Playing in a band

Nick Cook

Wokingham, Berks, UK
I'm finally taking the plunge and going along to try a couple of bands this week.

Thursday I'm going along to the Windsor Community Orchestra for a look see. They say they're for musicians under grade 5 standard, and I had a very nice e-mail from the lady who runs it.

Friday it's the Bagshot Band. They do an hour's session for beginners followed by a couple of hours with the main band. They've suggested I go along to the beginners section ansd stay for a listen to the main band.

I'm really looking forward to these!!!
Great news, you'll have a load of fun. This is what we spend all those hours practicing for. Get stuck in and enjoy it,

Hi Nick, great, i too look forward every week to playing in my band, 12-14 piece sax band but a few weeks back i went along to the NRWO, New Redbridge wind orchestra, it was great but feel i need to be a tad better before joing full time. Slob was the instigator of this so thanks.
Anyway Nick, will you be playing alto or tenor? How's the tenor going? Phil
Hi Phil,

I'll be taking the Tenor. The Bagshot one wanted me to take that anyway - said they had loads of Altos.

I'm really enjoying playing the Sakkuso. It sounds great, and the grade 3 tunes include John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, so I'm going out buying all their CDs!!!!

In that case I'll be seeing you Friday evening :)

We have 2 tenors, multiple altos and little of anything else in the beginners band. (The grey-haired incompetent with a walstein tenor is me.)

Parking can be a bit of a sod so I suggest aiming to be about 10 minutes early. PM me if you'd like suggestions of where parking is possible, or any other background info.

Good luck Nick, i'm doing my grade three in June, shame i'm not down your way, i prefer it there to here, as you now i have my family in Camberley, so know Bagshot well. Enjoy the experience, let us know how you get on, Phil
Hi Phil, will do.

I've just started on my grade 3 tunes and scales - hoping to do it in November.
bloody scales, the Lydian in D is weird!! After this one i will wait until next year to do grade 4. ( that is if i pass ?)
bloody scales, the Lydian in D is weird!! After this one i will wait until next year to do grade 4. ( that is if i pass ?)

It's the Chromatic on G I'm have trouble with - getting all those flats in the right order - particularly on the way down!!!

By the way - what tunes are you doing? I'm enjoying Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and have just started on Blue Train. I've been been out buying Cds with the tunes on!!
Hi Nick, i'm doing Playing in the Yard, Sonny Rollins. Mercy Mercy Mercy, Joe Zawinul. ( it's great to solo on that one ) and All is well by Tim Whitehead. The chromatic will come, i do have a sticky point though when i'm coming back down i miss out C natural for some reason, still, i'll have it nailed before the exam. I hope!! :w00t:
I've just downloaded Sonny Rollins Next Album with Playing in the Yard on it. I've left my mp3 player at home though, so I'm hoping it'll play on my phone.

I also bought the CD Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by Cannonball Adderley. It's a live recording and the title track is brilliant on it!!
I had a little practise at playing sitting down last night as I always play standing up. I didn't like it!!! I suppose I will be playing sitting down in bands. Hope I get on ok!!
You become more used to it, although I still find it less comfortable, and rather restricted.

Experiment to find a crook angle (and mouthpice rotation) that feels right, it may be rather different from standing up.
I found that too Nick, but you do get used to it. We are really crammed in where i play and as jadoube says,( scary avatar jadoube by the way ) you need to find the best position. I find i have to twist my crook and mouthpiece right round and end playing with head tilted to the right. we have 5 tenors and 1 baritone in the back row with space for just 4 people!! work that one out. Phil :w00t:
Great move Nick, joining a band.
I started with a 'learning band' a few months ago. Mostly saxes, with a trombone, two or three trumpets, two guitars and a drummer. As a novice, I was a bit worried, but as 2nd Tenor, along with two others, I can get away with losing my place, just playing the easy bits, and a few, no lots, of bum notes! But as its mainly for beginners, no problem! They play mostly 'swing', and some of it is pretty fast. Lately I have been skiving by just practising the easy ballads, and as I am finding the fast passages hard to play in the band I am now concentrating on the faster stuff, i.e. John O'Neill's, and Guest Spot Jazz, Fly me to the Moon is a particularly fast version. Hard work, but worth it when you finally master it. Also, while practising at home, I like to 'take the tune for a walk' as they say, Lester Young style, just using the music as a guide, but in a band you have to play note perfect, or you'll be out of synch with the rest of the band. Something else I find difficult.
Any of this ring a bell with you. Good luck with it, it's well worth the experience, as when it all comes together it's great!!

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