What do you look for in a band???

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetguy27, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. trumpetguy27

    trumpetguy27 Mezzo Piano User

    May 30, 2008
    Hey Folks,

    I have a couple questions for everybody... and I really hope I can get a response from a variety of ability levels and genres etc.

    Aside from the millions that we all make playing music, what do you look for when you join a band? In other words what are some things that would make you choose/stick with a band?

    What are some things about a band that would turn you off and make you choose to NOT be a part of it?

    I ask because I have recently started playing lead with a new big band and while they/we aren't anywhere near GREAT yet, there's definitely a lot of potential in the core of people who started the group. The problem is that we're still in our infancy and far from "professional" so I think some of the guys that are the real players in town are kinda blowing us off. SO I'm hoping to make the atmosphere as inviting as possible for the quality players to come out AND stick around. Unfortunately at this point this is a volunteer type setting... we hope in time to be able to make a little something but until we get rolling that's just not possible.

    I look forward to your responses and THANKS for your time!
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Just a few thoughts:

    You may not be the best band in town, but that doesn't stop you being the most popular. Focus on stuff you can play really well, that the audience really likes.

    Don't be afraid to say no to engagements that just aren't you.

    It's better to be a couple of seats short and maintain an amicable, professional and cohesive group than make up numbers with prima donnas, unreliables and honkers. They just drag you down.

    Work on earning a reputation for always honouring an engagement, looking the part, and leaving everyone happy :-)
  3. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    Personality, time requirements and potential for pay.

    I have, and still will play with a few "community" type bands, for little or no money. I do it because I like the people, and it's a fun hang. These bands also understand that I can't make weekly rehearsals, but I will come when I can. They also understand d that if I get a paying gig, I'm taking it over coming to their freebie. We've talked it all out and are all on the same page.

    If you can't pay yet, you have to be understanding. There is one particular local band that has called me to play dozens of times. They pay, but not much. Thing with them is, in order to get their $50 gig, you have to attend regular rehearsals, for or free. They take it too seriously, and aren't much fun. That's why the serious players in the area aren't in that band.

    If your band is fun, you aren't super strict with attendance, the musicianship is at least good enough to not be annoying and you are playing fun charts, the players will eventually find you.
  4. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Enjoyment, this transfers to the audience.
    Keep politics out nothing destroys a group quicker than this
    Patience especially with a new group and especially from an MD
    Settle any issue with out mane calling.
    Don't get people over committed
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    If it isn't fun, I ain't gonna do it no matter how good they think they are. I'd rather play with a person who's happy for the opportunity to play, even the third or fourth book, than an a$$ who's always correcting folks.
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Scott, there are a few things that I look at for playing and gigging, but what I look for and what you might look for are probably different. I've got to have fun, things have got to be run well, it's nice to make decent money doing it (has to be a decent payoff for my time) and I really dislike accepted mediocrity.

    One of the reasons I'm not gigging praise band drums these days is because I just can't seem to find a situation that works for me that I'm willing to deal with.

    As an example, the last situation where I could have been on a regular rotation, the "kit" was electronic and it was hinky in functionality. 85% of how a drummer sounds is in how they hit the drums - I just felt stifled by that. Another part that frustrated me was this accepted mediocrity that runs rampant among church praise bands. Poorly rehearsed with mediocre musicians, yet everyone wanted to pat themselves on the back for how great they were. Either they were kidding themselves or they simply didn't know the difference, but either way it wasn't working for me. A musician tends to play to level they are surrounded by - you can take an awesome musician, put them in a ragtag band, and as a result, no matter how good they might be, they are still going to sound pretty mediocre when it's all put together.

    Another church that I stopped playing with, there was this constant friction between me and the sound guy. (Mainly because he was terrible, didn't really know what he was supposed to be doing, even though acted like he was God's gift to the soundboard, and I knew how clueless he really was.) I bowed out when he ordered the lid for the kit's Plexiglas shield. The room was huge and IMO there simply wasn't a need for it. Aside from that though, the house kit was this beat up Tama Rockstar that was poorly maintained and didn't sound good, so that was frustrating as well.

    I want to play in a group that is well organized, well run, pays decently, gigs at least semi-regularly, and has solid players throughout. I enjoyed my time with Blue Moon Big Band a lot - it's a well-run band that gigs on average 10-15 times a year, has solid players and in general was a pretty good time. The only reason I stopped playing with them was because I was spread too thin at the time, something had to go, and the band that payed the most and was the biggest payoff for my time won out. Musically I enjoy Big Band more than gigging with the party band, but it was easier to sell it to the missus when I was getting paid well, and to that end, I do get paid well with the party band and we don't rehearse - we roll in prepared and go.

    I'm not sure what you're asking or what you're looking for, but that's my take on it.
  7. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    +2 on the "Praise Band Mediocrity" thing. It is, after all, still music.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If I play in a group for no money, fun is a part, but more important is the bands general desire to get better. If they aren't hungry, I am not interested. That does not mean that everyone has to be advanced, but if the general attitude is "what the conductor doesn't teach me, I can't do" it is a dealbreaker!
  9. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Two questions first....

    You say "I have started playing lead in a new big band...."

    And "I'm hoping to make the atmosphere as inviting as possible for the quality players to come out AND stick around."

    My answers depend on if you are a member or if it is YOUR band.
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Hey Scott. My "two cents", in order of importance.

    0. The all must play Adams trumpets. (Just kidding, gmonody.) ;-)

    1. Playing with nice people. This is probably the most important.

    2. A desire to get better.

    3. No need to rehearse. You need to do your homework on your own time, and learn your music at home.

    4. No show-offs. Screaming trumpet high notes and squeaking saxophones are not a replacement for a good melody.

    5. A desire to entertain and play music the audience (and the restaurant owner) will like. In other words, no "Giant Steps".

    6. People with regular day jobs. Not much money to be made here.


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