Moving on To Playing With Others

Alternate Fingerings, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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Fox
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Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Fox » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:35 pm

Ok guys, I went to my teacher this past weekend and we played a couple duets. Well, this got me thinking ... One of the areas that I'm lacking is actually playing with other people. I came home and looked up any community bands in my area. There's one about 15 minutes away, but I'm nervous about contacting them.

I still have a lot to learn even though I'm nearing the end of Wye's Beginner books, and my sight reading is poor (especially when I get nervous).

I don't think I'm ready to play with a community band, but thought it might be good if I found other adult beginners, but haven't had any luck.

Any advice on how to progress?

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pied_piper
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by pied_piper » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:01 pm

There's always opportunities to play with others. A community band is a possibility - it really depends on the level that they play at. Some community bands are professional groups (or at least semi-professional). Those require a much higher playing ability and likely require an audition. Others are more informal, play less difficult music, and may not require an audition. Your best bet is to contact the group, describe your abilities/experience and see if it's a good match. There's no harm is asking and the worst they can do is say no, you're not ready for it.

Another good place to play with other adults are in church groups. Some church groups welcome players of any ability. Your best bet there is to ask around and call or visit nearby churches to find out about opportunities to play. Again, playing level will vary, but you can probably find one that's a good match for you.

Other playing opportunities:
Pop/rock bands (good if you can play by ear)
Flute ensembles
Find a pianist and try some solo literature with piano accompaniment

Ask your teacher! I'm sure s/he can offer some suggestions. If your teacher has other students (flute or other instruments), ask if they would be interested in trying to form an ensemble.

By all means, take the Nike approach and JUST DO IT! You'll have fun, be challenged, and get a whole new playing experience.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

zummerzet_lou
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by zummerzet_lou » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:05 pm

Playing with others is hugely rewarding, and also helps strengthen our playing as it forces us to play the correct rhythm/timing as well as having to tune to others.

Drop your local community group an email, or phone them - tell them what you've just told us and they'll let you know what sort of standard music they play.

Also talk to your teacher - they probably know the local groups too.

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Zevang
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Zevang » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:33 pm

My advise is: go for it! Be there with them! All the rest comes naturally and only with time and experience.
But you have to start... so what are you waiting for... :-)

Besides, the biggest, quickest way to learn things is come near people who are more experienced than we are...

Give it a try :-)

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Phineas
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Phineas » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:44 am

Fox,

People usually think more highly of you than you think of yourself in most cases. You are just going to have to get over yourself and make the transition. You may have a lot to learn, but you may be a better player than you think you are.

As others have said, do not rule out playing with other types of instrumentalist and styles of music. I would avoid POP/ROCK bands unless they are unplugged. All you will do is get frustrated until you get use to it. Rock band players seldom are familiar with the word DYNAMICS and play too load most of the time. This is a bad situation for a flute player. Often, I wind up playing piccolo just to cut through the band.

Sight reading! HUH! Overrated. The best performances you will ever do is on pieces/tunes/songs that you memorize. Lately, I have been playing Electric bass. Only because I am a decent sight reader in bass clef. Gigs are always a struggle. Even though I get through them ok because I am playing the right notes, I still do not do nearly as well as a dedicated bass player. Sight reading is essential, but listening to music is even more essential. The best players almost always have the largest record/cd/mp3 collection. Get out there an play, and do more listening. Sight reading will come to you! Most good sight readers are just able to recognize common patterns of notes and rhythms on the fly are are not really sight reading every single note. But that is another discussion/

Anyway you know my motto---- "Just play the d*** thang!"

Peace!

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Fox
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Fox » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:35 am

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and support! I have emailed the community band and basically told them that I'm a beginner and if they have anything for a beginner flute player.
pied_piper wrote:Ask your teacher! I'm sure s/he can offer some suggestions. If your teacher has other students (flute or other instruments), ask if they would be interested in trying to form an ensemble.
Unfortunately, my teacher cannot really help. She does not normally take students from my area because it's too far away. Some things happened with my previous teacher and through a bit of luck I became an exception to the rule.

