I could smoke (or even come close to) any of the trombone players in a community band at ALL, but rather that I have aims that I want to achieve on trumpet that can't necessarily be reached by sitting alone in a practice room with little practice material and little contact with other players.
I will of course NOT allow an open trombone seat to remain empty in favor of chasing my own 'dream', but if I get the chance to join as a trumpeter, then it'll be to far more use for me personally. It seems rather self-centered and narcissistic now that I write it down.  Amazed

When you guys are looking to join groups like these for fun and HAVE the chance to play other instruments, would you grasp at the opportunity to improve your skills in a weaker area, OR are aim improve the quality of the group by playing an instrument you're already proficient at?

I'm sending an email to the director to see what they'd be most in need of for the coming season, and what kind of audition material they have for high school students (then i could at least scope out what level they're playing at).
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« Reply #26 on: Jan 06, 2017, 04:59AM »

Oi- didn't do my research  :-0 the group is ACTUALLY a community band, not an orchestra - no string players. Sorry if that caused a bit of confusion! That opens up the possibilities a bit more, I'd think, although I cant necessarily count on them hurting for trumpet players.

In my mind, in regards to joining a group like this, that's "just for fun" and anyone can join- I've got aspirations and goals that I want to reach as a trumpet player that are FAR above my trombone playing- not to say that I could smoke (or even come close to) any of the trombone players in a community band at ALL, but rather that I have aims that I want to achieve on trumpet that can't necessarily be reached by sitting alone in a practice room with little practice material and little contact with other players.
I will of course NOT allow an open trombone seat to remain empty in favor of chasing my own 'dream', but if I get the chance to join as a trumpeter, then it'll be to far more use for me personally. It seems rather self-centered and narcissistic now that I write it down.  Amazed

When you guys are looking to join groups like these for fun and HAVE the chance to play other instruments, would you grasp at the opportunity to improve your skills in a weaker area, OR are aim improve the quality of the group by playing an instrument you're already proficient at?

I'm sending an email to the director to see what they'd be most in need of for the coming season, and what kind of audition material they have for high school students (then i could at least scope out what level they're playing at).

I don't think it's narcissistic at all. Keep this in mind: you are a volunteer. You are doing volunteer's work - that happens to provide entertainment to people. There is no moral law that states you must be miserable while you are volunteering your time, energy and ability. So if what motivates you to do volunteer work is self-improvement, there is nothing wrong with that. It's as good a reason as any.

In casual conversation with people who inquire what I am doing with all the free time I have now that I am retired, I tell them I do volunteer work. When they ask what and where, I tell them I provide entertainment to people free of charge via the various public bands I am involved with. When I see the puzzled look on their faces, I tell them there isn't anything wrong with having fun while I am volunteering my time.

Everyone wins. But what really drives me to do it is the fun, the sense of social involvement AND the prospect of learning new things as a musician.

...Geezer
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« Reply #27 on: Jan 06, 2017, 05:03AM »


When you guys are looking to join groups like these for fun and HAVE the chance to play other instruments, would you grasp at the opportunity to improve your skills in a weaker area, OR are aim improve the quality of the group by playing an instrument you're already proficient at?

Either, both, depending on the group.

I would not play something so badly it hurt the group.  But if I were adequate I could see using the opportunity to improve.  Adequate by the standards of that group, I mean, not adequate at a pro level.

The other consideration might be your reputation.  If you are known as skilled on trombone first, and play as a beginner on trumpet, you'll be seen one way.  If you are unknown and play trumpet badly, they will just see you as a bad trumpet player.   
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #28 on: Jan 07, 2017, 06:05AM »

What the Tims said.

When you guys are looking to join groups like these for fun and HAVE the chance to play other instruments, would you grasp at the opportunity to improve your skills in a weaker area, OR are aim improve the quality of the group by playing an instrument you're already proficient at?

Personally: I like balance myself by playing in some groups that I'm underqualified for AND some groups I'm overqualified for.
'Underqualified' is an opportunity to improve myself! I love playing with better musicians!
'Overqualified' is an opportunity to be that better musician for others!

The only way to get better at something is to DO it.
If we shouldn't bring our instruments out in public until we play at a pro level, then what's the point of community bands?

I got a bass trombone last year, and I'm still not as agile on it as I am on tenor. I woodshedded for five months before I felt comfortable agreeing to bring it out in public for a community orchestra sub (no $$$, and I went to all the rehearsals [on the subject of ringers]). As clumsy as I am on bass, they were still THRILLED with me. I now play bass regularly with two other bands.

You're already a pretty good musician. Trumpet or not, people will respect your playing, and you'll be fine. Don't worry about the self-centeredness. We all do this because WE WANT TO. 

