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What kind of tuba player are you?

Full Time Salaried playing Professional
10
8%
Making a living teaching/freelancing/per servicing
14
11%
I make a little money playing
37
30%
Community group player (unpaid)
40
32%
Aspiring Professional (audition circuit/university student)
15
12%
Practice Room Virtuoso
5
4%
I don't play in public
3
2%
Euphonium
1
1%
 
Total votes : 125

What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby Ken Crawford » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:24 pm

Choose the answer that best describes your tuba-ing.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby sushi20j » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:49 pm

"Euphonium" :lol: :lol:
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby Tubajug » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:58 pm

I'm a band teacher who does the occasional polka gig or brass quintet. I used to do a community orchestra, but life got busy.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:11 pm

If I play gratis, it is for a very good friend, and not often. Once, a neighbor thought that we were good enough friends for me to play for free at their daughter's wedding. That was not my understanding prior to playing. I said nothing, but was not pleased. Further, there really aren't that many places/opportunities for tuba enthusiasts to play, and I don't need to be occupying those positions (in various local concert bands, church orchestras, etc.) when there are darn good enthusiasts who are eager to fill them.
Most years, I could probably live off playing the tuba – particularly as I have situated myself - but do not choose to do so. Existence would probably be pretty plain, unless (eek !!!) I were to teach.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby Schlepporello » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:18 pm

If I had to depend on playing tuba for a living, I'd starve to death. Especially in this part of Texas where agriculture, cattle and football reign supreme. For that reason, I am an enthusiast. I started playing in a church group 28 years ago and am still active in this group. I later added playing in a wind ensemble, which evolved into the Amarillo Wind Ensemble. We are a non-profit organization and all of our concerts are free, however donations are eagerly accepted. I am the vice-president of this group. I am also a co-coordinator for our local Tuba Christmas event.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby MN_TimTuba » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:42 am

Enthusiast here. Make my living at a regular 9 to 5. From time to time there's a dance band gig that wants my trombone or bass guitar, but that's just a bonus. Dream job? To earn my keep playing tuba in a professional wind ensemble, but they're pretty scarce around here. More likely is to let my retirement pay me to play in the several local bands and orchestras available. Not a bad way to go out.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby the elephant » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:38 am

I have played for a living since 1985. I have been in my orchestra gig since 1993, and just completed my 25th season. It is not much money, but I pay for my house, vehicles, and everything else with the money I earn through the MSO. Other than some private students and a lot of freelance it is the only income I have. I have not had a full time "job" since 1989, other than working as a brass repair tech for fun and extra cash, and (to be honest) access to parts, supplies and tools to work on my own horns. [I still do this a lot, but it is more of a serious hobby now. It comes down to the fact that I detest most customers. I hate working for someone else. Taking in work from customers is like having a hundred bosses all the time, so I have a small online business where I sell refurbished horns. It is a totally different world from doing repairs on hire. The bovine scatology is much less deep. Anyway, the income I see from this "store" is just enough to buy parts and tools and such for my personal use. And it is a tax deduction as I file as a Sole Proprietor. Whatever. Just being honest, since someone here will point out that I sell used horns on the DL. :roll: ]

Playing in an orchestra is what I have always wanted to do, ever since I was about 15 years old. (Actually, I started in on my Mom about being a musician at the age of three and supposedly never let up until I was actually sitting in beginning band class at the age of eleven.)

I have one of the only full time tuba chairs in a ROPA orchestra. I am *very* lucky that this is the case. I love my lousy, low paying job. In many ways it is my very identity as a person. I have no plans to retire since we do not have a retirement package and my house won't be paid off until I am 72. So you make a commitment to a thing or you don't. I did. I laid it all out there and risked everything and I sort of made it. I am happy with that "sort of" and have based my life on it.

I could have easily be rather wealthy. I just decided that this is what I wanted to do with my life instead. I never talk about my other options as it seems like a waste of time. However, as I age I sometimes look at the several paths my life *could* have taken, each with its various perquisites and pay, lifestyle, etc. When I am broke I think I was an idiot for every pursuing this career. But overall I am very happy with my choices and commitments. I could have made a ton of money, but that is not how I gauge a man's success.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby ren » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:44 am

the elephant wrote:Playing in an orchestra is what I have always wanted to do, ever since I was about 15 years old. (Actually, I started in on my Mom about being a musician at the age of three and supposedly never let up until I was actually sitting in beginning band class at the age of eleven.)


