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I have hit an important crossroads

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Mixmasta J, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. Mixmasta J

    Mixmasta J

    Dec 4, 2004
    hi all, I am at a cross roads in my life and I need the advice of the talkbass community.

    I am 17, and a junior in highschool. I am a music major, and playing jazz is my passion. That aside, I am am passionate about wind bands and orchestral music as well.

    Well here is my dilemna: I know that when I go to college I will have to perform on an instrument to be my "major instrument" and I cannot decide. My first instrument was the trombone which I have been playing since the 4th grade, and I have become quite fond of. This has branched me out into playing euphonium, tuba and french horn. They are very enjoyable for me, and I would never give up my brass playing for anything.

    At the same time, I love playing bass much more than brass. I am an electric and upright player, and I have been playing both for about 3 years now going onto 4 in the Spring. I have filled in on local jazz gigs for jazz combos and I play in my school bandas well. Although more a jazz player, I have played some orchestral styles and in some orchestras but not a lot. My bowing is probably nothing above average.

    So the Question is what do I choose? I love bass more than brass instruments, but I think I am better at trombone than bass. I have made All county bands in jazz on bass and trombone and all county band and orchestra on trombone and bass respectively (not to brag or anything, I'm just putting it out there). Still I feel like if I major on bass, I am going to be lightyears behind someone who started at a young age.

    I'm sorry if any of that made me seem arrogant, but I just need some help. Please any input would be helpful, I need some advice and I trust this community very much. :confused:

    - Joe
  2. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Go with what you love.
  3. andrewc4000

    andrewc4000 Guest

    Oct 10, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    if you're looking to get into an orchestral job, go with horn, since there are fewer of them than trombonists and more chances to get a job. if for jazz, i'd say bass or trombone to play in big bands
  4. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Bass of course!!

    No, I agree with what andrew said. Go with what you truly love!

    I'm jealous you get to study DB though. What a GREAT instrument. I quit playing stand up in 8th grade *cough cough over 35 years ago cough cough* and regret it vry much.

    But yeah. ya gotta go with your heart on this one.

    I think orchestra guys get laid
  5. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Ha, I wish.
  6. sibass89


    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
  7. Chrix


    Apr 9, 2004
    In my experience, most if not all Universities you go to will let you audition on all the instruments you play, as well as play all the instruments in different ensembles, if your work load can take it, of course. If I were you, go ahead and audition on trombone and bass. If you make one and not the other, you can still take lessons on both. And just because you think you might be light years behind others, doesn't mean you couldn't move much faster. Many musicians that I've known that start out weaker end much stronger because they tend to work harder.

    And just because you start as a trombone major doesn't mean you can't end as a bass major. I've known quite a few people to change instruments mid-stream.

    Either way, if you love both instruments, keep playing both instruments. There are tons of great instrumentalists that play other instruments (i.e. Avashai Cohen, Marcus Miller, etc...).
  8. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    You know all those jokes about how trombone players can't get gigs and nobody ever needs one? There's a grain of truth to those...

    If you love jazz then bass is a better money instrument and should be your main focus. If you wanted to play in orchestras or military bands then brass is good but trombone is not the easiest brass instrument for getting jobs, either.
  9. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    My father may be an exception to the rule, but as a professional musician for 50 some odd years, he never had trouble getting gigs as a trombonist.

    That being said.........go with what you love....and by the way, who ever said you could only play one instrument. I gig with this one guy that play keys, guitar, bass, drums, and sings (not all at the same time :) )and is very proficient at all.

    Jusy some food for thought.

    --Paul Haley
  10. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Follow your muse always. Play the instrument that speaks to you loudest. If you honor that you can't loose. There will always be someone better and someone worse. That's not a decision made in the head, it's made in the heart with the guidance of your gut.

    Besides, did you post this question on "Talktrombone"? I think you know what you want. Just do it and ignore the fear.
  11. Mixmasta J

    Mixmasta J

    Dec 4, 2004
    Thanks for all of the input I really appreciate it

    has anybody ever had this happend to them before?
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Sure. I was a trumpet player for years, majored in it in college, and considered it to be my instrument. But I also started playing bass when I was just entering my teens, and continued to gig on it, until I finally realized that I was a bassist. I also continued to accept guitar gigs well into my early twenties, and made a fair amount of money doing both guitar and bass. But the the bass always spoke loudest to me, so I canned everything but the bass and never looked back.

    I think it's a pretty normal process when you're starting out.
  13. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    There may be some truth to that... I used to play lots of instruments (mandolin, mandola, mandoloncello, troll cittern, tenor banjo, plectrum banjo, cello banjo, guitar, bass guitar) but DB is the only one I play now. Still have a couple of bass guitars but only use those for recording.

    Then again, if people consistently told me to leave my bass at home and bring a banjo maybe I'd only be playing that now...
  14. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Yes. I could have gone into college on trumpet, voice or bass. Trumpet was easy to ditch because I did not care for it that much and the universtity had mandatory marching band for trumpet players for two years and by my senior year of HS marching, I was sooooooo over that scene.

    Voice was tougher. I didn't want to double major, so I went in on bass and sang on the side.

    In the end I didn't want to pursue a classical bass career, but wanted to play electric in rock/jazz bands. I still sing and play e bass to this day and enjoy both although I have not made a career out of either although I think I could scrape by if I did.

    So figure out what you love above all and plunge into it and let the results fall where they may. Read a book by Stephen Pressfield called The War of Art.

    Which reminds me, I once saw a survey of job satisfaction and one of the least satisfying was orchestra member. What an irony. You understandably look for a career that is an alternative to the usual corporate 9 to 5 routine, so you go with music. You practice upteen million hours, go for years taking auditions competing with hundreds if not thousands for one opening, finally get in a decent orchestra and end up hating it. :rollno: Be careful what you wish for my son...

  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001

    Man, I heard that... marching and trumpeting at football games in Wisconsin snowstorms...... now there's a happy memory......:rollno:
  16. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    You shouldn't ask us this question because after all, it's for you to decide and I don't think anyone can make a point valid enough to make up your mind.

    As they said, do what you love best.

    If it was me, I'd go with bass because it's cooler and thanks to it you will get way better at bass faster than if you decide to go with the horn.
  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    There are so many things wrong with this premise, I don't know where to start.

    First up, not asking questions is the fast road to ignorance, and should be avoided at all cost.

    Second... what you love best is presumably to make music, and any knowledge of any instrument, musical genre, and real world experience can only enhance your progress with whatever means you find to express it.

    That last bit... I'm at a loss for an answer. Maybe we need Steve Turre or Robin Eubanks to check in on that one. I have a feeling either one would go to bat for bassists following a comment like that, considering the caliber of players they work with on a daily basis.
  18. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Also, you are only 17 - so how far behind can you really be? If you are motivated and work hard because you really enjoy DB you will close the gap. Another option would be to take a year off after high school and study DB very intensely, then go to college.

    Some food for thought: Bob Magnusson played French horn from age 6 to age 18. Then decided he wanted to play Double Bass. Within three years he was playing for Buddy Rich.

  19. Mixmasta J

    Mixmasta J

    Dec 4, 2004
    thanks guys, I really appreciate it

    I have some thinking for sure, but I think no matter what I do, I will still be happy and better off because I know more.

    Time to get practicing!

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