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Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Sometimes, it is one of those days. Today has definitely been one of 'those' days. It started Tuesday evening... When I got home from my sax lesson, my internet connection had dropped. Thought nothing of it and just hit 'troubleshoot' expecting it to re-set, but got an unexpected message to login to router... The prelude to 3 hours of misery.

Cue 24 hours of no internet and irritating calls to call centres. Amongst which was a complaint to my mobile provider as to why I couldn't get a 3G signal at home (I rarely can - it's very intermittent). There is no 4G here and no plans for it either.

I then dealt with various idiots at work who had my teeth itching. I'm usually fairly calm but I got very stroppy with one bunch of idiots.

So, I then go to the big band / swing band I've been playing with for a few weeks. The band is not without issues in part due to very long-standing members who are very set in their ways, which is holding the band back quite severely.

I go to play tenor and take the T2 pad. For me, this is quite challenging, with immense amounts of sight-reading every week. As some of you know,I don't get to play the sax that much, so this was a boon...

Except, you knew there was an except, didn't you? The band is incomplete and struggles with the bass line and one of the brass players plays it on tuba. But he's not around, so I got asked to play bass... Now, whilst I am about G8 as a bass singer, G7 on cello, G3 on sax (aiming to do the exam soon) I am very inexpert on bass. So it's very challenging for me and extremely exposed.

The music is chosen by one of the long-standing members. Of the three he selected in the first half of the rehearsal, two had no bass parts. I was, to put it mildly, annoyed. I drive 34 miles from work to home, then 23 miles from home to rehearsals, to sit there twiddling my thumbs for 30 minutes. I tried reading the chords over the keyboard player's shoulder, but the print was too small. For the second run of one of them, I took a bari part in treble clef, pretended it was bass clef and subtracted 3 sharps from teh key signature. This put the section in E into G and the section in G into Bb. Who knows what you're supposed to do with accidentals that conflict with the key you're now in.

To crown it all, bass is hard to hear, especially against a pile of trumpets and saxes. I had to turn down. I couldn't hear a note.

Maybe just as well, they were all wrong anyway.

I am very thoroughly hacked off.
 

Eoe

Member
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346
Your mistake is you always turn that bass up so loud you can't hear the horn section there are always too pitchy anyway. you're the bass player you keep the beat anyway and Telegraph the changes anyway they have to follow you
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Thank you for the lecture based on zero knowledge of my circumstances
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Well, don't blame the driving. If it's any consolation I had a similar day, ended up getting home about 8:30pm after spending a couple of hours persuading a consultant that I wasn't going to accept him blaming a major problem on alleged network issues that no-one else had and if they'd happened, we'd have had a major outage.

Maybe you need to consider your position with the big band. You're doing too mich as it is. Music at the end of the day should be relaxing, not frustrating. I got home, abandoned ideas of sax practice, despite a key rehearsal today for our next concert, ate, crashed out.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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708
You are certainly one of the handiest players to have around. All that transposing. Pity the day didn't quite work out for you.

Being on the motorway in a trip to no real purpose is no fun, even the road is laid sensitively into the landscape.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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@kevgermany I think you're right. I wanted to play in a big band, but this group is somewhat dysfunctional and will be until it moves on from its legacy of being a dance band.
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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Yet another instrument. I'm impressed.

Personally, I think rhythm section parts are too exposed to play unless you are comfortable with it. You shouldn't be so accommodating - sounds like they are not being accommodating to you - insist on playing the instrument you want to play.

For the second run of one of them, I took a bari part in treble clef, pretended it was bass clef and subtracted 3 sharps from teh key signature. This put the section in E into G and the section in G into Bb. Who knows what you're supposed to do with accidentals that conflict with the key you're now in.

I have once, and only once tried to do it the other way - playing a bass-clef part on a bari by adding 3 sharps. Never again. The bass clef made me want to use bassoon fingerings, I got hopelessly confused, and the first accidental made by brain explode.
 

ellinas

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Athens, Greece
I always try to avoid playing with any environment (groups, bands, studios) that could be negative in any way. Sometimes if I don't feel right I feel I can't play well. I feel what you say here. Feeling challenged is a good thing, feeling that things are wrong is my worst enemy as a musician.
 

Tomasz

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Mount Erebus, Antarctica
Let's face it, everyone has "off" days where music is concerned - you, me and everyone in this cafe. Sometimes the problem is you and sometimes it's external factors causing the issues e.g. being distracted by trouble at home or stress at work etc.

