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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:00 pm    Post subject: Band audition Reply with quote

I've played principal trumpet in a community band for about 25 years. It's a pretty good band, you have to audition to get in. Well, I think it's time to give someone else a shot.

I gave a years notice. For 6 months or so, they did nothing to replace me. Now it's really time and they made me in charge of the audition. I picked three people from the band to judge with myself as an advisor. My vote won't count but, I can say what I think.

What do I give for music to audition? My first thought was to take a first cornet part from the band library. Then I thought, what if a person comes in from outside the band? I don't want to give an advantage to current members. Maybe a solo from the back or Arban. We could listen to two sections and maybe have a third in reserve in case of a tie.

Thoughts?
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would still use a representation of what you actually play, but mail the music to the candidates in plenty of time ahead.
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Christian K. Peters
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:05 pm    Post subject: band audition Reply with quote

Hello,
Just take a section from one of the Holst, Grainger pieces. Buglers Holiday, Sleighride...Sousa.and an etude of their choice.
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kgsmith1
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I vote for including sightreading, maybe a couple lines of an intermediate etude book or something. Also, a scale of your choice (two octaves, something with a few sharps.)
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A big consideration should be that the new principal should be dependable to attend rehearsals and performances. Personality might also be a consideration.

If any of the current section players really want to be principal, then it should be easy to just have them play the parts in rehearsals or concerts as a trial period.

You didn't mention whether there is any pay to stipend involved, and that would make a difference. Especially if outside funding comes from 'public sources' such as the budget from a town/village/city/county/etc. You don't want the band to get into some sort of 'stink' because someone starts complaining about the selection and 'money issues'.

Jay
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Steve A
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personal opinion: I think auditions should be structured as much as possible like the way the group operates, so as to find the person who's the best fit for the group's actual dynamic.

If this position will regularly require sight reading, or playing cornet solos, and it's most important for the principal do to those well, then, by all means, include those. However, if the group generally expects that everything is well-prepared before anyone sits down, testing on the basis of sight reading makes about as much sense as testing their ability to double on oboe. Same thing for cornet solos. Same goes for extremely long lists of music - if the expectation is that there won't be enough time to really meticulously prepare everything, and you want to pick the person who does the best job of chugging through a ton of things with little preparation, then long and varied lists make sense.

If, however, there is enough time to be really ready for everything that's performed, and that's what the group wants, I'd suggest that you will give yourself the best chance to find the best candidate by choosing a modest amount of mainstream music, reflecting a balance of different facets of playing. Personally, I'd certainly rather play for and audition for a group that gives people a chance to play their best by giving them adequate notice to prepare music, and choosing a principal who makes the most of that opportunity sets the expectations for the rest of the band. (IE - showing up prepared, and playing musically and with style, every time.)

Not knowing the repertoire your band plays, I'd suggest something like this (all first parts):

- Lyrical solos from the second movement and start of the third movement of the Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite.
- A few sections of the third movement of the Holst First Suite for technical skills.
- The first strain and maybe the trio of The Stars and Stripes Forever.
- If your band plays jazz, A String of Pearls, including the original solo.
- If you want to have a solo piece, possibly as a tie-breaker for a later round, how about picking two or three sections of the Artunian? It's in a similar style to a lot of band music, and played on Bb.

Experienced players will likely already know most or all of that music, which means that they'll still be able to audition, even if they're busy and don't have too much time to dedicate to prepping a mess of unfamiliar music, none of it is going to be hard to find (unlike a lot of band music), and someone who can do all that well can probably cover the principal chair of most groups pretty well.

My two cents.
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we're going to use sections from 3 or 4 pieces from the band library.

We play a lot of Hindsley transcriptions.
I think the ending of 1812
Solo from the first trumpet part from Don Juan
Solo from Pines
I'll let the conductor pick one.

Thanks for the help. It would suck if we messed it up and there were hard feelings.

There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.
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jscahoy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpetchops wrote:
There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.

