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Concert Band Question

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by TorsoJones, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. TorsoJones


    Jan 7, 2012
    Hello, everyone. I've been recently asked by my high school's band director if I'd be interested in performing with them at a major competition this year. My school's Honors Band is phenomenal (leagues ahead of our orchestra program), and I was excited for the opportunity to perform with them, since I've heard them play some really complex pieces by the likes of Shostakovich, etc. The only thing I'm a bit worried about is that I'd be the only bassist playing with somewhere around 40-50 brass, wind, and percussion players, and competition regulations prohibit basses from being amplified. Now, I know that bass players in concert bands generally aren't heard when everyone in the band is playing ff, and I'm okay with that. I'm just wondering, for the parts at which a bass is really needed (I.E. accompanying woodwinds on quieter sections), is one bass enough to "hang" with the other instruments if I'm positioned in the right place? (I've heard being near the woodwinds makes it much easier to be heard than being near the low brass)

    Thanks for your advice!
  2. WallBass


    Feb 24, 2011
    My high school doesn't have an orchestra, so I've had to play in the wind ensemble. I play tuba in it now, but my freshman and sophomore year I played bass. I did usually sit near the tubas and didn't have many problems most of the time, but I found that it was best when I sat near the Bari saxes, bassoons or bass clarinets. On some of the louder sections I didn't even really bother trying to be heard, but if the band is playing more advanced pieces they will be more similar to an orchestra arrangement, so you'll probably be heard. Especially in an auditorium or other concert hall. Hope this helps.
  3. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    WI, USA
    I play in a college concert band, so I get your concerns. Here's the secret: it's not your job to worry about whether you're being heard; it's the conductor's. He needs to listen and make sure that the balance is correct, and instruct you and everyone else to playing louder or softer as required. If he's not doing that, then there's little you can do about it, and frankly, it's not your responsibility to worry about it.
  4. Swampman Cory

    Swampman Cory

    Nov 9, 2009
    Los Angeles / ex-Michigan
    Endorsing Artist: Reunion Blues, 64 Audio, Mesa Engineering
    I have played, as the only string player, at one competition with my high school's concert band (I stood with the tubas). Now I play in my college's Symphonic Band (I stand with the woodwinds). My volume has been fine, but my role is not to stand out.

    Side note: I don't think either ensemble needed/needs me, even having parts where I am the only bass voice playing.

    Do it, and enjoy!
  5. I have spent years in concert bands. You just have accept the fact that you will only be heard on one or two notes per concert if your lucky. And if you are really lucky, you'll have more than one actual bass parts to play besides the tuba (I've played a few others before but mainly tuba).