I had a lifetime principal tuba contract at the age of 21. Sadly due to circumstances out of my control (which had nothing to do with playing), I gave it up, I made lots of money since doing other things and I didnt make much money as an orchestra player but like you it was all I wanted to ever do and surprisingly I was actually good at it. I would trade the money for the gig if I could but things arent always so simple.

Without studying with Jake it would have never happened, but i dont feel pedagogy has fully prepared the next generation, and Im not a true believer in wind and song as a philosophy.
I was a terrible tuba student practicing 8 hours a day before I got that job. As I have started playing again, Im re-learning some of the pitfalls and I have high hopes for the next generation of players,
and would be glad to help them decide on what they want to sound like, as long as teachers start to teach that again and stop teaching playing the instrument in a vacuum.

Players are much better technically now (?) but also seem to play orchestra excerpts as if they are etudes. That really bugs me when I hear someone even a pro play Die Meistersinger and not understand the markings as if playing a C scale gets you a symphony gig. Really annoying. A child can play the notes of Die Meistersinger correctly every time.

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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:04 am

Were I to (were fantasies granted by genies in bottles) only play ~one~ type of music, I would choose to play in a (self-committed/rehearsing/recording/annually-touring-or-two-or-three-festivals) jazz band. Honestly, I wouldn't mind five 2-1/2-hour gigs weekly...maybe even six...particularly if a crackerjack band, and all (with their own quirks, as we all nurse) "reasonably nice guys".

I really enjoy playing my own notes, and particularly choosing them to make others' self-chosen notes sound as nice as they can possibly sound. I enjoy working with musicians who respect the sophistication of a composer's chord progressions, in songs' verses, choruses, and in their own solos. This may sound silly, but I also enjoy (relating to time) striving to "bury the click"...which means "making the drummer's sounds on the beats disappear in your own ears, because you are playing in precisely the same instants in time".

Even were those imagined five-or-six (nightly, likely) jobs (again, with a crackerjack jazz band) to pay only $100 each, I would do it. (Currently, I'm working with a band that is paid a bit more than that per service, but only once weekly...and off in the dead of winter...and only one-hour jobs.)

I do enjoy playing with symphony orchestras, and play with three different ones each year (all three: musically rewarding to work with, these days). Dismissing "church orchestra gigs" from the count, I probably cobble together 40 - 50 services each year, from my work with those three orchestras, and that's probably (??) enough. I enjoy working to offer settings/foundations those instrumentalists who perform the "singing" lines (most everyone other than the tuba...and - when the tuba is given a little half-minute-long-or-so melody, it's funny how others - whose musicianship towers miles above mine - pour on the compliments, mostly, due to the unexpectedness of it) that present those other instrumentalists' musical lines to the patrons in the best possible light, and - when working with the low brass (which is most of the time) offering them reliable tuning and balance to make their jobs as easy as possible as well. The thing about symphony orchestra work is this: Unlike playing in a jazz band - when a piece reaches its completion, I don't always crack a smile.
Last edited by bloke on Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby nworbekim » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:01 pm

i'm retired from public school band directing/teaching... i've made a bit of $ over the years playing instruments of different types. these days, i play tuba and euphonium in several community groups for free. couple of reasons, i don't practice as much as i should and don't feel i produce the product i used to, so i wouldn't feel right about charging a fee and there aren't any paying groups within 50 miles or more, of me.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby roughrider » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:17 pm

I am a community band type of player. I started at the age of 12 and played until 19. At that point, I continued on with my schooling and was a rural school teacher and administrator for twenty years. I returned to the tuba 12 years ago and now have relocated to my original home where I play in two different groups. One is a concert band and the other is a polka band. Both compliment each other and I have fun at both. I do my best to play everyday and to focus on the basics such as found in the Blazhevich and Tyrrell books. I love playing the tuba and it has given real direction to my daily life as I am now retired and able to spend as much time on it as I like. My fellow tuba player in the Concert Band is a tremendous player who very kindly asked me about 5 years ago if I would like to get together once a week and play. We do this consistently during the concert season and it has paid huge dividends for me in the quality of my playing. Music adds so much to my quality of life that I cannot imagine not being able to participate in it.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby KingBassTrombone » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:17 pm

I picked up tuba for fun, I'm primarily a trombonist. I have played sousaphone with my high school's pep band a few times, play in a sousaphone ensemble in college, and have only ever played concert tuba in small groups at church or in jam sessions with friends. I also used to play euphonium in a community band... so I could tick quite a few of those boxes...
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby Donn » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:01 am

No poll option for "accordion"?
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby TheTuba » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:06 am

Donn wrote:No poll option for "accordion"?


