It happens every time

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tbdana
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It happens every time

Post by tbdana »

Sure enough. We stop to address an issue, and the leader/conductor says, "Okay, let's start at bar 152," or some such. And then, no matter how much time was given or how many times bar 152 was announced, someone will pipe up in the middle of the count-off, and ask, "Where?"

Every.

Damned.

Time.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Posaunus »

100%
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Re: It happens every time

Post by AtomicClock »

The leader speaks too softly.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by tbdana »

AtomicClock wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2024 2:51 pm The leader speaks too softly.
Or it's something that could happen to anyone who wasn't paying attention. :D
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Re: It happens every time

Post by AtomicClock »

I'm sorry. What?
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Bach5G »

Maybe it’s my hearing going but there’s always someone talking, coughing, sneezing, dropping their bow etc.
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Re: It happens every time

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162?
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Re: It happens every time

Post by JohnL »

The gentleman who sits next to me in one band is somewhat hard of hearing. One of my responsibilities is to make sure he knows where we're starting. The conductor is aware of the situation and makes allowances for it.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by officermayo »

JohnL wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2024 5:46 pm The gentleman who sits next to me in one band is somewhat hard of hearing. One of my responsibilities is to make sure he knows where we're starting. The conductor is aware of the situation and makes allowances for it.
My 3rd and 4th bones in big band are both deaf. Not only do they constantly say, "Huh? What'd he say?", but they're ALWAYS out of tune. As founding members of a 35 year old community group, they cannot be shown the door, therefore we all suffer.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by hyperbolica »

You know, this happens to me, and I'm one of the most diligent listeners there is. It happens usually because the percussionists are constantly talking louder than the conductor, and of course they are much closer. And because we're in the back row, often the conductor doesn't even see our raised hands. Or miss us when we miss our entrance, or when she cuts the orchestra off right before we would have come in.

Not that I'm bitter about not being noticed. Oh, yeah, I forgot. I stopped playing with that group for a reason.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by harrisonreed »

tbdana wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2024 4:13 pm
That is really, really funny
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Re: It happens every time

Post by AndrewMeronek »

I feel this pain.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Lastbone »

And the light is always in someone's eyes. And it's too dark in the back row...
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Re: It happens every time

Post by mgladdish »

I've noticed it gets more common the older the musician. I've had the pleasure of playing with some of the best in the business who are now in their eighties. It's stunning they're still here, never mind playing so well at that age, but it takes about 6 attempts to get them to start from a specific bar number.

And don't get me started on the talking, never mind widdling, between stopping and trying something again. Even if the chat's about something else in someone else's part, shut the f' up and listen, it may well affect how you play your part. If nothing else, talking, or even worse playing, over the top of others is astonishingly rude. I don't know any other business where this is tolerated.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by boneagain »

hyperbolica wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2024 6:54 pm You know, this happens to me, and I'm one of the most diligent listeners there is. It happens usually because the percussionists are constantly talking louder than the conductor, and of course they are much closer. And because we're in the back row, often the conductor doesn't even see our raised hands. Or miss us when we miss our entrance, or when she cuts the orchestra off right before we would have come in.

Not that I'm bitter about not being noticed. Oh, yeah, I forgot. I stopped playing with that group for a reason.
... and then the conductor says:

Trombones... you're too loud there!!
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Re: It happens every time

Post by blast »

mgladdish wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 4:26 am I've noticed it gets more common the older the musician. I've had the pleasure of playing with some of the best in the business who are now in their eighties. It's stunning they're still here, never mind playing so well at that age, but it takes about 6 attempts to get them to start from a specific bar number.

And don't get me started on the talking, never mind widdling, between stopping and trying something again. Even if the chat's about something else in someone else's part, shut the f' up and listen, it may well affect how you play your part. If nothing else, talking, or even worse playing, over the top of others is astonishingly rude. I don't know any other business where this is tolerated.
It's our string section that talks and plays whilst the conductor is speaking. We have to ask where we are going from quite often.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Fidbone »

……..And then thee are the rude gits that can’t leave their cell phones alone during rehearsal 😬😡
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Re: It happens every time

Post by blast »

