Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

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Mikebmiller
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Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Mikebmiller » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:00 pm

I have gotten a group of about 20 really fine brass players to agree to come together this fall to do a few rehearsals and a concert at a local church. Now I have to come up with music for them to play. I have found a few web sites with some nice free public domain stuff, but a lot of what I want to play is not PD and I am looking at having to spend probably $500 to get the music.

Here's the question - as this group was my idea, should I be expected to buy all the music myself or would it be reasonable to ask members of the group to each contribute say $25-$50 towards the library? These folks are mostly band directors, so they are not rich, but then again, neither am I. But they do make a decent living and $50 would not be difficult for most of them to come up with.

I know plenty of amateur groups that ask members to make an annual contribution, including my community band.

We could also ask for donations at the concert, but that kind of kills the mood.

What is the best way to approach this without pissing people off?
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BGuttman
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by BGuttman » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:49 pm

Ask the members to provide arrangements. They can be returned after the concert, or if they want to keep it going maybe create a library. Give credit to donors in your library listings and in concert handouts.
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by AndrewMeronek » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:07 am

That's probably the toughest thing about starting a band, with finding gigs a close second. Libraries cost $$$.

I suggest you ask for help from the members to buy charts, and ask for donations at the concert and find any other way to raise money. Use money raised to repay everyone who spent money on charts before paying everyone equally. If you don't want to suck up the cost yourself, there isn't really any way around needing to raise money. Most band directors will be reasonably good musicians (and some are fantastic) and likely will not feel they should pay to play with no expectation of reimbursement.
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Mikebmiller
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Mikebmiller » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:28 pm

Well, everyone knows they are playing for free already. It's just a matter of how many are willing to pay to play. Even if we ask for contributions, we are unlikely to get more than a couple hundred bucks. I am guessing that a good crowd for this show might be 50 old people and maybe 20 students that these guys can convince to show up by giving them extra credit or something.
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lowcatjb
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by lowcatjb » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:53 am

Do you know anyone who arranges or composes? In my experience, just getting their music played is payment enough sometimes, especially if they're trying to get better-known. Plus you'd have music nobody else has (or at least you'd have it first! :good: )

Not saying they shouldn't be paid if possible, but just that it might be easier to work out a mutually beneficial deal.
Schlitz
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Schlitz » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:57 pm

Anybody looking over the stuff at bandmusicpdf.org . There’s some stuff there and on IMSLP to get you started.
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ghmerrill
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by ghmerrill » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:06 pm

I think that Bruce's suggestion is the easiest and simplest to implement. To start, at least, have each member buy one of the arrangements -- which he/she then owns and is loaning to the group. This is how we did things in a quintet I was in many years ago. We ended up having 30 arrangements just from that approach (5 players x 6 arrangements each). When we eventually broke up, people just took the arrangements they'd bought and walked away. Simple and clean. The only issue is agreeing on what arrangements to acquire. If you feel your role is "music director", then you have to either get agreement from the others to buy arrangements that you specify, or you have to compromise and all agree on what suggestions by members will be acquired and played.
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BrassedOn
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by BrassedOn » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:02 pm

Check library and with faculty at university. Some universities sell a community card. Or maybe a prof can help access.

Fun ar Christmas, Sammy Nestico joy at Christmas brass ensemble books. Get March size and busque for tips to feed you library.
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Mikebmiller
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Mikebmiller » Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:26 am

BrassedOn wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:02 pm
Check library and with faculty at university. Some universities sell a community card. Or maybe a prof can help access.

Fun ar Christmas, Sammy Nestico joy at Christmas brass ensemble books. Get March size and busque for tips to feed you library.
The only university in town with a music department is a women's college that basically has no brass players except for the occasional horn student. But thanks for the input.
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Driswood » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:35 pm

Check with the members and see what they own. You could come up with quite a few tunes without laying out ant cash. Then, if it works, have everyone chip in for music.
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StephenK
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by StephenK » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:13 am

You could get a large bundle of pdf arrangements from Big Shiny Brass to get you started. While it might not fit any requirements for new original work, and the pieces are generally short-ish (up to 4 minutes), they are not trivial to play well, and there's plenty for all manner of occasions. Watch out for bundles and special deals on them which happen from time to time. It's may be worth getting the whole lot as a bundle (>200 pieces).
http://bigshinybrass.com/brass-quintet-music/
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by AndrewMeronek » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:46 am

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
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BrassedOn
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by BrassedOn » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:28 am

[/quote]

The only university in town with a music department is a women's college that basically has no brass players except for the occasional horn student. But thanks for the input.
[/quote]

Good reason for a road trip! I'm sure you'd find company among your brassers. And there is always long distance communication options, rather than in person.
"Do less, better."
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Mikebmiller
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Mikebmiller » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:16 pm

Well if I have no connection to a university, how would I convince them to let me borrow music? And given that a large brass ensemble is not that common of a group, what would universities be likely to have anyway?
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BGuttman
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by BGuttman » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:27 pm

Large brass ensembles tend to be:

1. Brass Bands, which have special instrumentation and modern (if not necessarily listenable) literature. You may find some of this literature at a University where they have a Brass Band.

