Is it time to quit the community band?

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by B15M, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I play in a rather good community band and I enjoy going. We get to play a lot of good stuff. Things that you would have to practice.

    For the last couple of years I have been getting a lot of calls to play and have had to turn down work to play with the community group. I have been with the band for a long time and feel funny about quitting but maybe it's time. I just turned down a job for 400.00 because the band has a concert that night. I feel funny about that too.
  2. bilboinsa

    bilboinsa Piano User

    Jan 24, 2006
    San Antonio, TX

    If you think youn would get enough play time outside the band, then jump. To asuage the guilt, find another trumpeter to bring into the fold--look in churches, music stores, ask online, etc... I think if you didn't feel like you were harming the CB, your decision would be easier...maybe... :oops:
  3. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    As a long-time Community Band member I would suggest that perhaps there is a middle road. One of the aspects of Community Band is that it is (or should be) acknowledged that each of the members is there VOLUNTARILY. Yes, it's unfortunate that some of these paying gigs might come up on short notice; but so can illness, business trips, etc. The band must accept and even anticipate that.

    In our small community there is a symphony, there are small bands, there are school exams (many of our members are teachers and students must come first), etc. We usually seldom know from week to week who is going to be unable to make it. Last week we had a member missing because they were having eye surgery (lots of "grey hairs" in the group!) We understand that "stuff happens". A few of our members are University Students.... we know that they will be AWOL when the school orchestra takes their annual spring trip. Our first trumpet player is a lawyer; sometimes he has cases that are out of town and he can't always schedule them around band. A couple of our members work in animal disease research: when the mad-cow crisis hit they just couldn't be at band. Our conductor is a teacher... he had to take a week off to attend IAJE a couple of weeks ago. He manages to find a stand-in when he's not available and we "carry on" (and usually learn something new each time it might happen).

    Just do the best you can and help work up one of the other section members to be able to step in when you can't be around. Obviously the more fore-knowledge you have about your availability the more advance planning you can make. You seem to enjoy it; I'll presume the band enjoys having you there; you have a chance to help bring someone else along; and you have an opportunity to keep your face and your playing "in the public eye". I really don't see a down-side!
  4. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I stopped playing in the community band many years ago for the very reasons you mentioned. For a couple years I would go in as a ringer and play some parts that they had trouble playing (usually one of the second or third parts when there was a few good players in the section and all of them refused to play the lower parts to help the section). As the band got better that need went away and I just stopped playing with them, even when I didn't have a gig I didn't feel it was fair for me to be there "part time". The just could not count on me because if I got called to "play for pay" I pushed the community band to the side.

    So I guess my answer is do what your heart tells you to do. My heart said go for the money!
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    For me, I say "go with the dough", unless you can't find enough musical fulfilment from the pay gigs.

    I stopped playing with a better than average big band because I was constantly having gig conflicts between the big band and the rock and roll party band I have been playing with. If it was just about the music, I would have stayed in the big band - it's one of my favorite genres to play and I genuinely enjoyed rehearsing and gigging with the folks in that group. However, as a matter of justifcation to my family, I had to go with the gig that had the biggest payoff for my time spent, because I just couldn't continue to do both.

    While I miss playing in a big band sometimes, I don't regret the outcome of that decision. I have a lot of fun playing that kind of music with a great group of people, and I make a fairly tidy sum doing it.

    I think that the important thing to understand prior to going into a decision like that is that there is going to be a tradeoff if you choose one or the other, no matter which one you choose.
  6. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Send in a to the conductor, he should understand.
  7. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005

    I don't mean to intrude, but what do you do for a living? Or, more specifically, what role does music play in your life? The reason I ask is that "turning pro" might be financially rewarding, and sometimes personally rewarding, but it can also be more stressful. Is making a few bucks worth dealing with contracts, more pressure and more tax forms? It could be, and if so, great. Maybe you can work out a deal to do both, but if money is the only reason for quitting something that you enjoy doing, I'd think it through before making any decisions. Just my 2 cents... (I recently had a bad experience with a contractor that left me wishing I could just play music for fun...)
  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    If I could find a sub that would play for free and could play the part that would be the answer.
  9. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.

    Playing the trumpet will never be my only source of income. I love to play and do it all the time. This band is the last "for free" band that I play with.
    There was a time that I was out playing four nights a week for free.

    Slowly as I got to be a better player I got more jobs and stopped playing with the free bands. I am to the point now that I have trouble keeping up with the paying gigs. I don't know why I have held on to this band. I guess it's a social thing. I go every Wednesday night and get to play and have fun and it's steady. I am starting to feel like I'm paying to be there because I'm turning down work. How much money is it worth to have a good time with my friends?
    Maybe I have enough money and I shouldn't be greedy.
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    B- I agree with Toots. It's a community group; you go when you can and try to keep the conductor informed of your paying schedule. If you are going to be mising a majority of rehearsals and performances, then I would think twice. The group I play with is also a freebie (all music teachers and college music professors). Some of us have commitments and can't always make it. No problem; we let the principals and conductor know ahead of time and it works out.

    I also like the comment about "follow your heart". You will do the right thing by doing that.

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