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Should I try out for my universitie's Jazz Band? [Semi-long post Please Please Help]

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LzeroKI, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. LzeroKI


    Dec 24, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Hey fellow TBer's I was wondering if I could ask you guys for some advice? :help:

    So my school's music department has a jazz band, and their regular bass player has, for some unknown reason, missed 3 of the first 4 rehearsals and is going to be kicked out of the ensemble. Earlier today my roommate (who is a music major) was approached by a friend of his who plays trombone in the jazz band, who asked him if I would like to try out for the band (I suppose at some point my roommate mentioned I play bass).

    However, I am unsure if I really should try out; I'm not sure I am a good enough player. Here's a brief background on my musical history. I have been studying music for about 10 years. I started taking clarinet lessons (at my own request) in 5th grade, then switched to bassoon in 6th. I played in various ensembles (from school and summer camps) for the next 6 years.
    In 10th grade I was accepted to the music program at a local fine arts school and spent the rest of my high school years there, taking classes in music theory/keyboarding and music history along side private lessons, playing in large and small ensembles and a weekly masterclass with 5 to 6 other bassoon players (plus the regular high school academic classes). Senior year of high school I picked up bass guitar and started teaching myself. I approached learning bass the same way I learned bassoon, starting with learning scales and going from there.
    I received a scholarship from my university to be a music major here, but after one semester of double majoring in music and engineering I decided making music a career was just not right for me, and dropped out of the music program here (I am now just an engineering major). I started slowly learning to play jazz a few months ago, but I am certainly not a pro at it, but I can put together a semi-decent walking line over some of the simpler standards (such as Autumn Leaves, Impressions, Watermelon Man etc).

    I know I would really enjoy playing in an ensemble again, especially on an instrument I actually enjoy playing 100% (bass, that is). The problem is, I am not sure I am up to the level of playing required for the Jazz Band, and unfortunately I don't have any friends who play in the ensemble to talk about it with. Ive played in ensembles before where one person was really dragging down the whole group because of the gap in skill level, and I don't want to do that to these guys. However, on the other hand, I know if I don't at least try out for the band, I know I will look back on this opportunity later on in life and regret not even trying.

    So, those of you who have bothered to read through my whole post, what do you think I should do?

    PS Thank you guys so much in advance for your help! :bassist:
  2. Just tell them the situation - ask for their opinions. If there's someone that isn't turning up I'm sure they will be looking for a bass player.
  3. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    do it.

    i played in the jazz ensemble at my university for three years and i had no formal training.

    good luck.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'd say go for it - there's nothing like playing with other people, to improve your playing!

    Just have thick skin, try as hard as you can and listen to what's going on - and try to listen to recorded examples of the type of music you will be playing.

    It's a school band - it's a learning experience for all concerned - they are not expecting a pro who can nail it first time - and worst case, if you really aren't up to it - you can learn from that, learn what you need to work on.

    Ask questions and learn!! :)
  5. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX

    Read every word of that again. He has exactly the right attitude in this situation. Adopt it.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Go for it. Time is more important than flash. They NEED a bass player with good time..... they've got other people for solos.
  7. Go for it. You've got nothing to lose if you try out. Like you said, if you don't do it then you might regret it later on in life.
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I would echo everyone else here, go for and see what you can do. Worst case you learn your weak spots. :bassist:
  9. do it--I was in a similar situation--my college has been looking for bass players for jazz combos and I really wanted to join but I wasn't sure it'd be a good idea--my view of the music department was that they were a bunch of music elitists who only wanted to play coltrane and davis but I decided I would embarrass myself (i am not the fastest sight reader either) and go for it. I joined that and a jazz improv class, and it turned out to be the best time I have ever had in college haha Like Bliss said, you'll just have a lot of opportunities to improve your weak spots--thats what happened to me!
  10. LzeroKI


    Dec 24, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    well I contacted the Jazz Ensemble director, and my audition is friday afternoon. I still have mixed feelings about this, I know I want to try this, and I would love to be able to play with other musician's in a group setting again, but Im very nervous that I will be just down-right awful compared to the level of playing in this band. Any tips for preparing for Friday?
  11. the only tip i'd give is relax. you are playing at a university--a learning environment. If there is something you need to work on, they will let you know. Just play what's in front of you and stay on track :)
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Read some of the threads around here on constructing walking bass lines - listen to as much Jazz as you can...etc.
  13. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    be tasteful with your flash.
  14. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I really like that. That's sig-worthy. :smug: :eyebrow: :cool:
  15. Of COURSE you should try out. Just be prepared to work hard if you make it, and don't take it personally if you don't.

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