Here marks the end of our musical journey. We have gone over picking an instrument, reading music, counting rhythms, and a little basic theory. Now that you have an instrument and the knowledge to apply to it you will now want to find some sort of musical ensemble. Why? Well, it is nice to know how to play an instrument but being part of a band will introduce you to other musicians, both new and experienced. Now there a lot are more options out there than you think. Let’s go over the different ensembles you will encounter on your journey.
Start Your Own Band
You can always start your own band. You and your friends can bring all your instruments together and start playing music. This option can be a little more expensive as you will have to provide your own music, unless you want to play by ear. I personally struggle when it comes to playing by ear, so I like to have the notes in front of me. In your own band you may also not be offered the direction you can get from older members and the director. I am not trying to discourage anyone from starting their own band, but you may also want to look into joining a larger ensemble as well.
Community bands are a great way to expand your musical horizons. You do not have to be playing at a professional level to join a community band, which makes it great for beginners of all ages. LMU has three great community bands: Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Pep Band. So you can play in these bands whether you take classes here or not. Community bands provide more than you would get by yourself, like a director and more experienced members who can provide extra help. They also provide sheet music free of charge which it great because that stuff is expensive! Some community bands that receive enough funding even have extra instruments that you might be able to use if you don’t have your own.
I have school bands listed separately because not all community bands are funded by a school and not all school bands are community bands. Some bigger universities only provide ensembles to music majors and minors. Other colleges offer band to only students that attend the school, despite their majors. Of course elementary, middle school and high schools only let their students participate in their band programs. However schools like LMU extend the invitation to join the band to the community.
So now you may be asking yourself, what type of music should I play? My answer is all of it but I will be a bit more helpful than that. I will dive into some of the different ensembles you can join.
Concert band is more formal than other ensembles. In concert band you will play more classical pieces. However you do also play more contemporary music sometimes too. Some bands include seasonal music and music from movies and TV shows. I’ve played Beatles music, cartoon music, and Christmas music all in one setting! Too many people are quick to stamp the boring label on concert band but these people usually don’t respect music. You do not have to be a musician to enjoy a classical piece!
Jazz band is my favorite. Jazz bands usually have more limited instrumentation. It is harder to find jazz music for instruments like flutes and clarinets but of course it is not impossible. My freshman year in high school I played clarinet in jazz band,
but I had to read a trumpet part. Now that I play tenor sax, I get a part specified to my instrument. Sometimes members have another instrument they prefer to play for jazz band. You might play flute in concert band and saxophone in jazz band. Being in multiple bands gives you the opportunity to try new instruments.
A pep band plays at sporting events during timeouts and sometimes during halftime. The pep band will play shorter pieces as it is very limited on time. Pep band music varies from cheering music to pop music. The pep band’s job is to play recognizable, upbeat music the audience is more familiar with to motivate the crowd. Pep band also tends to be easier and less formal than other ensembles. I like pep band because it is simply
fun. Even though I love the other music I play, I also like to just kick back and have a good time.
Well, this is where I leave you. I hope you have found this series helpful. If you have any questions about music or band do not hesitate to ask me! I am here to help as you will one day help another beginner. The individual musicians you meet and the different music you play will conduct you on the rest your journey.
I hope you enjoyed my series! Leave me a comment if you have any questions. Please like my post and check back every other Wednesday for a new one!