The frustrations of a 'tweener

Spin your yarns here.
Post Reply
Mikebmiller
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:13 am

The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by Mikebmiller » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:44 pm

I'm sure there are others out there like me who fall into what I call the "'tweener" category of trombone player (or other musician). You are a serious player, but don't have a degree or do it for a living. For me, this can get very frustrating as a watch my local symphony bring sub after sub in from out of town to cover something I could play quite well. I have managed to get to play 2 Christmas concerts with them, but never get called for anything else. On the other end of the spectrum, I get tired as hell of playing in a community band where 2/3 of the people don't touch their horns more than once a week and the brass section is mediocre at best. The band is fun, but spending 2-3 months practicing the same stuff over and over (and over) leads to fast burnout, especially when it is music I could play in no more than 2 rehearsals. We can't play anything with serious brass parts, as we don't have the players that can hack it. So we end up with the same stuff year after year. I will say that our new director is trying hard to play some more challenging stuff, but it is hard when you have only 1 decent French Horn and 0 trumpets that really have the chops to play lead.

Fortunately, I do have a few good outlets for playing at a higher level. Our local big band is quite good and once or twice a year I get to do shows with the local Little Theatre company, which has been fun. I also have a brass quintet that I lead, but it seems that lately all we have done is church services and graduations. Even the quintet is a bit frustrating, as anytime I try to get those guys to play something hard, they basically say we don't have enough time to practice it.

So how many other 'tweeners are out there? Let's hear your stories.
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 546
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by BGuttman » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:18 pm

I guess I'm a little luckier than you are. Here in New England playing music is very popular and there are bands, orchestras, and dance bands of all kinds of levels.

Our local pro orchestra is a little beyond my ability (they go under the name "Boston Symphony" and have 3 world class players in the trombone chairs) but I managed to land in an orchestra that does challenge me from time to time.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
norbie2018
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:10 am

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by norbie2018 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:56 pm

I play in our local community band and play the occasional paying gig. Community Band has been fun and a challenge as I have been working on the bass trombone book; that range is challenging to me. I've been enjoying music minus 1, working up solos and playing with the brass ensemble CDs. I've also just started playing the rochuts with the accompaniment CD. I'm planning a recital with my wife (she's a singer) eventually at a local church. So I find ways to keep myself busy in a very gratifying way.
Fruitysloth
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by Fruitysloth » Tue May 08, 2018 11:07 pm

I play fairly regularly in my local symphony, and don't have a degree yet, so I think I classify as a tweener right now? I'm not sure if it's by the recommendation of my trombone professor or not, but I seem to be at the top of the sub list, and I'm not quite sure how. I'm always thankful for the opportunity, I'm just not sure how I ended up there!
Trombone Forum User "Jhungate96"
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 163
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by JohnL » Wed May 09, 2018 11:14 am

Fruitysloth wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:07 pm
I'm always thankful for the opportunity, I'm just not sure how I ended up there!
The first few times might well have been on the recommendation of your prof, but they have to be happy with what they hear or they would not keep calling.
Fruitysloth
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by Fruitysloth » Wed May 09, 2018 1:20 pm

JohnL wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 11:14 am
Fruitysloth wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:07 pm
I'm always thankful for the opportunity, I'm just not sure how I ended up there!
The first few times might well have been on the recommendation of your prof, but they have to be happy with what they hear or they would not keep calling.
I'm glad they think so! That's a motivating notion!
Trombone Forum User "Jhungate96"
timothy42b
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by timothy42b » Thu May 10, 2018 11:18 am

JohnL wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 11:14 am
Fruitysloth wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:07 pm
I'm always thankful for the opportunity, I'm just not sure how I ended up there!
The first few times might well have been on the recommendation of your prof, but they have to be happy with what they hear or they would not keep calling.
No way it's just your playing.

Well, of course your playing must be at a good standard. But it takes more than that to get called consistently. You have to be decent to work with too.

Sometimes that even overshadows the playing.
User avatar
BaritoneJack
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by BaritoneJack » Wed May 30, 2018 7:42 pm

Wow! Some of the above really brings home just how fortunate we are in England. Where I live, there are about forty bands, ranging from top-level pro to entry-level bands, within about 20 miles!
walldaja
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:51 pm

Re: The frustrations of a 'tweener

Post by walldaja » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:28 pm

It really depends on the musicians in your area. I played in a nearby community band because the was no opportunity in the community I lived in. The biggest issue were the snobish group of folks who ran the group, you couldn't even talk to them. One of the trombones in this group even played in a quintet with me, a couple times we tried some duets that failed because his counting and reading was so poor. If I came to watch the band he was in he wouldn't even acknowledge me. After a couple times I quit going to hear them. Funny thing, the symphony in a nearby major city had very approachable players. If I ran into them they were great to talk to to include challenges the performance held or tips.

I added opportunities by playing in a civic theatre pit, again in the same city I played in the community band in. I was called once by the CT in the city I lived in three days before the first show with no scheduled rehearsals before opening. I politely declined.

I moved to a new city and the opportunities are fantastic.

Most musicians I know are great to be around and treat you well. The stinkers, in my opinion, are the local small town heros who never ventured away from there little world.
Post Reply

Return to “Tangents”