Occasionally, it's the people you actually play with who are the problem. Time for a true story: - many years ago, in one particular band/orchestra/group I was in (which shall remain nameless) there was a player who wasn't in the sax section (am deliberately being vague here so there's no chance the person can ever be identified) and who always started chatting to the rest of his section when he had nothing to play during a few bars rest, or when the sax-section were rehearsing a fast & difficult passage. This happened during rehearsals - either when practising short sections of music or during actual full-band run-throughs of entire pieces of music. We in the sax-section never chatted when the rest of the band were playing, because it's poor etiquette and also distracting when people need to concentrate. His constant joking and laughing caused lots of friction with the sax-players because even though this guy was quietly taken to one side on a number of occasions and politely asked to remain silent when people were playing, he simply wouldn't put a sock in it and shut up! Suffice to say this caused quite a bit of resentment :mad: from the sax-section and created a tense atmosphere which was counterproductive. By definition, a band/group/orchestra is a form of team where everyone has to work together, so feelings of irritation are the last thing you need.

We all have our crosses to bear (mine is made of polished mahogany ;)whereas yours is probably solid beech), so up to a point I think you have to take the rough with the smooth.

However... if there's a repeating pattern of you not enjoying what you're doing which continues for week after week, maybe it's time for a rethink along the lines of "Why exactly am I doing this?" Music is, primarily, meant to feel rewarding on an intellectual and emotional level - both for the players and the audience.

Everyone has rehearsals where they drive away wondering why they bothered to turn up. Lord knows I have. With that said, if you have (say) 5 rehearsals in a row which make you unhappy, then clearly something's gone seriously wrong somewhere. What you actually do about it in such a a situation I'm not entirely sure. Your ultimate power is to vote with your feet and quit the band, though I'm not suggesting that's the best option.

I'm not fully familiar with your circumstances, and therefore can only comment in the most general terms. Regardless, I wish you luck and hope the problem is sorted out to your satisfaction in the near future. Good luck!
 
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Targa

Among the pigeons
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You've only been going to this for a few weeks and your not enjoying it, why waste your time.
From other things you write about you have plenty to occupy yourself with and enough fun in your life without it.
 

Colin the Bear

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People! Other people that is. It's never me. :rolleyes:

We can put up with personalities we don't like, if the music is fun. We can put up with the music, if the personalities are fun. Rarely do we find fun personalities who are fun to make music with.

I've played in groups where adding one more face causes the whole thing to erupt into squabbles, bad feelings and factions, causing the eventual split.

A tyrannical band leader, who every one defers to can be one solution. Starting your own group can be another. This is why BiaB is so popular.

I feel your pain Ron. You are an accomplished musician. Don't waste your time with anything that doesn't feel good, unless the money is good.
 

jimmylh

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Warner Robins, Georgia USA
I'm just hoping my band doesn't kick me out for playing out of tune and out of time. Band in a Box. :D:rolleyes:
 

Jeanette

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Cheshire UK
I drive 34 miles from work to home, then 23 miles from home to rehearsals, to sit there twiddling my thumbs for 30 minutes.

I understand your frustration but is it all the driving where the real issue lies. If you had driven for 15 mins after a relaxing afternoon in the garden would you have felt differently? If all the other frustrations hadn't happened would you have been more relaxed about it. I'm just trying to help you identify the real issue. It may not be the band but circumstances outside their control and to an extent yours. It seems to be a constant frustration to most players to find bands/groups to play with near to home.

Don't throw in the towel too soon, perhaps speak to the leader and let it be known in future you only want to play sax. Perhaps you are being too good trying to fit in and make it work for them when it clearly isn't working for you. :)

Jx
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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@kevgermany I think you're right. I wanted to play in a big band, but this group is somewhat dysfunctional and will be until it moves on from its legacy of being a dance band.
There are times when bands can never move on - even a new MD may not resolve the inherent long-term problems.
Been there, done that, moved elsewhere and definitely happier!

But well done for giving the bass a go.
IMHO if a member doesn't show up, then the band should just play without them. It's very good practice to learn to count, to learn how your piece goes on its own and to be confident that you are in the right place. It is very dangerous to learn where to fit around the (unreliable) players!
 

Colin the Bear

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Rhythm section can be programmed into band in a box. That'll make em sit up. "Band notice" You've missed rehearsals and practice so many times we've replaced you with software.>:)
 

BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
I have once, and only once tried to do it the other way - playing a bass-clef part on a bari by adding 3 sharps. Never again. The bass clef made me want to use bassoon fingerings, I got hopelessly confused, and the first accidental made by brain explode.
I've been known to play trombone parts on the bari. It's not too bad if you persevere with it. You can pencil in the accidentals until you get the hang of reading them. Glissandi aren't so easy though ;).
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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I've been known to play trombone parts on the bari. It's not too bad if you persevere with it. You can pencil in the accidentals until you get the hang of reading them.
I have done Cello in the same way on Bari.
I always say "you'll get the rhythm, but I can't guarantee the accidentals!"
 

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