Far too often, musicianship is compromised in an ensemble setting. Focus drags, motivation lacks, and our general ‘nit-picky’ attention to detail diminishes. While playing in a large ensemble like an wind symphony or orchestra may seem to mask some errors, it simply does not. Playing to the best of your abilities regardless of the level of the musicians around you can only yield positive outcomes.
If you notice your articulations are not as clear as they should be, don’t settle for “its good enough”. Do not let others around you dictate your playing: whether it’s a high school group you are asked to fill in for, or a big time band, take it seriously and expect your best at all times.
Also, do not wait for the conductor to point something out. Constantly assess your playing and others’ playing around you. Of course, nobody needs a ‘backseat maestro’ correcting others, just be the technique police for yourself. There is always something to make better.
If none of the aforementioned interests you, playing to your peak is also much more fun.
Published by Andrew Dougherty
Andrew Dougherty is a native of Gainesville, Virginia, and joined the tuba section of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in December of 2020. He previously was a member of the West Point Band, which he joined in November of 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Music from George Mason University, where he studied under Andrew Hitz, and a Master of Music from the University of Maryland, where he studied under David Fedderly. Andrew formerly played with Brass of the Potomac, the ITEA winning tuba and euphonium quartet NOVATEQ, and other band, orchestral, and chamber ensembles around the Washington, D.C. area.
As an educator, Andrew has taught masterclasses at the Bard Conservatory of Music, and at the Tanglewood Institute, while maintaining a private studio of dedicated students. Prior to joining the military music field, Andrew was selected to perform as principal tuba with the Disney All-American College Band of 2014 in Anaheim, California, under the direction of Ron McCurdy. As a student, he won the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Mock Band Audition, and was selected for the United States Air Force Band’s Collegiate Symposium.
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