I can imagine. I live in a area of a half million people, but still you can barely find anyone willing to even play for free, let alone audition for the privilege, let alone able to play at a reasonably high level.
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jscahoy wrote:
trumpetchops wrote:
There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.

I can imagine. I live in a area of a half million people, but still you can barely find anyone willing to even play for free, let alone audition for the privilege, let alone able to play at a reasonably high level.


This band has been really good to me and, good for me. When I joined, I played a section part and had trouble keeping up. Over the years the band pushed me to practice or I couldn't play the parts. Somewhere along the way there was a turning point where I started leading. The position offers a lot to the player as well as the band. We don't play the usual band lit.
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Craig Swartz
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpetchops wrote:

There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.


In that regard I would give a lot of consideration to someone inside the band who has already been showing the type of dedication and willingness to be present that a free gig needs. If no other current member is available or has the ability, search elsewhere but do not PO someone who has always been there. When I first moved to the Des Moines area I was hired as a "ringer" to "help" perform a concert with a community band by the local music store guy who conducted it. He told the section to "move down and he plays all the solos" and it didn't sit well with anyone- they'd been rehearsing all along and I would be reading the concert. It was also obvious from the first few notes that they didn't need help. I have no idea why the leader chose to insult his players and I declined all future offers to play.

Dance with the people who brung ya.
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OldHorn
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig Swartz wrote:
trumpetchops wrote:

There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.


In that regard I would give a lot of consideration to someone inside the band who has already been showing the type of dedication and willingness to be present that a free gig needs. If no other current member is available or has the ability, search elsewhere but do not PO someone who has always been there. When I first moved to the Des Moines area I was hired as a "ringer" to "help" perform a concert with a community band by the local music store guy who conducted it. He told the section to "move down and he plays all the solos" and it didn't sit well with anyone- they'd been rehearsing all along and I would be reading the concert. It was also obvious from the first few notes that they didn't need help. I have no idea why the leader chose to insult his players and I declined all future offers to play.

Dance with the people who brung ya.

This!!!

I've also been hired as a ringer for a single performance, there was a lot of resentment happening. Why not just give the position to the player who's sitting in the second chair right now?
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldHorn wrote:
Craig Swartz wrote:
trumpetchops wrote:

There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.


In that regard I would give a lot of consideration to someone inside the band who has already been showing the type of dedication and willingness to be present that a free gig needs. If no other current member is available or has the ability, search elsewhere but do not PO someone who has always been there. When I first moved to the Des Moines area I was hired as a "ringer" to "help" perform a concert with a community band by the local music store guy who conducted it. He told the section to "move down and he plays all the solos" and it didn't sit well with anyone- they'd been rehearsing all along and I would be reading the concert. It was also obvious from the first few notes that they didn't need help. I have no idea why the leader chose to insult his players and I declined all future offers to play.

Dance with the people who brung ya.

This!!!

I've also been hired as a ringer for a single performance, there was a lot of resentment happening. Why not just give the position to the player who's sitting in the second chair right now?


The guy doesn't want the job. He's out playing gigs. If one comes the night of our concert he takes the gig. I can do the job without him, I don't like to though. This is most of the reason I'm leaving. I don't want to pass on the paying job anymore.
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This really (REALLY) isn’t your responsibility. If you want to leave, just leave and they will muddle through.

I direct a community orchestra and I know full well that a gig will cost me a section leader who is given a small beer and nuts fee for helping their section. I know that a good player on their way up will hit a useby date and go on to better things.

All I hope is we are supportive of them and they have good memories!

That said, if commitment is an issue in the ensemble, this is why nothing is happening and you should just go. They will do zip until you do. Plus, they have bigger issues at stake, like creating an atmosphere where members want to come along and play! It can’t be treated like a high school band with chairs and auditions and silly things like this.

I recall another community orchestra wanting to move their concert master on... he was fine, but they wanted QUALITY! So, they decided to audition all leadership positions. The prospective concert masters had to perform a solo recital, a concerto with the orchestra and lead the orchestra in a concert, plus take a string rehearsal while the MD observed.

