Confessions of a 3rd trumpet; a cautionary tale.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BrotherBACH, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi BrotherBACH,
    It is great to see you addressing the issues, and not giving up, as it can be confronting when you play with a group and realise the gap (A reality check) - and you have gone for the community band to sort it out. Great decision!

    I am sure that you have also begun to realise that 3rd and fouth chairs in the community band can be around harmony more than melody, so it is still a test of the music reading skills and blending. You are on the right track, hang in there and the real pleasure is playing with a band; it makes it all gell - makes sense of the practice sessions.

    There is a real respect for 3rd and fourth chairs in community bands, the realisation that not everyone needs to be a Lead player to make beautful music happen. And you can improve and aim for a higher chair as you progress. Definitely the right track for a comeback player. Hang in there, I sincerely wish you my best for the future growth on trumpet.

  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    The 3rd chair is an important part of the 1st chair's performance - you underscore and provide a base for that 'melody line'. To achieve this you need to be confident enough TO BE HEARD - you sound like you've worked yourself into a good tone, and have established where your fingers go at the appropriate time. My band director wants me to be louder than the lead, he wants me to be able to listen and blend. If I don't listen, I CAN'T support the lead appropriately. He believes, at my level of development, that harmony is better than absolute accuracy eveytime - that is, I am allowed to make errors, as long as they improve at the second and subsequent readings - he wants me to recognise that I can make errors, but that I can hear them enough to correct them, and he needs me to CONTRIBUTE. 3rd chair is as NECESSARY as the lead - for the section to work. The 4th chair does other stuff, as does the 2nd trumpet - those two are another challenge for you - later.

    I'm pleased that you are on the same journey as me and that you are grasping where your place is - is exciting isn't't? I still come home after rehearsal and find I am unable to sleep - I always stumble away from practice whistling a happy tune - I hope you are really having fun, I am.
    Peter McNeill likes this.
  3. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks so much for your support; it means a great deal. I woke up this morning to the most wonderful e-mail from the conductor of the Wind Ensemble. I sent him an e-mail similar to what I wrote on TM. In response, he said that "there will always be a chair in the trumpet section when I am ready, whether it is next semeeter or next year." I am so blown away. I have met the most wonderful, kind people since starting my comeback. What a grand adventure this all is.

  4. SteveB

    SteveB Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 15, 2008
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    ^ ^ ^
    Good for you, BrotherBACH!!

    And, just to let you know that you're not alone, I know exactly what you're going through.

    I did my most recent comeback about five years ago (at age 55). Just for the heck of it, I thought it might be fun to see if there were some fellow Feds at the DHS facility I was working at who might want to form a jam band.

    Long story short, our little group evolved into a very respectable 8-piece horn-rock band (i.e., Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, Blues Brothers, Brian Setzer, etc.). Not only did we become a frequently sought-after band in SE Georgia, but I was absolutely convinced that I had become one hell of a hot horn tooter in the process. :cool:

    I retired from the Feds this past February and moved back to my home state of Arizona where I joined the Yavapai College (Prescott) big band, which is comprised of mostly retired band directors, former pro players and other very talented musicians (most of which are in their 50's, 60's and 70's).

    Needless to say, I was lucky to barely squeeze in as the fourth trumpet. And in retrospect, I'm not even sure I deserve that. Talk about intimidating, listening to these guys fly through intricate big band charts as if they were Brubank Book 1 exercises. And, I'm sitting there trying to pre-sightread upcoming passages that I'm lucky to hit half the notes on. :oops:

    Like you, I'm fortunate enough to have a band director who cares. (He's been giving me some pre-rehearsal "tutoring" on my parts. And slowly-but-surely, I'm starting to get up to speed.)

    But yes, playing with talented players, especially those with years of experience, can be a VERY humbling experience. But, I can't think of a better way to force oneself to become a more proficient player some day.

    So, hang in there. Play in whatever band you can get into. Practice your brains out. And, continue to do what you've done here . . . . ask for help whenever you need it. It's inevitable that you'll be getting more support than you'd ever expect. In one way or another, we've all been there.

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
    larry tscharner likes this.
  5. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Amen, SteveB.
  6. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Agreed. You can't do a thing if you're so afraid to make a mistake. Preparation breeds confidence, confidence brings freedom. Conceit is poison.
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    wow, what a great thread. I use to play in a workshop jazz band .. they had 5 big bands. The purpose was realy to network and build up your sight reading chops. These were monster charts. The lead player in the band I was in was really a goo dplayer. Could nail anything ... then he got his first paying recording gig ... he was the lead player .. totallyfroze. It wasn't like he hadn't played in front of people before it was just the pressure he put on himself. So not saying it was all that but you certainly should know it can affect your performance.
    I am glad to see you are playing with another group. I would ask the conductor to give you an honest evaluation of where he thinks your chops are. If he tells you really are good enoguh, I would ask if he can handle the mistakes until you are over the initial fear.
    that's my take
  8. friarsd

    friarsd New Friend

    May 30, 2011
    Just enjoy making from the heart and it usual expresses itself. Work on your sight reading, play in church or a non pressure community band. The most important thing is you enjoy yourself!
  9. Mellophone Man

    Mellophone Man Pianissimo User

    Mar 31, 2010
    Scottsdale AZ
    Great topic for a thread. My experience is similar. I played trumpet when I was in grade school and middle school. I got started in high school playing in a drum and bugle corps and played off and on competitively from 1966 until 2003. I built up a huge amount of performance experience playing in front of large crowds in large (30 to 50 horns) brass ensembles, but did nothing on the trumpet during those years. I retired recently, got out the trumpet, and started through the Arbans's book working on getting my chops up and improving my technical skills on the trumpet. I played through almost the entire book over about a three month period except for the Etudes and some of the solos. I recently joined a community concert band (about 85 members with a very professional director) and it has been a great experience so far. We will play six concerts over six months, each with a lot of music to sight read and put together in a relatively short amount of practice time. The players range from high school age to much older than me (I'm 62) and we have everything from high school students to current and retired band directors and professional musicians in the ranks. I read pretty well, but there is nothing like having to keep up with people who are better than you to help build your skills.
  10. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I have spent most of my playing career as a lead player yet I know how important section playing is and know from first hand experience. A good 2nd or 3rd player can make the whole section/band solid. The lead player only has to float on top and guide phrasing/style.
    As I approach 50 I wonder if I can keep up with these young cats. They already play circles around me in every way...yet they show me respect and make me sound better than I actually am.

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