How do you know if you are 'good enough'...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by vonny, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. vonny

    vonny Member

    This thread is a follow on from what Rebel Tuba was saying...
    When i went back into banding 2 years ago after a break, i found it quite difficult to ajust and i was conscious of my playing style, and because of this i had a tendency not to perform well. This used to frustrate me because although i knew i was a decent player i would be reluctant to show this, so it came across that i wasn't particulary that good .
    It's a different story because now i believe i am a good player, which means i am a good player, and people actually tell me i am. I am a much more confident person than i was 2 years ago, and i feel that this as contributed to me becoming a better player.

    When i was reading Rebel Tuba's initial message i was thinking who has the right to say that a player isn't good enough - of course they were referring to them not being good enough for that particular band. I guess this is justifiable, but surely if something negative is said, this will leave you feeling a bit down (even if you say you don't). To tell a player after 6 weeks that they're aren't good enough is strange i think, because surely it would be evident after 1 rehearsal or maybe 2 if you weren't up to standard...
    I hope in the future Rebel Tuba that you find a band that you feel happy to play in and where you feel you can play to the best of your ability. In my view i think it is best to join a band where you will get a challenge, even if it is a section up from what you would be playing in...
    Keep going, one day you will find your way.. i am sure!

    Yvonne x
  2. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    It can work for conductors, too. Early in my brass band conducting 'career', I had let the praise of a number of people go to my head a little and took on a band who had just come down from the first section into the second. Okay, they auditioned me and took me on, but with the benefit of hindsight I wasn't quite ready for that challenge, i.e. of a band who wanted to get back into that first section.

    I'll name them as they were always very supportive and I have nothing against them at all, they were Epsom and Ewell Silver. As I said, I realised after a fashion that I wasn't quite good enough at the time to take on that particular post. I needed more experience. But as I said, they never made me feel inadequate. Simply that I realised that I wasn't up to the task then. Nevertheless, that was a valuable lesson to me and the experience there I feel helped me concentrate harder to try and improve subsequently.

    Funnily enough I now have a quite different challenge altogether as recently appointed conductor of Arran Brass (and I'm not assuming it will be easy). The band wouldn't mind me saying that their standard at the moment, is 'sub 4th section'. In the couple of weeks I've had the post, I've realised that there are players of experience so limited that some of them don't know what dynamic markings mean, nor staccatos/tenutos, or fingerings for a number of notes. It means teaching individually as well as collectively (and I'm sure I'm by no means the first to find myself in that situation) but it is a challenge I relish.

    Some reading this may wonder about my 'contesting? forget it!' post a while back where I declared I'd had enough of the contesting scene. Now as conductor however, if the band wish to contest in the future, (they've only done 2 in their 23 year existence) I'll go along with it and give it everything.

    Sorry to go slightly OT there.
  3. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    I'm not sure if you are talking about Arran in Scotland, but you must be as it's the only one I know. Fair play to you by taking the band on and hope to see the band at the numerous contests through the year:clap::clap::clap:
  4. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I suppose you know yourself what your level is, whether that's actual playing/conducting ability or confidence in what ability you have.

    I've had numerous offers of positions at umpteen higher section bands than the one I play with in my time because they obviously see something that I don't appreciate is there, and flattering as it may be I know myself what my own limitations are and I know that I'm not quite good enough to hack it full time at a higher section (apart from anything else I just love playing at Emley). Like you were Yvonne i think it's confidence that is my worst enemy because I may be able to play a piece perfectly in the band room but once I'm on stage I'm a bag of nerves and I'm not quite sure how to get past that (although I've been getting better from that point of view recently).

    Whether the band your in feel they get the right technical ability out of you is up to them and if a band is serious about improving and getting results at contests then of course it is in the bands best interests to get in the best players it can, although the method of actually replacing players should always be done with some feelings for the players involved in mind.

  5. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    You dont :) Well I dont anyway. I dont really know what level Im playing at, but if I look at a peice of music I can usually tell if Im going to find it easy or not.
  6. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    How do you know you are good enough?

    For a band that does contests it's important that players can keep their bottle on stage and not be put off by others, the acoustic or anything else. If you find yourself getting so nervous and distracted that it spoils your (and your band's) performance then it is time to find a less stressful outlet for your musical ability.

    If you find that you are struggling with the notes, let alone any interpretation of the music on a regular basis - I don't mean the normal challenges of sight-reading, I mean the day to day music that your band is playing - then perhaps you are aiming a little too high for your current standard. There's nothing worse than getting yourself distressed and depressed about always letting yourself and your colleagues down (or feeling that you have, which is much more likely). Go back down a level and then try again when you have built up your game again.

    If your colleagues have become tired of keep helping you out so that you feel embarassed about asking them, it is really time to think about moving down for a while and regaining your strength for another go.

    Not everybody is capable of the same level of technical or expressive ability, but everyone can keep trying and thereby keep improving.
  7. B'aht a band

    B'aht a band Member

    When I went back to my original band after an absence of 3 years not playing (mainly due to hanging about in Greece for 2 years too long ;) ), I found that I was the only bass player there and we were doing a brand new piece (The Andromeda Spiral - a commission for the band by Darrol Barry), and that there was a BBb bass/euphonium "duet" in the opening section. After playing it quite well, I thought "hmmm, I can play again!".

    Thats when I realised I was still good enough.

    Coincidentally, I feel I am a much better player for having these "breaks" from banding, although others may disagree!!!