Or recorder
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby bearphonium » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:28 pm

I play tuba at the community band level. I joined band playing trombone in 5th grade, played through high school (along the way learning how to play french horn and tuba, since I had friends who played those two instruments that wanted to play trombone in jazz band, and we swapped instruments for the summers). I went off to college, not intending to play. Got a call from the college band director (Max McKee, of WIBIC and ABC) who invited me to play in his wind ensemble. I ended up playing horn (after the first term, there were 8 trombone players and I was 8th trombone) in that band for 5 years, and stayed involved in the alumni band for 5 years after graduation. I got busy with work (being all important, doing police-y type things) and didn't play for 20 years.

After a bout with breast cancer, I decided to get back into playing music, and since my horn was with my nephew, and I had no desire to play trombone, I bought a euphonium, and started playing (hence "bearphonium" on this forum). When I had some semblance of chops back, I went off to a New Horizons band. In speaking with the director in response to her question about my musical background, she found out I had played tuba. She encouraged me to play tuba, so I did (although I still have the euphonium, and love to play it).

I moved from New Horizons (over 40 beginning band) to the Springfield Community Concert Band (non-auditioned adult group). I started playing with both a marching band and the local tuba ensemble. My big jump came this year when I was asked to join our local auditioned symphonic band. Absolute hobby player, and I love it.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby opus37 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:53 pm

I play in 3 community bands and 2 quintets. One of the community bands is an actual paid position. We make $4 a concert and $3 a practice. I usually purchase a band arrangement each year to help keep the bands fresh. That wipes out my profits for the year.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby Doc » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:02 am

Being a musician (and teaching) used to be my only job, but it has been my second job for a long time. Because I have a day job (and not a music "career"), that precludes me from using the "Professional" label on this site*, but I play for pay, and a substantial amount of my income is from playing.

In addition to playing, I'm very much a tuba geek/nerd. I love everything tuba. I love hearing other players in person and on recordings, tuba clothing, tuba paraphernalia, etc. Heck, I buy shirts with different tuba graphics/sayings on them. I have tuba ornaments for the Christmas tree. If I could work in a tuba store where I could look at tubas, play tubas, work on tubas, bring tubas in, and sell tubas, I'd do it. Apparently, I'm afflicted. And I'm ok with that.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby Bill Troiano » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:40 pm

My only time spent as a full time professional player was when I was with the Guy Lombardo Orchestra: 1975 - 78. After that, I was mainly a band teacher, but I did make good money playing all kinds of gigs on Long Island - orchestra, concert band, Civil War Brass Band, tuba quartet, brass quintet and quartet, and dixieland mainly.

Since moving to Austin, I quickly found out that there is no market to make money playing classical type music. So, I entrenched myself in the trad. jazz field. I also play in 1 fine community band, the Cedar Park Winds. I play in a brass quintet and do some German band stuff, along with subbing in Ray Grim's Tubameisters. I also teach tuba and euphonium lessons in 2 high schools.
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Re: What kind of tuba player are you?

Postby roughrider » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:34 pm

Doc wrote:Being a musician (and teaching) used to be my only job, but it has been my second job for a long time. Because I have a day job (and not a music "career"), that precludes me from using the "Professional" label on this site*, but I play for pay, and a substantial amount of my income is from playing.

In addition to playing, I'm very much a tuba geek/nerd. I love everything tuba. I love hearing other players in person and on recordings, tuba clothing, tuba paraphernalia, etc. Heck, I buy shirts with different tuba graphics/sayings on them. I have tuba ornaments for the Christmas tree. If I could work in a tuba store where I could look at tubas, play tubas, work on tubas, bring tubas in, and sell tubas, I'd do it. Apparently, I'm afflicted. And I'm ok with that.

An absolutely awesome post!
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