What to play?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Woltjer, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. Woltjer

    Woltjer New Friend

    Nov 6, 2009
    Portland, Oregon
    Let's say you just joined the High School Band. You're a good trumpet player, but know how to play all brass instruments okay. The low brass really needs a few more players.Your true love is trumpet, but your band director really needs a baritone.

    What do you do?

    If you had the choice to kick some unwilling trumpet that isn't near as good as you onto baritone and take their spot in the trumpet section, would you do that?
  2. GuitarPlayer05

    GuitarPlayer05 New Friend

    Apr 17, 2008
    Lincoln, NE
    I've been in this same dilemma... I switched. It made me appreciate both instruments more and also helped please my band directors. It's not a hard switch for me, but you will have to practice both instruments to become proficient.
  3. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

    Mar 25, 2008
    I was never a big fan of trombone.
    Until I heard Randy Purcell playing trombone with the Maynard Ferguson band.
    His tone and style on songs like "The Way We Were" made me an instant fan.

    And then later I heard a trombone player, either Urbie Green or another one, playing incredible high notes on a trombone.

    I guess the point I'm getting at is this...
    It's not the instrument, but what the musician does with it.
    Any instrument is great if it is in the hands of a great musician.

    Your post has started me daydreaming about a soulful rendition of "The Way We Were" the way that Randy Purcell played it, but on baritone rather than trombone.

    The xylophone / vibraphone was definitely not a jazz instrument.
    Until Lionel Hampton came along and played it.

    And the mandolin wasn't considered a bluegrass instrument until Bill Monroe came along.

    Makes me wonder what kind of great jazz or ballads could be played on baritone if the right player would just come along and apply himself and surprise people with what could be done with the baritone in a new genre.
  4. brassplayer

    brassplayer Pianissimo User

    May 6, 2009
    San Gabriel, CA
    Senior year, High School Band: Our only tuba player quit right before concert season, and I was the only other brass player who had experience on tuba. So I made a deal with the Band Director. I'll play lead trumpet in the Jazz Band, but will switch over to tuba for Concert Band.

    It was a sacrifice, but I also did get a lot out of it. Sometimes you just have to do what is best for the entire team.
  5. actionjackson06de

    actionjackson06de New Friend

    Nov 22, 2009
    University of North Texas
    Play what you love, man.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is the reality of school band programs. The balance is not always optimal and cooperation helps a lot. The baritone part is often as challenging as the first trumpet part.
    Make a deal. Help the band out, but get a solo. Practice both baritone and trumpet to get REALLY good. You have to consider one thing, (I hate to post this) The band director only asks players that he thinks will do a good job but won't hurt the trumpet section. That means if you were REALLY hot and showed leadership, he would not have asked you
    If I were your band director and heard this, I would move YOU to the last chair in the section. Any punk kid that thinks that baritone is punishment, isn't thinking about music or the band. You move up in the chain by showing leadership, character and playing quality not by "kicking".

    Even although I was solo cornet, I helped out with baritone horn (I learned bass clef, that taught me Eb transposition and I could play duets with my altosaxophone playing girlfriend), tuba and baritone saxophone. My example helped get other players to be "cooperative" and we all had a great time playing "musical chairs". Perhaps a goal for your path out of puberty?
  7. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    While I agree with all those who are encouraging the OP to switch (I played euphonium from 8th grade through 11th grade then switched back to trumpet to lead the section for my senior year) I do need to take issue with the statement above.

    Many people need to play the instrument to which they respond best. For some people the low brass is misery because they don't enjoy playing, for others switching to oboe from clarinet is horrible because they hate the sound of the oboe. You can't just take any person and put any instrument in their hands and guarantee a successful musician. We all play trumpet on this forum (among other instruments) because the trumpet is an instrument we all relate very well to. Forcing someone off of this instrument isn't necessarily a good thing.

    Rowuk's comment about how the band director may be asking the kid to switch because it wouldn't hurt the trumpet section to be without the kid may or may not be true. The trumpet section may already have a lot of strong players so losing one more strong player won't hurt the section even if that player is one of the best trumpet players. Moving a poor trumpet player to euphonium (most of the "baritones" these days are really euphoniums) may or may not guarantee success. The poor trumpet player may be a poor euphonium player and so won't help the band at all. In my case, back in 7th grade, I was a horrible music student, never practiced and sat last-chair 3rd in my 7th-through-12th grade band (it was a very small school district). My band director came to me and asked me to switch and I did, and as I received the new responsibility (and the free lessons to learn to play bass clef) it made all the difference for me in life. I knew I had to practice because I was only one of two euphonium players and the other player as as bad a student as I had been on cornet. So I took this new responsibility to heart and rose to the challenge. The pride I got from playing those beautiful countermelodies made me want to practice more and more so that when I noticed that all the good trumpet players were graduating when I was a junior, I was able to then put my newly learned maturity and practice habits to work to get back in shape on trumpet and step into the principal trumpet chair for my senior year.

    Looking back, I think my 7th grade band director had seen something in me that I wasn't aware of because he wasn't the least bit surprised when I matured musically and as a person while playing the euphonium. Perhaps the band director of the OP has seen something which he knows will grow into something wonderful in the kid, and that's why he's asking the kid to switch.

    My advice, like all the others, is to put your ego in your back pocket (or in the trash) and help the band out by switching and doing an excellent job on the euphonium. Being in a band is like being on a team, and everybody needs to subjugate their personal desires for the betterment of the team and that way everybody wins.
  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Band is an extra fun thing to do. You have to play what you want to work on. It is fun but, work too. If you resent the instrument you are playing you wont put in the time.

    If you want to be really good, you have to love the instrument.

    I know others here said, it's about the music and team and all that. If it were me, I wouldn't be able to make music if I didn't love the instrument.

    Do what's in your heart, for you. Not the director or another trumpet.
  9. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Here is a PS to the last post.

    High School is a hard transition to real life. A ton of changes going on.

    Band directors are a little different than a regular type of teacher.

    They tend to be a teacher and friend and guidance counselor all in one. They have been through all the stuff going on in your life now, and were hired to look out for your best interest.
  10. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

    Mar 25, 2008
    I agree with you.
    Not every musician can play every instrument or should try every instrument.
    Some people have a gift for one instrument,
    some people have a gift for two instruments,
    some people have a gift for several instruments.

    I was not encouraging the original poster to switch from trumpet to baritone.
    I was merely saying that in the hands of the right person a baritone can be a great instrument.

    I have an upstream embouchure which would make playing big mouthpieces very difficult.
    And I have poor sense of pitch.
    So I could never play trombone.
    But I envy people like Randy Purcell who could play trombone with such great tone and feeling.
    In the hands of a great musician, any instrument can be inspiring.
    Even a baritone.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009

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