Trumpet Etiquette

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rikkijustmike, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. rikkijustmike

    rikkijustmike New Friend

    Jul 30, 2010
    I went to a meeting for the local community band last night. My area doesn't have any other similar outlets and I was glad to find them as I'm not really a "bar band" player. They were a really nice group (small) and my wife and I are excited about getting to play with them.

    When I arrived, 1st and second chair were taken, so I sat third and my wife sat 4th. 4 trumpets.

    I'm way better than the two that sat above me, but they have been playing with the band for a while. How do I go about moving up without creating political unrest? The second chair is a high school kid so I don't want to leave a sour taste in his mouth and cause him to not come play and I didn't really talk to the guy sitting first chair.

    I want to do what is best for the group, but also my ego doesn't like having lesser players on BOTH sides of me.

    I'm pretty socially inept sometimes, so any advice would be apprciated...
  2. mrbill00

    mrbill00 Pianissimo User

    Apr 20, 2009
    Middle of Georgia
    well, you might need to quit......
    your not ready for "Community Band" yet Community band you play the part that is needed, not the part You
    think You should play
    and all together, you play wonderful music..
    it's a music team..and, you know, no I in team good music and the band director will make any necessary
    changes. Directors have a way of doing good things for the band.
  3. RichJ

    RichJ Piano User

    Jan 16, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I've played in 6 community bands over the years. It is normal to start at the bottom. If you are clearly better and the music is too difficult for those with the lead parts, it will likely work its way to you over time. If the band clings 100% to chair assignments by seniority after you've played for a while, then you can always try a different band.
  4. rikkijustmike

    rikkijustmike New Friend

    Jul 30, 2010
    Like I said, I'm all about "what is best for the band", so I am not interested in quitting. Plus, there aren't any other groups like this for 100 miles. I'm not even complaining about playing second part.

    I just wanted to know how I could move up without being a turd about it. The last "group" that I played with was college and we did "challenges" there.

    It's important to me that the high school kid enjoys playing so that he will keep showing up and having fun. I don't know how he would react if he got "beat" out of playing first part. I don't want anyone getting their feelings hurt. That doesn't seem to be in keeping with what the group is about and it wouldn't feel right.

    I do however want to eventually be first chair (think what you want, Bill:roll:). So far, I gather that the norm is for the director to make those decisions for a community band. Does this mean that challenges are not done? I like to compete but I guess that some people do not...

    I realize that I can ask the director these questions and may at a later date but I don't want to make him feel like he's getting the shake-down. I'm not interested in making waves, I just wanted to know how one achieved upward mobility in a community band.
  5. Irensaga

    Irensaga Pianissimo User

    Feb 3, 2010
    Manchester, UK
    Similar thing happened to me. I just played the parts I had as well as possible and turned up to all rehearsals. The band director noticed and switched the parts around. I think it may depend on the director.
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    It's a community band - the point of the band isn't necessarily to play the best, but rather it's a type of fellowship where you get together with like-minded people to play music and make new friends. Sure, you might be a better player than someone else on a part higher than you, but that's not really the point.

    I took part in a community college community band for a couple of semesters and played exactly what I was told to play. Past that, I didn't think too hard about the people around me and who was better than who. There was a guy sitting clear down in the 3rd trumpet section who had a gorgeous, lush sound - it was clear this guy had been around the block a while and could play well, but he was down there on 3rd locking in the part and lending strength to that section for the young cats who were there. Sort of leading by example I suppose.

    If you think you need to sit higher, then you should find a different band. That's just kind of how it is.

    Another example is the church worship band I play in. I've almost got more gig time and music experience than the rest of the other musicians combined, and I clearly am more knowledgeable about how to put together an ensemble and rehearse it than the praise team leader. I have more breadth and experience as a vocalist as well. Having said that, leading that group or singing in the group is not my role - playing drums for the band is my role. I offer input at times, but the leadership thing is not why I'm there - I'm there to play drums and play them like the praise team leader wants me to play them - period. I don't sing, I don't try to lead and I do the best I can with the role I have been asigned.

    It has taken me a while to come to that kind of mindset - 10-15 years ago I would have been a royal pain in the butt because I would have been trying to prove to everyone just how good I was and how much I know - totally not the point, but I wasn't mature enough at that time to sit back and accept things as they are.

    Sorry for the ramble.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  7. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Ditto what Patrick said.

    If you need to be playing more challenging parts then work your way into bands where you can achieve that. Otherwise, accept where you are sitting.

  8. Back at it

    Back at it Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2010
    Western, NY
    If you want to be 1st chair and have the skills you will be in time. Community band is generally not competative. Think of simply having fun and making music regardless of the part you play.
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi rikkijustmike,
    Every part in the band is important.
    While some community bands are large, competitive, have world class players in them and cut CD's, your community band is small and not like that, right?
    For this season, since you're already there, set where you are setting (3rd &4th).
    Take a season to learn the personalities and next season, show up early and ask if you can try first trumpet.
    You don't play "bar band stuff" so you're in the community band to play, right?
    Remember, all the parts are important. Do a good job and play nice-nice with the people in the band. Think about first trumpet next season.
  10. Brass crusader

    Brass crusader Mezzo Piano User

    If you are a guest in a band, then you should always play what is offered to you, and let the players who have been there longer play what they like. As it's been said, Community Bands are all about the camaraderie and fun that they offer, in a low-pressure and all-inclusive environment.
    Keep practicing, and make sure that your parts are as good as they can be. Get to know the other people in your section. They'll notice and reward good playing. If they feel as though you are a better player from listening to you, you may find that 1st parts start ending up sliding over to your stand..

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