Fidbone wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 6:07 am ……..And then thee are the rude gits that can’t leave their cell phones alone during rehearsal 😬😡
You don't do a lot of opera Chris😂😂😂
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Fidbone »

blast wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 6:11 am
Fidbone wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 6:07 am ……..And then thee are the rude gits that can’t leave their cell phones alone during rehearsal 😬😡
You don't do a lot of opera Chris😂😂😂
Dorset Opera, but I prefer to play the trombone :mrgreen: :clever:
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

mgladdish wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 4:26 am I've noticed it gets more common the older the musician. I've had the pleasure of playing with some of the best in the business who are now in their eighties. It's stunning they're still here, never mind playing so well at that age, but it takes about 6 attempts to get them to start from a specific bar number.
True, and as an old person myself I can't deny the issues about both hearing, listening, and playing in tune. But it's not confined to old people or to the percussion or back row. Often in the (quite good) band I'm playing in now, it's the front row woodwinds who are chattering. Then there are the younger people (and not so young people) who sit with their phones accessible so they can monitor their email, check on their children, or watch the ongoing Cubs game. But yeah, I finally left one band I'd played on and off with for many years because the intonation, organization, and level of music to which it had sunk became just intolerable. If you get to the point where you can say "I was in a much better musical group in 7th grade," you need to make a change.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by blap73 »

hyperbolica wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2024 6:54 pm ... It happens usually because the percussionists are constantly talking louder than the conductor, and of course they are much closer. And because we're in the back row, often the conductor doesn't even see our raised hands.
+1 on that!
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Re: It happens every time

Post by stewbones43 »

One of the big bands I play with has 2 sources of annoyance!
The 2 elderly tenor sax players are both deaf and both talk to each other as soon as the MD stops the band, consequently they miss the instruction and information about the restart but also many players around them do as well. Added to that, even though the MD has supplied us with a set list in rehearsal order, one of the tenor sax players will spend time going through his pad looking for the next number and then announce that he hasn't got that one even though we played it the week before. He will then search through his pad again and still not find it while the rest of the band waits. Eventually someone will take his pad of music and find the "lost" number within a few seconds!

The other source of general annoyance is the elderly trumpet player who arrives early, sets up and then proceed to warm up for 10 minutes playing at fff in the octave above where normal trumpet players consider too high! The suggestion to use a practice mute is dismissed because it's not the same as playing normally.

I sometimes wonder what I do that annoys my fellow players.

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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

stewbones43 wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 6:03 am I sometimes wonder what I do that annoys my fellow players.
There are a couple of possible answers to that question. First, it may be that you're already doing those same things, but just don't remember. Second, if you're not doing that now, you're only a short time away. :lol:

I concede that you older guys (I turn 77 today) can be pretty irritating. :roll: ;)
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Bach5G »

Sometimes I think to myself that if you look around the room and there isn’t at least one person who’s getting on everybody’s nerves, you’re probably that person.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Posaunus »

:|
ghmerrill wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 9:01 am I concede that you older guys (I turn 77 today) can be pretty irritating.

Happy birthday Gary! :roll:
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Bach5G »

Posaunus wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 10:39 am :|
ghmerrill wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 9:01 am I concede that you older guys (I turn 77 today) can be pretty irritating.

Happy birthday Gary! :roll:
Happy Birthday!
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Re: It happens every time

Post by tbdana »

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Re: It happens every time

Post by TomInME »

stewbones43 wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 6:03 am The other source of general annoyance is the elderly trumpet player who arrives early, sets up and then proceed to warm up for 10 minutes playing at fff in the octave above where normal trumpet players consider too high! The suggestion to use a practice mute is dismissed because it's not the same as playing normally.
We had the same (probably tougher to warm up at that age) but he wasn't an annoyance because he could still kill it at age 82. I really had to work to keep up with him on the shout choruses, and he still had the range. (RIP John Foss - we still miss you, man). The rest of the section kind of "managed" where/when he would play, but he still did the vast majority of the heavy lifting and they were thankful for it.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by AtomicClock »

stewbones43 wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 6:03 am The other source of general annoyance is the elderly trumpet player who arrives early, sets up and then proceed to warm up for 10 minutes playing at fff in the octave above where normal trumpet players consider too high!
I've done similar. If you live in an apartment (or retirement home?) and practice exclusively with a mute, you really cherish those few minutes with an open horn.
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Post by TomInME »

Back to the original post: the director is likely trying to save rehearsal time by moving too fast and thereby wasting time.
Any restart requires repeating the location at least once if not twice and even asking, "everybody got it?" before kicking off again. A good director would also look at all the players too. They may also wait for good musicians who noticed something and need a few seconds to mark it or ask the lead player about it or pass it along to the rest of the section.

If you're just running stuff, don't stop and restart - treat it like a performance.
If you're stopping then accomplish something while you're stopped.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by tbdana »

stewbones43 wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 6:03 am The other source of general annoyance is the elderly trumpet player who arrives early, sets up and then proceed to warm up for 10 minutes playing at fff in the octave above where normal trumpet players consider too high! The suggestion to use a practice mute is dismissed because it's not the same as playing normally.
Well, as you get old, it does take more time and effort to warm up. I'm a trombone player not a trumpet player, but I show up to rehearsals a half hour early (an hour to gigs) and warm up for a good 20 minutes. I start with long tones going down to pedal C. Then I do scales and arpeggios going up a half-step after each one until I get up to a double-Bb. Then I do flexibility exercises. Then I play excerpts, patterns and melodies to make sure I'm fully warmed and am in a good place to play the actual music.