There's no substitute for playing with people. If you want to play trumpet, YES, play trumpet!
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« Reply #29 on: Jan 07, 2017, 06:32AM »

What the Tims said.

Personally: I like balance myself by playing in some groups that I'm underqualified for AND some groups I'm overqualified for.
'Underqualified' is an opportunity to improve myself! I love playing with better musicians!
'Overqualified' is an opportunity to be that better musician for others!

The only way to get better at something is to DO it.
If we shouldn't bring our instruments out in public until we play at a pro level, then what's the point of community bands?

I got a bass trombone last year, and I'm still not as agile on it as I am on tenor. I woodshedded for five months before I felt comfortable agreeing to bring it out in public for a community orchestra sub (no $$$, and I went to all the rehearsals [on the subject of ringers]). As clumsy as I am on bass, they were still THRILLED with me. I now play bass regularly with two other bands.

You're already a pretty good musician. Trumpet or not, people will respect your playing, and you'll be fine. Don't worry about the self-centeredness. We all do this because WE WANT TO. 

There's no substitute for playing with people. If you want to play trumpet, YES, play trumpet!

Well-stated!

It's all good if it's done out of love and respect. If and when that is no longer the case, time to leave.

...Geezer
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« Reply #30 on: Feb 01, 2017, 07:50AM »

It's all good if it's done out of love and respect. If and when that is no longer the case, time to leave.

To be honest, I'm running out of love and respect for my large ensemble, but it's not quite time to leave.
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Steven Cangemi
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« Reply #31 on: Feb 01, 2017, 08:21AM »

To be honest, I'm running out of love and respect for my large ensemble, but it's not quite time to leave.

You will know when it is.

In one night, I fell completely out of love with a band, quit and never went back. Sometimes it's not about the music.

...Geezer
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #32 on: Feb 01, 2017, 03:37PM »

If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

Community bands work in different ways but they must have a good organising committee and good conductors. The musicians come and go and tend to be of varying talent. In my experience, the quality of the band also varies over the years, mainly depending on the above.

I think with a community band you have to be prepared to put in a lot compared with what you might get out of it.

I very much appreciate the organisers and the musicians in my local community band and thank most of them for their dedication. Actually it is more than just a band. It is really five bands consisting of: Beginner's Concert Band, Jazz Improvisation Beginner's Band, Big Band Way cool, Wind Ensemble (Concert band) and the #1 Concert Band. Sometimes there are special interest bands formed and I once ran a vintage Ellington band, after the style of the Cotton Club Orchestra, which is what we called it.

This is my community band, The Redland City Bands:

http://redlandcitybands.org.au/
http://redlandcitybands.org.au/our-bands-2/big-band/

The Redland Big Band is the only community band I play with these days but there have been times when I was playing with four community bands at the same time. All part of this mainly Trad Jazz player's bucket list item to play 1st Bone in a big jazz/swing band, which I did for all of them. Pant They were also well organised bands with some terrific musicians Good! :

Kate Street Mob:  http://www.brizwestensembles.org/kate-street-mob

Urban Swing:  https://www.bandmix.com.au/mike1664/

With community bands it is very like I said, "You only get out of it what you put into it". Clever There are a few musicians who are only in a community band for what they can get out of it and I must say I have at times been slightly guilty of that approach. But really my advice is "Go in boots and all!" with the instrument you prefer. I personally do not think that trumpet and trombone is ever a good double from an amateur's embouchure point of view. But maybe that is an oldie with some lip problems talking.
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« Reply #33 on: Feb 01, 2017, 04:26PM »

To be honest, I'm running out of love and respect for my large ensemble, but it's not quite time to leave.
Showing up with a different horn can be a welcome change for a few months.  If you're o.k. with the old saying "if you don't do it, someone else will" and don't mind someone else taking your stand then yes, you can say you've had enough and walk away. 
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« Reply #34 on: Feb 16, 2017, 06:19PM »

Showing up with a different horn can be a welcome change for a few months.  If you're o.k. with the old saying "if you don't do it, someone else will" and don't mind someone else taking your stand then yes, you can say you've had enough and walk away. 

In this particular group, if I leave there will be nobody to take the part.  That's part of the problem, and part of why I stay.  There aren't that many ensembles within a reasonable commute.  Just a few years ago, this community orchestra had an excellent trombone section.  Then one player moved away, and another transferred to a four year school.  That leaves me, and two years later, it's still just me.  In the same city, there is a superior wind ensemble.  I would love to play in this group, but I have a hard time justifying leaving a group that is desperate for trombones to double a part in a different group.  Barring something unexpectedly terrible, I will finish the spring in this orchestra.  I should spend some of the summer thinking about where to play come fall.
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