2. Descendants of Saxhorn bands. There is a lot of music for such bands in the American Memory site on Library of Congress. This is all free, but mostly dates back to the last half of the 19th Century.
Bruce Guttman
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BrassedOn
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by BrassedOn » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:27 am

Mikebmiller wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:16 pm
Well if I have no connection to a university, how would I convince them to let me borrow music? And given that a large brass ensemble is not that common of a group, what would universities be likely to have anyway?
I think my point is not just that free is good, and college libraries sometimes have crazy good things in their collections, but that such outreach has many benefits. Even if miles away, they can offer advice, connections to others with your interest, online resources, performance venue idea, etc. they may offer nothing or pawn you off on some grad student or other teacher or librarians. My former college did not have much for quintet, maybe 15 works, 211.01 but some 30 brass quartet 202.00 pieces, maybe from a single donor. Great for me as a bone player, sorry hornists. But worthwhile to ask and librarians are tops for info.

Shout out to librarians and music librarians. They are professional problem solvers. They are professionals at being open to all manner of requests. They know tons about stuff, and would know who to contact for specific topics. They ask for your school ID for checking stuff out, asking for info is free. A state college is a public resource. Ask if they have a community card. Might be the cost of a few charts.

And clearly you're charming enough to get 20 brass players in a room for your original scheme, so I’m sure you could get some response from pros and teachers in education. Part of being an educator is promoting music and performance, that’s been my experience. And a lot of educators are happy to give advice, makes them feel good.

I think your brass ensemble idea is great. And as a player, of course I’d expect you to ask if I have something in my personal library, but before you’ve asked me to pony up for new charts for a specialized instrumentation, I’d expect you’d done some homework. A starter set of charts for the first rehearsal, exploited free resources like online and libraries, and created some kind of cloud wish list of known works you desire and a way for them to add, does not have to be long. And a clear rule of who owns the library, the individuals who buy and retain ownership of individual works like the quintet idea in previous post, or the organization, so if you have to quit or move the library is intact.

I think people would be open to the idea of a chart purchase as dues, but they’d want a sense of a plan. Perhaps a committee is needed rather than have this all hang around the neck of one person.
"Do less, better."
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NateR
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by NateR » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:51 pm

Maybe it's been suggested already, but why not use this as an opportunity to do some arranging yourself? It keeps things cheap and simple. I helped put together a short lived dectet (we did four or five concerts) and I arranged 9 pieces for us to play all of varying lengths. All you have to do is just pay for a score.

It seems daunting at first, but the more you do it the better at it you get. As a MUCH added bonus- if you know your players you can tailor an arrangement to the group's strengths.

Give it a try! You might surprise yourself. I ended up having a lot of fun doing it, and now I have a small library of stuff I've arranged, which is a pretty cool feeling.

-Nate
Mikebmiller
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by Mikebmiller » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:31 am

That would be above my skill level. I don't even know how to use any of the notation programs. I have Musescore installed on my computer, but just inputting a few bars takes me forever. Did I mention that I am just a weekend warrior with no actual training in theory or any of that stuff?

But thanks for the suggestion.
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Re: Starting a Brass Ensemble Library

Post by lowcatjb » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:50 pm

Mikebmiller wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:31 am
That would be above my skill level. I don't even know how to use any of the notation programs. I have Musescore installed on my computer, but just inputting a few bars takes me forever. Did I mention that I am just a weekend warrior with no actual training in theory or any of that stuff?

But thanks for the suggestion.
Most of us started with no experience or training. I ran across some of my first stuff a little while ago, and...whew! I didn't really have much training or theory at that point, but I knew how to write a chord and that was about it. The stuff I wrote still more or less worked. And got better each time.

Some computer programs are easier than others, and most have a learning curve: the more you use them, the faster it gets.

Also don't forget, not so many years ago everything was hand written. It might require some trial readings and re-edits that way, but as long as it's legible it's totally acceptable.
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