Perhaps the only difference between me and the annoying trumpet player is that I don't do it fortissimo. I do it mezzo-piano to mezzo-forte.

If that annoys people, tough titties. It takes me a while to get truly warm, and I feel I have to play the entire horn, middle to bottom and bottom to top as well as limbering up, to get there. So I'm usually the first one at the rehearsal. And no, I don't use a practice mute because -- guess what -- it's not the same as playing normally.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by Bach5G »

I like to arrive early, warm up, and then drink my coffee outside while late arrivals blast away at fff.

I don’t mind loud music but the cacophony during the 5 minutes prior to the start of rehearsal is pretty ridiculous.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

tbdana wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 2:30 pm I show up to rehearsals a half hour early (an hour to gigs) and warm up for a good 20 minutes.
It takes me at least that much time to hobble into the rehearsal location and unpack and set up my horn, stand, mutes, and music. In terms of warming up, if I can hit the double valve C natural on a first try, then I'm good.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by TomInME »

Bach5G wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 9:25 am Sometimes I think to myself that if you look around the room and there isn’t at least one person who’s getting on everybody’s nerves, you’re probably that person.
We are all that person.
Play with the same people long enough and it takes an extra effort to see past everyone's quirks. It helps to intentionally look at the end result periodically to remind yourself that it's still worth it, and to make sure you're holding up your end despite your own quirks.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

TomInME wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 6:01 pm It helps to intentionally look at the end result periodically to remind yourself that it's still worth it, and to make sure you're holding up your end despite your own quirks.
This is where it's critical to have conductors/directors who have a vision of performance that they want to achieve and will work (and be demanding) with the group to achieve it. At the other end of the spectrum are those who just "run through" each piece, say everything is great, and to schedule performances that can never rise above the level of embarrassing. For groups like community bands and such, I see this as the difference between a musical/performance organization that has standards and goals vs. one which is primarily a social organization which meets regularly to "play through" pieces and then "perform" at events. But then, it's not just the conductors who are the issue, but the goals and commitment of the ensemble members to pursue those goals.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by TomInME »

Very true. The high school mentality of learning your part over the course of many run throughs stays with some players. The flip side of that is having inadequate rehearsal time for really fine-tuning stuff.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by TomInME »

The social-vs-professional yin/yang runs through mang groups also. I try to bring my "A" game regardless of what I might expect from others - it helps to set the level.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

TomInME wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:05 pm The high school mentality of learning your part over the course of many run throughs stays with some players.
My high school experience was quite different from learning via run-throughs. I was lucky enough to have this guy as my band director (and instrumental music instructor) for three years (between his MA from Eastman and his moving on to Ohio State):

https://music.osu.edu/news/robert-lebla ... essor-tuba

https://windsongpress.com/jacobs/written/leblanc.pdf

Unfortunately, during that time I was a saxophone player and couldn't benefit from his knowledge and teaching of brass, but I still feel that most of what I know about instrumental music and performance, I learned from him. And when I returned to playing in my 40s, it was the tuba I started with -- largely from his inspiration.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

TomInME wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:13 pm The social-vs-professional yin/yang runs through mang groups also.
I don't see it as social-vs-professional, but as social-vs-musical. You don't need to be a professional to want to focus on the quality of your music instead of on your social relationships.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by tbdana »

ghmerrill wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:22 pm
TomInME wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:13 pm The social-vs-professional yin/yang runs through mang groups also.
I don't see it as social-vs-professional, but as social-vs-musical. You don't need to be a professional to want to focus on the quality of your music instead of on your social relationships.
I'm intrigued by the social vs professional thing.

When I first started playing again a little over a year ago, I played in community groups. And even now when I'm playing professionally again, I still play in some community groups occasionally. I am blown away by the vast chasm between them.

On the community band/orchestra side, I've seen those who "run through" pieces and don't really work on them, and I've seen those who woodshed until they get the best performance they can. Obviously, I prefer the latter, though the pursuit of musicality by those not highly skilled can be quite tedious.

On the professional side, it's already musical, and usually near perfect from the get-go. Those groups don't need to do anything but "run through" pieces before performing them, and the performances are amazing. (BTW, as to the OP, with pros there's no messing around and people pay attention, while that's not so much the case in community groups.)

