Trumpet Etiquette

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

  1. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    I respectfully agree that this community band may not be the right place for you.

    You've been to exactly one rehearsal and you're more focused on where you're sitting and how/when you'll move up than you are with fitting in with the group?

    I would imagine the director would like to see you show up more than once and commit to at least one full season before thinking about giving you first or second chair.

    Best case scenario for the director is that you'll stay with the group for many years and help build a really strong section. Worst case scenario is that he moves you up and loses the other trumpet(s), then you get bored and quit, leaving the group in a bad spot.

    I'd suggest that you build relationships with the director and the other players and see what happens in a few months.
  2. RandyTx

    RandyTx Pianissimo User

    Mar 26, 2010
    Central Texas
    I'm going to be joining an established (been around a long time) community band when their fall rehearsals start up next month. I couldn't care less what "chair" I'm sitting. The point is to make music. If they want me playing on 1st, I will. If they want me playing 3rd, I will. If they want me hitting a bass drum instead, I'll do that.

    I think about the worst impression you could possibly make is to show up at your 2nd rehearsal and tell the director you want to "challenge" somebody for their chair. If you are that awesome, you'll get it eventually anyway if you keep showing up.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Randy, when I was still with a National Guard band, they already had about 10+ trumpets hanging around, but only 2-4 percussionists. Since it was known I am also a drummer/percussionist, I spent my last summer concert season with the band playing cymbals. Seriously, all I did was play crash cymbals and suspended cymbal swells. That's what was needed, so that's what I did.

    MTROSTER Piano User

    Jan 25, 2007
    If you are as good as you say, the band director will quickly take note and make the adjustments accordingly. Meanwhile sit tight and swallow your pride and ego.:shhh:
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  5. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    As the others have said, community band is not competitive. There are no 'challenges' for seats. It is an egalitarian atmosphere where everyone's situation is taken into account. Having said that, different bands are different. The band that I play in has 100+ members and 12-14 trumpets (depending on the week). We have a trumpet section leader who hands out the parts. Unless there is a very demanding part which only a few can play, he lets us decide which part we want to play (within reason). While I am normally a 3rd part player (just graduated from 5th part - aka the "hallway"), I was able to play first in a piece that we did recently that I could handle (almost). We all do it good naturedly and nobody feels threatened or that someone is breathing down their neck to take over their part. That is part of what makes it all fun. Just laugh, play, enjoy, and relax. Take up golf if you want to be competitive.
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I too play in community bands, and have done for about 12 years. I enjoy the social side of the group even though I am a couple of decades older than anyone else. I'm there to support my boys, and over the years have been better and sometimes worse than the other chairs. I float up and down the section as needed and so am able to support the entire group. I sit where I'm told, and actually rather enjoy the 3rd and 4th chairs. The young bloods need to express themselves in their music - I no longer have that driving need, 'cause I know I can do it. Community Band has NO EGO - strange for a trumpeter isn't't, perhaps a new experience for you too. I'm not saying you are wrong to wish to play 1st - but others have needs that sometimes outweigh their capabilities - they will eventually fall gasping by the wayside, like the woodwindies.

    Wait and pounce, but in the meantime - enjoy.
  7. mimic

    mimic Pianissimo User

    May 3, 2009
    I have to echo all the sage advice on etiquette in community bands. For me, the community band I have off and on played with for years, has been a great character builder as well as musical opportunity. In my impetuous youth I was asked to participate in our community band. I felt I was a strong player and was chomping at the bit to show everyone how good I was. At the first practice I went to I was introduced to their 1st chair player. A guy almost 90 years old who looked to me to be circling the drain, if you get my drift. He was very gracious and made me feel right at home. After listening to me warm up and play a little bit he complemented me and asked me if I could help him with the first part in the upcoming concert. I felt pretty special that I was good enough to so quickly lead the trumpet section. Long story short, that 90ish 1st chair player was retired from a very successful jazz group and had a stellar professional career. And he still had it going on. Yet he was so gracious and self-effacing it was truly humbling. I was taught a lesson in humility that I took to heart and now try to build up other players. Pass it on, so to speak.
  8. ewanmains

    ewanmains Piano User

    Jun 9, 2009
    Kilmarnock, UK
    Hmm - interesting one this. I would have said that you could apply this to any band situation, not just community.

    Do you think that Wayne Bergeron & Malcolm McNab fight over who plays what part?

    No, they play what's put in front of them to the best of their ability. In any band, in any situation, be it a community band for fun or a session band for a movie recording, you cannot let ego control the situation. Even if you know you are better that so-and-so who is playing 2 chairs higher that you.

    Fact is that in every arrangement, it NEEDS all the parts to played to sound the way it is meant to sound. It doesn't matter if the person playing 4th can play the 1st part, in fact most pro or semi-pro bands rotate the parts around. There is NO specific 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th player - they all play every part, without hesitation.

    I think you need to think first about ego before going back to this band.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually, most players rise to the occasion. A good third player will make the first pay more attention.

    I would look at the decision this way, why should they even THINK about giving you a better chair? You have not "proven" that you will stay, you have not offered the band anything lasting in the way of services. If every band worked the way you posted, they would fold very quickly due to opinions about what is "good enough".

    Compare the situation to your wife. She may not be your "dream girl", nor does she have to be to be the girl of your dreams. Talents like dependability, honesty, the ability to share praise and criticism as well as knowing when to feed your ego would all be sorely lacking if you preferred only the current best looking girl...................... After a while, those types have no girl at all (or aids).

    Commitment to the band is your best chance for becoming a "leader". Jealosy is a good way to ruin the experience for all.
  10. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Lots of dead-on advice here. Just wanted to add that most community bands are catch-alls where anyone who walks in the door gets to play, so it's not exactly a situation where the contractor is hiring you to play a specific chair. Much depends on the conductor, but unfortunately it's not necessarily a sure thing that the conductor or the other guys in the trumpet section have 'ears', either. Or are willing to give up a chair that might have taken them ages to inherit years before you arrived. Really, most community band people are there just to have fun playing and be a part of something. Beyond that, every group and trumpet section always has its own unique personality/personalities, and initially it's all about fitting in.

    A couple of things to ponder:

    Harmonically, those 2nd and 3rd trumpet parts are pretty important, and the top rung of a ladder isn't a fun place to be without good lower support.

    Being a dependable team player is extremely important. Avoid being resentful or resented.

    One can easily demonstrate the needed dynamics, articulations, style and correct rhythms from the lower section chairs. It is possible to lead the section from a lower chair when needed. It's not easy, but it can be done - and your fellow players will notice.

    Once you and your wife have been accepted within the section, you might be able to float the idea of rotating the lead book, in order to play to everyone's strengths. After all, you already have a 50% voting block within the section...

    Above all, it should be about the music and what the audience will enjoy. If you need more of a challenge than the local community band or need to find a place to really shine, there are always a zillion characteristic studies and Tchaikovsky violin concertos to work on, competitions, solo recitals, etc.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010

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