  8. BassBlaster

    BassBlaster Member

    With me it`s the other way round, I think I am brilliant, everyone else tells me I am rubbish. It must be misplaced optimism on my part. :) :)
  9. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    I think its always important to remember when "moving up" in the world, that it may take a while for you to settle and don't get disheartened.

    I am a firm believer that (within reason) a player will (eventually) play to the level of the band they are in. That is to say, if a player were to jump from, for an extreme example, a Champ Section band to a 4th Section band, then eventually, they would find it difficult to not let their standard slip to the standard of the band. Obviously, it could be argued that the better the player, the longer the process would take.

    Equally however, if a player were plucked from a 4th Section band and plonked in a better band, then their playing standard would be dragged (sometimes brutally) up to standard (to a point).
    Obviously, this only works within reason and the chances of Joe Bloggs, 3rd Cornet at Dog**** Brass signing for YBS are pretty slim.

    With regards to the original point, I believe that any player should be given a reasonable chance to adapt their playing to the standard of any band before being judged. If after that time, it is felt that the player would not or could not meet the required standard in a reasonable time, then fair enough they aren't good enough for the band.

    A few years ago I moved from a 4th Section Band to a 1st Section Band and went straight into rehearsals for CISWO, which although not so daunting now was so at the time. I was painfully aware for several weeks that my standard of playing was not to the standard of the band but the band stuck with me and eventually dragged me up to their standard, I have never looked back and I believe I am a far far better player now than the one who made the jump from 4th section.

    Don't be scared to take a leap of faith, just have the confidence to be able to perform to the level of the band and acccept that you may not immediately meet the required standard.
  10. B'aht a band

    B'aht a band Member

    Although, with regards to my earlier reply, I practised back on a BBb bass and within 10 minutes, I got a stomach-abusing stitch!!!

    Practise makes perfect apparently! :biggrin:

  11. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    I think the difference being a band that is ranked within the top 20 will always have the option of players knocking on its doors especially through many businesses relocating staff, as seems to be the norm, nowadays.

    I like to think that maybe a YBS, or Grimey, or BAYV player has suddenly turned up and offered their services.

    I know how good I am and how much improvement I made over the last 6 weeks, and any MD worth his salt would have also seen that improvement (geez I also bough a tuba Silent Brass Mute - now for sale :D - and was practicing approx 2 hours a day), however, at the end of the day I except I may be "championship" standard and not "Premiership" standard
  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    It is indeed Arran in Scotland and thank you for your good wishes. I should add that we have some experienced players too so we'll be working as a team to hopefully improve.

    Depending on progress, I think for the band's sake (not mine) we'd better give it a year before thinking about contests (though the band may disagree and wish to go sooner, in which case, I'll go with them! ;))
  13. persins

    persins Member

    I think that generally, deep down, you know when you are struggling.

    If that is the case, you need to question whether you are really at the right level of playing.

    A lot depends on how far away from the standard you are. If you believe that the standard is achievable with a bit of work then you are in the best position possible. That scenario should encourage you to put the work in and improve towards your goal. If you are miles away then perhaps you should re-evaluate your objectives and adjust them accordingly.

    This does not just count for those finding the music overly challenging, but also those not being stretched. It is very easy just to sit at a comfortable level within a band and not look to improve. You generally find though, that your standard drops off since you are not motivated or forced to improve.
    If you are sight-reading the majority of the pieces easily then perhaps a move up either within the band or externally might be in order.

    If you are happy just plodding along then that is absolutely fine but if you want to progress, you sometimes have to force the issue a bit.
  14. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    Interesting question.

    Perhaps the best policy is to never think you're quite good enough. This doesn't mean underestimating yourself, or having low confidence but just realise that there's always room for improvement.

    Above all else it's about being honest with one's self. You'll get nowhere by trying to fool yourself and others.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I think it is also important to remember that you are dealing with other peoples' opinions. Bands can come 1st in a contest, and be 15th in another. The composer Edward Elgar was rejected by several publishers before being accepted by Novello. The Beatles were turned down by several recording companies before being signed up by EMI. Do your personal best, and believe in yourself.
  16. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    Thats a very good point, I totally agree. As has already been mentioned, if you are struggling, its maybe too much of a challenge. What must be remembered though is that music should be challenging, and that players are always learning, and this should be taken into consideration at all times.
  17. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

    Am I good enough?

    No! But I aspire to be.

    Even Wynton Marsalis, Dave Dawes, Owen Farr, David Childs et al are aspiring to improve their playing.

    I believe (evidence based!!) that I am a very good player but I keep practicing to improve all aspects of my playing.

    I was a very good player (for my age) when I was 15, 30 something years ago and heard Deryk Diffey premiere Golden Slippers which led me to experiment with 'lip trills'. I heard Trevor Groom play Carnival of Venice which made me practice double and triple tonguing more. Another Euph player (forgotten who) was playing at high registers and 'bending' notes leading to more practice.

    I played French Horn as well at that time which helped in 'blowing big' rather than loud.

    Even now I aspire to improve. Pardon the pun, but I was blown away when Bob and David Childs played Britannia and our band accompanied them. Two and three octave leaps and other pyrotechnics were exhibited by both. I thought that it was nearly impossible on the three valve tenor horn until I heard Owen Farr last year. Thus I practice harder.

    Unfortunately I have the limitations of commitment i.e work, family and Salvation Army otherwise I could be a better player. What experience has given me is the knowledge that I can be a better player if I work at it which takes me back to my opening statement..

    Am I good enough? No! But I aspire to be.

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