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in over my head...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by aaguudis, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. aaguudis


    Apr 3, 2001
    hi. I just auditioned for and got the bass chair in the top jazz band at Mt Hood Community College. (anyone heard of this school?) The band is typically known to be outstanding. Heres me deal: I think i'm the weakest link in the band. being the bass player, thats probably not a good thing.

    I havent done much of any chart reading for since I was in high school 5 years ago, and those were stupidly easy charts. Looking through the stuff they gave me the other day, I feel overwhelmed. There is a song in 12/8 + 10/8 time. ***?

    anyways just wondering if anybody has had a similar experience and how you dealt with it. thanks
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Most folks who have played a while have found themselves in situations like this. In my case, I've been teaching at the Aebersold Summer workshops for about 10 years. When I started, I was on the piano faculty, and didn't even play DB. When I started playing DB, Jamey put me on one of the faculty concerts as a bassist when I had only been playing for a year. A couple of years later, on the the three-year anniversary of my purchasing my first DB, he had me playing on one of the faculty concerts with - get this - Eric Alexander, Don Braden, David Hazeltine, and John Riley. When I saw the lineup posted the day before, I just about crapped myself. I went to Jamey and asked him what he was thinking, and he said, "I'm thinking that you can hang with these guys, but there's only one way to find out".

    To make a long story short, I went to the guys and found out what tunes we'd be playing (included two originals), shed my @$$ off on the charts during the time I had to do so, and then after about 15 last-minute trips to the bathroom, went onstage and played the best I could. I'm sure I didn't blow anybody away, but I didn't embarrass myself, either. The next day, Jamey came up to me and told me that I did fine, and said never to ask him whether he thought I was good enough to play with _________ yet. I took it as a great lesson learned.

    The point is, there will always be times you are in a situation that feels like "over your head". Just embrace the challenge and give it your best. If that's good enough, cool. If you feel afterwards that you wished you'd done better, then resolve to work harder. These types of things are what make us better musicians in the end. Embrace the opportunity, be glad you have it, and practice, practice, practice!

    Good luck. :)
  3. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999

    right on!!
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    There's one certain way to learn how to swim -- and you're there. I find that it's a hell of a lot easier to play with great players if you can get past the nerves.

    As far as reading, this is a skill that is acquired through practice and the only way to make it up short term is to shed the charts until you have them close to memorized, and then you'll be using the sheet for reference. Record the rehearsals so that you can play along with the thing 'under fire' at home.

    If you have the fiber and they have the patience you'll rise to the occasion faster than you imagined.
  5. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    this is why i hang around here. So wise the ways of the guys.
    embrace the chance to become a better musican. dont look back.
  6. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    First of all congratulations on the audition. I'd tape a reh if I were you and listen to it a lot so you can get the songs inside your head, then do what Ray said and practice reading the charts. I've had to do this a bunch lately where I had to sub for bassist/bandleader types and getting the tunes inside your head definitely helps the reading. The main thing is to sound confident and strong and familiar with the charts.
  7. I agree with all of the above.
    I'm a big band player. Playing a complicated chart can seem daunting at first. Remember you are a rhythm section player, first and foremost. The most important thing is to maintain the pulse. If you can't process all the intricate stuff quickly enough at first, simplify the part and keep the pulse happening. (Chances are, no one around you will know the difference.) The worst thing you could do is fall behind or get lost trying to execute all the frills. You'll quickly come to recognize common lines and rhythmic figures, your reading will improve quickly.
  8. check out my experience. The description of what happened is midway down the page.

    So at least you have the charts! I went in cold, man that was scary.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    :D On this post, I can do no better to quote your teacher:

    "Wow! Sounds like some of my early big band experiences-if they invited you back, I wouldn't worry about it."

    Go, LERM!
  10. They still haven't called ;-)