Next band season starts Monday and Tuesday Sept 10th and 11th.
Cost is $150 for each of the 3 terms or $420 for the year.
Monday band is from 500-730 at the First Baptist church on 5th.
Tuesday band is from 500-630 at 212 Gillette St. This band is new starting this year as of writing I have 1 player interested. This is how the main band started.
$225 a term if you want to play in both groups (which is a 50% Discount on the second band)
People may arrive late or leave early if they need to.
The main band plays at a 2-4. level (band music is graded from 1-5, 5 being University level). I would say the main band can sight read at a 2-2.5 level The Tuesday band is for beginners only( no experience needed). We perform 3-4 times a year.
If you have played at all before (even if it was a long time ago) the main band is a good choice. If you are a beginner you can also play in this band though most of the music will initially be beyond you. Depending on your personality the beginner band may be more comfortable for you as you will get more individual attention but be less anonymous.
Which band you want to play in is up to you.
A beginner group goes slower, players get more attention as to how to play (though you will get plenty of that in the main band), players are less anonymous and it will probably be a smaller group. The more advanced group has its advantages, it's more fun in that there is more to play along with, music is better and there are advanced players to follow.
Realistically if you play a soft instrument like flute or clarinet you can be somewhat anonymous. If your instrument is loud like a saxophone (and until you get better it will be) every error will be very obvious and you will get lots of correction. You can overcome this to some extent by leaving out the hard bits or playing softly.
It's a fine line. I usually encourage players to take a risk and go for it (this makes players of every level myself included sound best) and if it's too much or it ends up being that the players fun is getting in the way of everyone else s fun I will let you know.
I am an INTJ personality type I tell it like it is. I will often tell the band they sound great, because they often do, I will let you know if its not working, so far in 7ish years we have been able to happily accommodate everyone
Most New Horizons bands play at a 1.5-2.5 level but not beyond, we are one of the better ones, especially as regards tone, tuning and musical sophistication.
We do perform occasionally works at level 3 or higher (level 4!), a major accomplishment for a NHB!.
Playing in the main band as a beginner is not a bad idea, combined with lessons it's the fastest way to get good and you will find the other players very helpful.
For the record that's how I started, as 3rd clarinet in the local band. At first I would get a couple of notes per page while following along in the music then with practice and lessons I was soon moved up to first and within 2-3 years of picking up the clarinet I had 4 paying positions playing the clarinet professionally.
What do you need?
Players need their own music stand, a pencil to mark the music and an instrument that's it we supply music, rehearsal space and its insurance. I limit some instruments to keep the band balanced. I would advise you to speak to me about instrument choices.
The bands only requirement of the players is that they pay their dues enjoy themselves and be harmonious it's not about meeting “the standard”.
It is very possible for a player to play in the band with no-minimal experience and without lessons and to (eventually) make music that is enjoyable for an audience.
I would say that "usually" the 2.5 level is hard-impossible to play beyond without lessons due to incorrect hand positions, embouchure and air issues, wrong fingerings, mismatched or wrong equipment, faulty practice etc.........
Very few of the players ever take lessons however I give a lot of instruction during the rehearsals both as to general music skills and specific instrumental techniques, which is why the level of the band is as high as it is. The level of the musical information you will receive is way beyond university level but I make it simple. We work on the same things that I work on in my practice and ensemble playing.
For players that want to perform a difficult solo with the band, progress to a higher level, improve faster or need help with an aspect of playing they are having trouble with lessons are the only solution (along with concert attendance and decent equipment). No amount of YouTube videos will make you play better and unless you have the basics down really well and understand them, there s a high probability that they will make you sound worse.
After 49 years of teaching (I started teaching a recorder class in elementary school) I have encountered exactly 0 players that have figured it all out on their own. If you take lessons you will sound dramatically better in short order, be aware though that I often notice that players sink back to their old level when they stop lessons so you need to take them long enough for it all to stick. I mention all this as some may wonder if they are somehow deficient or untalented,, no you just need some of the instruction I got.
Room for players of every level of ambition and accomplishment.
One of the nice things about band music is that the ambitious players that like to practice etc. can be challenged by playing the 1st parts whilst those that just like to play and not practice that much or are beginners can enjoy the easier 2nd and 3rd parts and still contribute and enjoy the band experience.
The band has quite a few pieces for a solo instrument and band and I will also often feature a section of the band. If you want to do one of the harder solos get the music from me and when you think it's presentable play it for me.
Solos are fun, can be inspirational for the less advanced players to hear, are great for developing playing skills etc.. but are often not as interesting for the accompanying players so the solo part must be solid .
We have solos for piano, trumpet, flute, clarinet, alto saxophone and oboe. I am always thrilled when a player shows an interest in bettering themselves!
If there is a piece you want to play that we have not budgeted for (or don't own, yet) you can buy the music yourself so we can play it, if you have something in mind check with me to see if the instrumentation is suitable. If you make a request and it comes at a time when we still have money in the music budget we will purchase it, if it's a piece we can play and that players will generally enjoy.
We play classical, pop, jazz,big band, folk, movie music etc..
When there is enough interest and support we offer saxophone, clarinet and mixed or genre specific ensembles.
A large part of the success of the band is due to me spending many hours studying scores so that the unique (and ever changing) combination of players we have will have appropriate music. I have a good idea of peoples musical tastes and strengths. I try to accommodate requests and program a wide variety of music.
Each summer I work on the coming years program based on the players and the level of the band at the last concert, I look at the scores and imagine the exact players I have playing. If the composition of the band changes I adjust the music selection.
A lot of the music we play is just fun, that is to say it is light, amusing and of little consequence but to only play this sort of music would be a disservice.
Music is much more than fun it can be moving, transcendent, glorious and describe and enable us to experience the world and emotions in different and deep ways. Playing in the band will help you to develop a more sophisticated understanding of music which in turn makes music more enjoyable, rewarding and meaningful to you. Playing a wide range of music makes you a better player being good makes the whole thing more enjoyable.
I often refer to the band as an instructional band (as in we work to play better) as opposed to players just getting together to play at what ever ability level they have leveled out at.
The great cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he still practiced at 93 he replied ' I think I am getting better'. One of my favorite quotes is from Oliver Cromwell, “when you stop trying to be better you cease to be good”, so true.
There are endless studies about music improving heath and brain function.