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Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 15:36:16 -0700
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Re: [CB] My band situation

>Here's the problem.  Our band program is very small.  Enrollment
>this year was about 30.  The band director grates on a lot of
>people's nerves, which is the main reason for the small group.  She
>talks incessantly, repeats herself, runs through 10 minutes of
>announcements, when our class period is 45 minutes long.
>Occasionally she spends almost an entire class period talking about
>things such as band officer elections and the band sponsored
>fundraiser dances.  I can tolerate this, but lots of other people
>won't.  Our instrumentation is very thin.  This year we have a large
>senior class graduating.  We're losing two of our five drummers this
>year, our snare and our best bass.  We're losing the field
>commander, our last mellophone (the other moved to Iowa midyear),
>our lead trumpet, and an alto and a bari sax.

I'd say it depends on which ensembles you play in.  For marching
band, and probably concert band, the bari sax typically just doubles
the tuba line (sometimes at the octave): in a small band, you
probably *do* need more of the harmony instruments once you have a
decent tuba player.  In marching band and concert band, the tenor sax
timbre isn't very prominent, and I doubt anyone would even notice if
you played the tenor parts on bari.  The practice in transposition
would be good too.

For jazz band, both tenor and bari are important parts: the tenor
parts might be fairly challenging to play on bari, but would leave
the bari part uncovered (unless you have a bass trombone player
already covering the low end).

If you really want to be heard, though, take up trombone.  Do you
ever hear the conductor say "the trombones aren't loud enough?"  (If
so, is the conductor deaf?)  With the trumpets and sousaphones, the
trombones carry most of the important parts in marching band music
(and probably have more interesting parts in concert band than the
tenor sax).  My high school band fielded around 75 players, but our
trombone section was decimated during football/marching season
because most of the trombone players were also football players (and
couldn't do both).  My director actually talked me into learning
trombone the summer between my junior and senior years, borrowing the
schools old bass bone (instead of being one of the two bari sax
players during marching season).  Then we moved, before starting my
senior year...  In college, I played trombone in a small pep band,
with about 10 other band members.  I'm certain I was more effective
as one of three trombone players, than as one of three clarinets
(along with one flute, a drummer, a sousaphone, a French horn, and
the rest trumpets).  I did not find that playing trombone interfered
with playing bassoon, clarinet, sax or flute, all of which I did in
other ensembles those years.

In summary, pick whichever one interests you most.  It sounds like
you've had enough experience on the ramshackle tenor: tell her you'll
play tenor if it is replaced or refurbished, otherwise you'll play
[fill in your interest here].

Best of luck!



Grant Green        
Professional Fool  ->

From: "Jean Adler"
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 20:26:31 -0500
Subject: [CB] i agree

The band situation doesn't sound like a lot of fun.  With schools pressed
for funds music usually takes a back seat to everything else.  I think you
mentioned having to pay to repair the bari sax.  That is too much to ask any
student.  I think taking up the trombone is a great idea.  They can be
picked up for a song.  And what is a trombone anyway, but some tubing and a
mouthpiece.  I think we have 3 of them at our house and no one plays it.
Long story as to why we have them.  Anyway, it is something to think about.
And it is a versatile instrument.  What group doesn't use it.  As a matter
of fact if I were to start my music career over it is the instrument I would
pick.  In the 1960's little girls were steered towards the "girly"
instrument, namely the flute and clarinet.  One question for you and it may
be none of my business.  I believe you mentioned you go to a private school.
Are the public schools bad and/or unsafe where you live?  Do you have other
opportunities to play besides school?  I grew up in a small town and our
band was okay.  But for advanced students such as myself if I hadn't had the
chance to go to all-state band and the occasional summer camp I think I
would have died of boredom.

Good luck in whatever you decide.



From: "Peter Hurd"
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 11:54:51 -0700
Subject: [CB] Ebay 1433134792

Dear Grant and fellow bass-o-philes,
       Can anyone tell me (soon!) whether the Selmer "contrabass" clarinet listed on Ebay (#1433134792) is a EEb contrabass or a BBb contrabass ?
Thanks , Peter

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