No one applied for anything and the old leader kept on leading...

Now go take the gigs and stop worrying!

Cheers

Andy
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:
This really (REALLY) isn’t your responsibility. If you want to leave, just leave and they will muddle through.

I direct a community orchestra and I know full well that a gig will cost me a section leader who is given a small beer and nuts fee for helping their section. I know that a good player on their way up will hit a useby date and go on to better things.

All I hope is we are supportive of them and they have good memories!

That said, if commitment is an issue in the ensemble, this is why nothing is happening and you should just go. They will do zip until you do. Plus, they have bigger issues at stake, like creating an atmosphere where members want to come along and play! It can’t be treated like a high school band with chairs and auditions and silly things like this.

I recall another community orchestra wanting to move their concert master on... he was fine, but they wanted QUALITY! So, they decided to audition all leadership positions. The prospective concert masters had to perform a solo recital, a concerto with the orchestra and lead the orchestra in a concert, plus take a string rehearsal while the MD observed.

No one applied for anything and the old leader kept on leading...

Now go take the gigs and stop worrying!

Cheers

Andy


It's in the band bylaws that everyone in the band has to audition to get in. Every vacant chair has to be auditioned.The audition process is meant to fair to the people that don't get the spot. I know somebody will take the spot. There are band members currently playing that can do the job. I'll work out my time and either take a lower part or leave the band.
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dstdenis
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen some bands ask each prospective to prepare two short pieces, something technical and something lyrical, to play for their audition. Player's choice. To level the playing field, during the audition they also ask each to read a few excerpts from the band book they're auditioning for.
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rockford
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldHorn wrote:
Craig Swartz wrote:
trumpetchops wrote:

There is no pay and dedication is a huge problem. The person good enough to play the part is going to get calls to play and give up gigs or ditch the band. It's a rough spot.


In that regard I would give a lot of consideration to someone inside the band who has already been showing the type of dedication and willingness to be present that a free gig needs. If no other current member is available or has the ability, search elsewhere but do not PO someone who has always been there. When I first moved to the Des Moines area I was hired as a "ringer" to "help" perform a concert with a community band by the local music store guy who conducted it. He told the section to "move down and he plays all the solos" and it didn't sit well with anyone- they'd been rehearsing all along and I would be reading the concert. It was also obvious from the first few notes that they didn't need help. I have no idea why the leader chose to insult his players and I declined all future offers to play.

Dance with the people who brung ya.

This!!!

I've also been hired as a ringer for a single performance, there was a lot of resentment happening. Why not just give the position to the player who's sitting in the second chair right now?


I've been in that spot a few times too. Sometimes the regular guys are really glad to see you too, especially when they're not up to the part. My opinion in all this is to either be in the band or not be in the band. If being in it costs a last minute gig once in a while is it really that big a deal?
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpetchops wrote:
It's in the band bylaws that everyone in the band has to audition to get in. Every vacant chair has to be auditioned.The audition process is meant to fair to the people that don't get the spot. I know somebody will take the spot. There are band members currently playing that can do the job. I'll work out my time and either take a lower part or leave the band.

And you wonder why there's commitment issues? the very people you want dedicating time to the group will just stay away, and not be bothered.

A fair process is to allow the MD to decide things, and move on. If they can't, that's where the audition process needs to be!

cheers

Andy
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:
trumpetchops wrote:
It's in the band bylaws that everyone in the band has to audition to get in. Every vacant chair has to be auditioned.The audition process is meant to fair to the people that don't get the spot. I know somebody will take the spot. There are band members currently playing that can do the job. I'll work out my time and either take a lower part or leave the band.

And you wonder why there's commitment issues? the very people you want dedicating time to the group will just stay away, and not be bothered.

A fair process is to allow the MD to decide things, and move on. If they can't, that's where the audition process needs to be!

cheers

Andy


I appreciate your thoughts but, I was really just looking for help with what to play for the audition.
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