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  1. #1
    E-mail problem Flute_'s Avatar
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    Question Jazz band - can flutes be in one too?

    Our middle school has a jazz band. They practice in the mornings, and every Thursday after school. I've been listening to them play, and I love it! The peices sound like a ton of fun.

    Right now its only some saxophones, a couple trumpets, a drum set, and a trombone. There has never been a flute in the jazz band. Is it because flutes are not interested, or just because they don't "fit"? Only the older grades are allowed to join, but I'm hoping when I get older I might be able to.

    My question is - can flutes be in a jazz band? I guess they could.. but? I'll have to ask my band teacher tomorrow. I've heard some flutes play in a jazz band before, could anyone direct me toward a couple of jazz flute audio clips?
    Last edited by Flute_; 10-24-2005 at 06:22 PM.

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    Yes flutes can be used in a jazz band, and quite effectively too.

    However, most the time when a flute or clarinet is called for, one of the sax players doubles on that instrument and plays it. You might do well in the jazz band if were to take up the sax, and then take solos, etc on your flute from time to time

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  3. #3
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    Flute, the reason you won't normally see a flute is because it would be overpowered by the normal big band instrumentation unless the music is specifically written to take that into account.

    I have had small school ensembles as well as a small community band, which have used a flute, or flutes in jazz/pop music. If the group is small enough, the flute sound can come out even with stock music.

    If you really want to play, to be honest, I would say do it in the big band even if you won't be heard very often. You will still enjoy the music and comraderie. Also, if you get some respect from the band director, maybe s/he will let you have some solos from time to time to compensate for getting buried in the band.
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    I welcome all instruments in my middle school jazz ensemble. I've had up to 3 flutes one year. Many new arrangments at the MS level have flute parts. If not, I rewrite or teach the flute player how to re-write the lead alto part and they become part of the sax section.

    If you're in the my regular band - I allow students in the jazz ensemble - provide they are willing to commit to every rehearsal. Now when I taught HS I had standard instrumentation - Sax - Trumpet - Trombone- Rhythm section.

    But it's really the directors decision. Why not ask your director and find out what he or she thinks about adding flute.

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    E-mail problem Flute_'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I asked him, and he said that in his entire time teaching here, he's only had one flute in jazz band, in one song. I asked why he didn't have more, and he stated some of the reasons you said, how the flute gets easily covered up unless there is a part specifically for them, etc. I asked him what he thought of me playing in jazz band when I get a little older, and he just sort of said 'maybe, on a couple songs or two'. Good enough for me! Now just a couple more years.

    About the doubling - we are allowed to start doubling next year, and I've been trying to pick an instrament for awhile. I really am liking trumpet. That, or oboe. I think I'm going to go with trumpet, though.

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    I really hope this isn't out of place, but I, how can I saw this tactfully, expecially since this is for all eyes, I am disturbed by the teacher's answer. "...in his entire time teaching here, he's only had one flute in jazz band, in one song." Well, what a surprise. With his policies it's no wonder; sort of a self-fulfilling cycle, I would say.

    IMHO at the middle school level there's just no reason not to encourage and cultivate a young player. I have a lot more to say but I wouldn't feel right saying it...unless I could do it privately and to that teacher's face.

    Flute, you just keep playing. Don't let that teacher's policies rob you of the joy of being a flute player - you don't have to switch to trumpet. Perhaps you could get together with a few friends who play instruments and put a group together. Maybe there is a responsible teacher or musician in your community that can take you and/or your group under their wings outside of school so you still get a chance to play.

    Good luck. Gary
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


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