So I've been wondering about how community groups can sound more professional. I'd love to hear what others' thoughts are on that. To me, the critical differences between amateurs and pros, other than technical ability, are:

1. Time (pros always have great time and the groups are super tight)
2. Intonation (pros play in tune, amateurs don't)
3. Energy (the energy of pro playing is palpable and tightly focused, and is completely lacking in amateur groups)
4. Interpretation (pros don't have to be told how to play things, they already know, and they know not to ask but know how to follow a lead/principal player or a conductor's baton to perfection)

It seems to me that these four things don't have to be related to technical ability, and arise from simply being aware and paying attention rather than being good, and are things anyone can learn to do in pretty short order (with the possible exception of the fourth one). If amateur groups developed time, intonation and energy, they could sound almost professional. I feel like music is fun, and good is way more fun than bad, so I'm flummoxed about why community groups don't prioritize these three or four areas. The only thing I can think of is that the conductors of community groups are usually educators or amateurs and tend to treat community bands/orchestras like school groups, and have never experienced what it's like playing professionally.

I sometimes wonder if I sat some of these community players in the middle of a professional group, would the light bulb go on the moment they experience the difference, or would these things sail right over their heads? Is time, intonation, energy and interpretation something you have to be professional to do? Seems like anyone can learn those things if they're just made aware of them, but that may be wishful thinking. But if they did learn them, hoo boy! Look out! :)
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

tbdana wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 8:03 pm The only thing I can think of is that the conductors of community groups are usually educators or amateurs and tend to treat community bands/orchestras like school groups, and have never experienced what it's like playing professionally.
Yes, this is pretty much true -- though I have experienced community band conductors who are not in this mold. On the other hand, you would probably view THEM as "professionals." Examples include music faculty members from local universities or one excellent conductor who was a middle school music instructor (after his stint in a Navy band), but continued to play professionally part time as well. Another from the local university group (and a DMA of course) was pretty much of a dud and didn't make much of an attempt to conform to any standards or improve the band. Yet another excellent one was the music director in a local high-end private middle school (MA in music). He ran a New Horizons band for years (which was not to my taste, but he did his best). I also played for a couple of summers in a fairly large community band in Richmond Heights, MO when I was in college. The conductor was a faculty member from Washington University. It was a good band.

tbdana wrote: I sometimes wonder if I sat some of these community players in the middle of a professional group, would the light bulb go on the moment they experience the difference, or would these things sail right over their heads?
In my experience, for many people in such a situation, it would sail. They're not there for the music per se. They're there for the social experience. However, in a couple of community bands I've played in, there were professionals playing in the band: in one case a university psychologist who was an excellent tuba player and played professionally in the community as well -- but he tended to come and go in the community bands. :| In another case (another tuba player), his main source of income is from music performance and he just liked playing in the community band (conducted by the previously mentioned ex-Navy ex-middle school instructor).
tbdana wrote: Is time, intonation, energy and interpretation something you have to be professional to do?
You know better. :lol: The taking of money for blowing into a tube or pounding on a drum doesn't magically change your understanding or skill. It just means that you get paid for that understanding and skill.
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Re: It happens every time

Post by timothy42b »

tbdana wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 8:03 pm

I'm intrigued by the social vs professional thing.

So I've been wondering about how community groups can sound more professional. I'd love to hear what others' thoughts are on that. To me, the critical differences between amateurs and pros, other than technical ability, are:

1. Time (pros always have great time and the groups are super tight)
2. Intonation (pros play in tune, amateurs don't)
3. Energy (the energy of pro playing is palpable and tightly focused, and is completely lacking in amateur groups)
4. Interpretation (pros don't have to be told how to play things, they already know, and they know not to ask but know how to follow a lead/principal player or a conductor's baton to perfection)

It seems to me that these four things don't have to be related to technical ability, and arise from simply being aware and paying attention rather than being good,
I'd add dynamics. For many amateur groups those markings are regarded as a suggestion, if noticed at all, leading to an arms race and tinnitus.

It depends a lot on whether the conductor will address it, forcefully and constantly. I've played for some who seem to have given up on this point, and I guess I can sympathize.
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ghmerrill
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Re: It happens every time

Post by ghmerrill »

timothy42b wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 10:43 am
I'd add dynamics.
Definitely.
It depends a lot on whether the conductor will address it, forcefully and constantly. I've played for some who seem to have given up on this point, and I guess I can sympathize.
Aye, there's the rub.

This (and other issues of musical excellency -- or even adequacy -- or even just attempted adequacy) become impossible in community bands that have an "open admissions" policy ("All are welcome," or some such). Again, such a policy bespeaks the social nature of the organization. Not that such organizations are bad -- as refuges of sorts for people who want to "participate" in music and mingle with others having similar goals. But there's nowhere to go from there. I've fought that battle (as a board member and author of bylaws) and lost, and don't play with that organization any longer. Too bad. It used to be great. The classic immediate tell of such a "club" is the tuning note(s) at the beginning of rehearsal. Everyone sits dutifully and plays their notes (while many stare at a tuner), the result sounds like a pipe organ with bird nests and rats living in the pipes, and then rehearsal of the first piece begins. If the charter of the organization (and approach by the conductor) allows for this, then that's the way it is.
Gary Merrill
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