I have been looking on various websites for adult beginners of any instrument, but I haven't had any luck.
Phineas wrote:Sight reading! HUH! Overrated. The best performances you will ever do is on pieces/tunes/songs that you memorize. Lately, I have been playing Electric bass. Only because I am a decent sight reader in bass clef.
Phineas, I had this same idea but my teacher said that I need to have at least a bit of skill in sight reading. I much prefer practicing a piece on my own because I have my own methods to getting the music right. Usually my problem is with accidentals and nervousness.

It is true that others see me as playing better than what I think. I'll go to my class and play a piece and think "OH man, that SUCKED" meanwhile my teacher is telling me "that was really good, you're doing great". I have been trying to get out of that mindset of judging myself from what I hear while playing.

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Phineas
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Phineas » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:47 am

Fox wrote:
Phineas wrote:Sight reading! HUH! Overrated. The best performances you will ever do is on pieces/tunes/songs that you memorize. Lately, I have been playing Electric bass. Only because I am a decent sight reader in bass clef.
Phineas, I had this same idea but my teacher said that I need to have at least a bit of skill in sight reading. I much prefer practicing a piece on my own because I have my own methods to getting the music right. Usually my problem is with accidentals and nervousness.

It is true that others see me as playing better than what I think. I'll go to my class and play a piece and think "OH man, that SUCKED" meanwhile my teacher is telling me "that was really good, you're doing great". I have been trying to get out of that mindset of judging myself from what I hear while playing.
Well, as far a sight reading, like I said, it will come to you the more you do it. I am a decent sight reader and proud of it. I just know that sight reading is only a small part that matters in a performance. People who hear you play are not going to care if you are a good sight reader. Most of my students are/were good sight readers. However 75% of the lessons were technique, and memorization. So far I have found if I can get the student to play their instrument well without thinking about it, reading music is icing on the cake.

One suggested exercise I give my students is practicing all major scales in all keys at the same time(One at a time of course for the smarties out there). Up and down the instrument. One teacher here in St. Louis thought I was crazy until they wound up with a student that can play in any key. Another thing I do for sight reading purposes is find written exercises that are in every key, but do not have a key signature. That way you are forced to get comfortable with reading accidentals.
It is true that others see me as playing better than what I think. I'll go to my class and play a piece and think "OH man, that SUCKED" meanwhile my teacher is telling me "that was really good, you're doing great". I have been trying to get out of that mindset of judging myself from what I hear while playing.
You really do not want to loose it totally, it will make you a better player. You just do not want to let those feeling overwhelm you to the point of not playing. When people ask me what I think of my self as a player, I say "I can hold my own, and I don't totally suck!". I know I am a better player than a lot of people, but not the best. Get it? :wink:

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Fox
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Fox » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:53 am

Phineas wrote:You really do not want to loose it totally, it will make you a better player. You just do not want to let those feeling overwhelm you to the point of not playing. When people ask me what I think of my self as a player, I say "I can hold my own, and I don't totally suck!". I know I am a better player than a lot of people, but not the best. Get it? :wink:
I understand. Thinking about what you said I realize it's just like most things in my life that have given me this type of anxiety. I remember having the same problem when I first got a real full-time job. I almost didn't show up to work, but after the first day I was like that was totally too much stress for nothing.

You know it's funny cause when I'm practicing I'll get the urge to memorize some tune (like a christmas tunes right now) and imagine playing it at a family gathering. Unfortunately, the anxiety and the fact that there is no interest in any form of live music is a deterrent. My cousins husband is apparently anti-live music in the house. He wouldn't let his wife bring her piano to the new house (and that boggles my mind!). If she did have the piano and played it I feel I would be more likely to actually play. Of course, the first hour only me and the piano player would be allowed in the room - the others have to sneak in so my mind doesn't realize there is an audience!

Hopefully the community band director will give me some leads I can pursue.

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Fox
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Re: Moving on To Playing With Others

Post by Fox » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:43 pm

Update: I heard from the band director. He doesn't have anything for beginners, but suggested I contact the local school board. Oh well ... going to keep searching. I did ask him to keep me in mind if he does start something with beginners.

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