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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Over my head? in the General forums; I have played lead in a community band for going on 11 years or so now, and am looking to ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
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    Over my head?

    I have played lead in a community band for going on 11 years or so now, and am looking to improve my playing (and maybe work with a better band). I have an opportunity (passed on to me by my teacher, who is a top call local pro, but also to whom I am a new student) to try for a chair in another local big band which is replacing some section players. I checked out their website, which shows the previous personnel, and the drummer was formerly the drummer for the Boss Brass , the lead player is a pro with all sorts of recordings, the 3rd player is the trumpet player from the Bare Naked Ladies , and the 4th player is a rising star who also has multiple recordings with some local heavy hitters.

    Needless to say my nerves are getting the better of me and I am looking for advice as to whether I should go for this or am I just too far out of my league, since I would be the least skilled player by far in the section.

    Opinions and slaps 'upside the head' welcome.
    Dave M.
    Richmond Hill (Toronto), Ontario, CANADA

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  2. #2
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    What have you got to lose? (besides a little "face")? If your teacher thinks you can handle it (even IF it means a few extra hours of practice each week) then you must be capable. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment .... would you take a chance on damaging your own reputation by recommending someone who you knew "couldn't cut the mustard"?

    Think how fast you'll progress playing with a higher level group. Same as "taking a chance" and going to a workshop or masters class when you think you "might" be "out of your league".



    "If the draft of your vessel exceeds the depth of the water, then you are most assuredly aground!"

  3. #3
    Forte User MUSICandCHARACTER's Avatar
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    It seems to me that if your teacher recommended it, you must be ready or close to it. Every good musician runs into a situation where he/she comes to a place that feels way over their head. But it might not be!

    There are times when you must take the next step. This might be it.

    I remember when a Christian recording touring group in the 70s (at the height of my playing career) offered me a position with them. I was supposed to go to the East Coast for 3 weeks of rehearsal and to memorize the music. Then start a tour in Japan. I had to make a two year commitment. It was a lifetime opportunity lost on a poor confused college kid who thought 2 years was too long -- I was in love you know. She dumped me 2 months later for a guy on drugs. But still, it was an honor to have been offered the position -- one I thought I could never "win."

    Do it. As my sad story would suggest, make the most of the opportunities before you.

    Jim
    Dr. Jim Fox
    Licensed Mental Health Therapist
    Owner: www.allbrassradio.com

  4. #4
    Mezzo Forte User
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    I agree. Grab it with both hands...you're probably better than you think. Your teacher's a pro so he knows what's required.

    Jim, I had a similar chance playing bass when I was 20 but hadn't finished university so turned it down. Became a banker instead of a struggling (but fulfilled??) muso.

    Just my take on it.

    Regards,

    Trevor

  5. #5
    Mezzo Forte User JackD's Avatar
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    Go for it!

  6. #6
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    GO FOR IT!

    I say that because what they might be looking for out of a potential section member might not be as tangible as what your chops are like or how technically skilled you are. There are MANY other things to consider and you might have some of the "other" qualities that they are looking for.

    For instance, when I was playing with this one local big band, and we had to find a replacement for the third book player who had to leave for reasons unrelated to the band, we "auditioned" a couple of different people where they subbed a gig in the section. What we were looking for was someone that could cut the part, but also someone who's sound AND personality worked well with the rest of the section so that we had a good interpersonal chemistry. Heck, that's how I got the gig!

    The reason that I was offered the spot I believe was due to the following reasons.

    1.) I was ok at sight reading
    2.) I have (or at least I think I do!) decent intonation
    3.) I was responsible and reliable (This they learned from my being a regular sub for over a year before the opening came up.)
    4.) I got along really well with the lead player, a charter member of the band.
    5.) I got along well with the rest of the section
    6.) I was a solid overall player (notice how far down the list this is?)
    7.) I wasn't a glory hound - all I wanted to do was sit 3rd or 4th book and do what I could to support the lead player - something else that I feel I'm pretty good at. I don't even like to solo.
    8.) I had a good attitude toward what the band was doing for gigs and what music we were playing.

    There were many players that had played with that band before me that could seriously blow my doors off chops-wise, but taken as a whole, they lacked some of the other qualities that apparently made me a better catch. I mean really, who wants someone in the section that is a monster player, but otherwise is a Sterling plated a*****e? Or someone that subs out anytime something "better" comes along? Or doesn't seem to want to come to or be on time for rehearsals?

    Don't sell yourself short, just go in there, be upeat and positive and enthusiastic about the opportunity, and do your best. That's all you can do. The worst that can happen is that at the end of the day they will thank you for your time and politely explain that you aren't quite what they were looking for. The best that can happen, is that you can get the gig and have the opportunity to play alongside some cats that are really going to push you and you will get tons better and fast! I always got better faster when I was the weakest player in an otherwise strong section and I pushed myself to come up to the level of the others.

    Go for it and do your best! Good luck. :)
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
    "At my signal, unleash hell."
    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

  7. #7
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Patrick raises are very strong argument.

    Playing with guys that are better than you makes you raise the bar as a musician..it's the way we grow. It's all very well being the big boy on the block but eventually you're going to have to move to a bigger block..and bigger boys. Sorts the men out.

    Regards,

    Trevor

    PS Notice that I said musician not trumpet player. If you've been playing that long that part should be pretty well sorted.

  8. #8
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Going back to my previous post about the band auditioning players by having them sub gigs, when it came time to choose which person to bring on board, it came down to how well their personality jibed with everyone else. Playing wise, the two guys that played were both solid, each a little more solid than the other in their own ways, but one guy definitely had more personality than the other and by the end of the gig, you would have thought that he'd been a full time member for a while. He just instantly fit in and that's what sold us.

    I think that you would be doing yourself a great disservice by not laying it out there and going for it.
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
    "At my signal, unleash hell."
    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

  9. #9
    Piano User
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    Go for it, you have nothing to lose. Even if you don't get in, they know who you are, you never know what will happen in the future.

    Jon
    Jonathan Wright

  10. #10
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    Hi All,

    In management or business parlance this is called a "good problem" to have.

    Lucky bastard

    luck is defined as "where preparation meets opportunity"

    Cheers,

    Brian
    "Swift Current - where we're neither swift nor current"

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