Thursday, November 17, 2005

Possibly more band than you wanted

Dn. Tom tries to get us to play all together, but it's difficult when someone isn't looking at him for the downbeat of the first note.
"Look at me. You know the first note, right?"
"Right."
"And you know the second note, right?"
"Right."
"So look at me!"
The first two notes are spot on, and Dn. Tom shouts: "See? It makes all the difference in the world!" While he's exclaiming over this, the player falls apart on the rest of the phrase, then offering this: "I didn't know what the third note was."

Dn. Tom told us a story, paraphrased here:
"If you're on time, you're late; if you're early, you're on time." Everybody's heard a band director say that. My band director used to conduct ensembles all over the world, and he tolerated very little in terms of monkey business. So the principal trombone player gets there early, puts his horn on his chair, and goes to the bathroom. He gets back four minutes after rehearsal has started.
"You're late."
"My horn was here."
"Your horn cannot play itself."
"That's not what they told me when I bought the thing!"
We lost ten minutes of rehearsal time waiting for the band director to stop laughing.


So I get random hiccups occasionally—not like regular hiccups, in a series, just one at a time out of nowhere. Peterbird thinks they're cute, because they sound like a cartoon: "hic-cUP!" Dn. Tom decided I needed to be scared out of having the hiccups.
"Boo!" I flinch. We go on with rehearsal, and later I hiccup again. We're waiting for him to start a piece (i.e., do something), and he raises his baton, staring straight at me (I'm right in front of him, after all), and leaps towards us: "BOO!" Since I'm ready for something, I don't move, but evidently the brass were rather startled. I think one trumpet made a strangled "Aah!" to which Dn. Tom, possibly disappointed that I didn't flinch this time, replied, "Well, he won't be getting hiccups any time soon!"

We played, the euphonium settling down after the past few weeks on a new horn to produce this lovely golden sound that I just wanted to curl up in.

After band, I went to the gym to watch Peterbird play basketball. They lost, and my throat hurts and is all raspy. *sigh* I don't want to be The Receptionist. Wah.

Mimi had asked what I thought about clarinets.

Here are some brief synopses of people in various sections. Some of these are dredged up from memory, others are clear and sharp. Not all of these will be agreed upon by people from various bands, except, perhaps, the trumpets. For the most part, the only people whom I noticed had changed from high school to band were the trombones. It definitely makes a difference whether the players were male or female, especially for brass, and how serious they were about practicing; there was also a social "snootiness"/popularity aspect. In other words, don't be offended; I do like people from every section, and am not terribly girly myself. Most of the time.

Flutes/Piccs: Pretty girly.
Clarinets: Ready to party and have a good time; comfortable to be around.
Oboes: Either completely together, or panicky.
Bass Clarinets & Bassoon: Rather mellow, with a wild side.
Baritone Saxophone: Needs attention.
Alto Saxophone: Mix of needing attention and being ready to party.

Trumpet: Hello, ego.
French Horn: Cool, but weird. Most of the time in a good way.
Trombone: In high school, jerks; in college, really really really sweet guys.
Euphonium/Baritone & Tuba: Low brass; how can I explain?

Snare: Hotshots, but for the sake of doing cool things, not ego.
Quads/Quints: Serene, weird, and very cool.
Bass Drum: Disgruntled, but fun. (Wouldn't you be disgruntled? Those are heavy.)
Cymbals: Social.
Pit Percussion: Dreamy, quirky, and nice. (I had a 6-year crush on a marimba player.)

My friend Heather (clarinet) used, when your friend says she's dating someone, there are two questions: "Is he in band?" and "What does he play?" It was okay to date people who weren't in band, but there was so much you could tell when they were. I think I did pretty well with my inscrutable vocalist who sometimes plays guitar.

4 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

Those "Types" per instrument were pretty accurate...from what I remember of my marching/symphonic band clarinet playing days...

Thu Nov 17, 11:31:00 AM CST  
Blogger Mimi said...

Thanks! Even though I only played one year in High School, I can see the truisms.

Thu Nov 17, 03:26:00 PM CST  
Blogger Lissa said...

Only the flute and trumpet attributes were the same in my high school's instrument stereotypes. I don't think we split out the different percussion instruments; we just lumped them all together... except perhaps the snares, who extra were good with their hands... and also, as you said, hotshots.

I like your oboe description--I can see that. In the Region V area, oboes were always considered smart, which I thought was a fun stereotype to belong to as well.

And looking at your saxophone descriptions... does that mean that tenor saxes are just ready to party? Like the percussion, I don't think we split the various saxes into separate groups. The saxes in my high school (and at ND, come to think of it) were in their own world, very independent, and a bit arrogant and rebellious.

Fri Nov 18, 09:25:00 AM CST  
Blogger magda said...

I don't remember having any tenor saxes in high school, but that may just be faulty memory. I make the distinction because of one particular bari sax. I spent a while trying to think of how to put it. Perhaps I should have described them/him as a mixture of low brass and trumpet, so I couldn't really lump him in with the other saxes. I'm glad you wrote your take on the saxes: I think that's what I was trying to go for, but I didn't spend too much time with them, so I couldn't quite place it.

I was going to split the percussion into drum line and pit, but then I got to thinking about how the snares were different from the quads ... and the bass drums were all solid and strong (personality as well as muscle), and figured I may as well split them up. Due to the crush, I spent quite a bit of time hanging out with the percussionists!

Fri Nov 18, 09:37:00 AM CST  

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