Re: For The Good Of The Order

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Posted by Joe Sellmansberger on May 13, 1999 at 00:09:43:

In Reply to: For The Good Of The Order posted by Ellis on May 12, 1999 at 15:34:16:

I really don't mind harsh criticism. In fact, I LIKE it. One of the reasons that I blast out my thoughts or opinions in borderline (or occasionally over-the-line) controversial, challenging, or "dare-you-to-come-up-with-a-good-argument-against-this" ways,is to provoke strong intellectual or strong emotional responses (I respect BOTH -- music is BOTH intellectual AND emotional) from strong thinkers and/or strong "feel"ers. My father died about 15 years ago, but he did the same thing: He would take either side of an argument in order to discover how other people thought, and how strongly they thought it. He often was looking for someone who was smart enough to change HIS mind.

One of my first sets of posts could be labeled as antagonistic. However, the limited dealings that I had with that particular person decades ago revealed to me an ego that is as out-of-control as mine, and I admit to having had a little too much fun with that. (sorry)

I don't mind admitting that I never won an orchestral job. I showed up to about five over the years (until about thirteen years ago) that paid more than I was already making. If I REALLY had wanted one of those jobs, that was the wrong approach: I should have taken ANY job that I could get and sacrified the income, had I really wanted that type of job. Although I made the finals each time, I never abandoned my work and put EVERYTHING into the coming audition. I will except EITHER that I wasn't good enough OR that I didn't want it enough OR BOTH. At this point, I don't want it at all. When I sub with the local orchestra (last year, one of the things that I got to do here in Memphis was 1st tuba on Zarathustra, and another was some loud ---ed mindless Shostokovich Symphony numbering in the "teens"(?) on my Holton Yorky. I won't comment on how well I performed these works. If you care, you can ask someone who is in the Memphis Symphony.
Both times, I found myself looking at my watch. I am not insulting anyone who gets a kick out of this -- I used to -- and remember it, but not particularly anymore. I just don't have a passion for hours of rest and a few loud or not particularly important notes. (sorry -- opinion) TO QUALIFY THIS: If all tuba parts were of the quality of the Prokofiev "Romeo and Juliet", and the tuba play got to play on most, rather that some, of the pieces, I ABSOLUTELY WOULD be an orchestral player--somehow. I believe that the Prokofiev R&J is one of the most AMAZING orchestrals part ever written for ANY instrument, but there aren't enough things like that...

That, besides the bothersome scale, is why I decided to sell my old Holton (that I invested about 300-400 hours in thinking about, worrying about, restoring, and converting -- a LOT of time/money/whatever, about ten or so years ago) AND I sold it fairly cheap: $8000, so someone else could afford to enjoy it. I have made it clear that I am not soliciting work, but if you are curious as to whether I am a "hack" repairman, you can solicit comments from the person who bought that instrument.

I think that it is no secret that I have an overblown ego, but some of my comments are put forth in a self-depricating way -- even if some haven't picked up on that. With my out-of-control ego, if I WERE an orchestral player, I would be a principal oboist: surrounded by the orchestra, and playing beautiful solos in virtually every piece. I am too fidgetty to sit and sit and sit waiting and waiting and waiting to play some little something while I take role, monitor the rehearsal room temperature, fill out contracts, sort scores and parts, read a bad novel, whatever. <- (come on, that too was mean't to be a joke --lighten up!)

Since this is starting to look like a resume, I DID quit a pretty good tuba college teaching job at the University of Kansas (before Scott Watson took over). They are VERY lucky, because he is a GREAT guy, a SUPER player (I heard him do a magnificent(!) recital several years ago, and understand that he has gotten even better, if that is possible.) Again, I am too fidgetty to sit all day and listen to people come in and play tuba -- it gets old (to ME--sorry). I even had one AMAZING student that probably played better than I did, named Alan Martin, and I knew that it would get no better than that, and if I couldn't really get excited about teaching people like him, I should quit teaching. (I think that if you ask those who have done some studying with me - there ARE a few out there - they will tell you that I gave them their money's worth.)

I got into this discussion by posting my instrument for sale. I really like reading the posts, like almost everyone who posts (yes, I especially like you, because you presented the biggest challenge, so far) and I like it when people, like you, "blow me down". I know that Mr. Chisham does not like people to "annoy" others, but I certainly don't mind BEING "annoyed"...I makes me think more about my own positions, and whether or not they have any validity.

Currently, I am tearing back into F tuba playing, which is all I ever really liked to do (solo, quintet, jazz). I am working on (again, my overblown ego) a bunch of oboe sonatas and concertos, because 1/ They are so beautiful. 2/Their range -- low Bb to high F or G is PERFECT for the F tuba and their technical limits match the tuba (some violin and flute music - at least for me - is just too dern "hairy"). and 3/ They aren't written by some "pretty good" state university composers who wrote a "pretty darn good" piece for the tuba -- They were written by the greatest composers who ever lived.

I am also building (abandoning until after the fall -- VERY FRUSTRATING!!!) a KILLER 4/4 CC. I have already done the duct tape test, and it is awesome. I would like for anyone who comes though Memphis on I-40 or I-55 to stop, honk my awesome B&S F, honk on my (hopefully finished by then 4/4 CC) and let me take you out to lunch at a REAL Memphis PORK barbeque place. (At least our food here isn't lame!!)

I am not going to comment on my abilities as a player. No one cares about that, except me. I YOU would like to listen and enjoy (or criticize), I will be glad to play for you.

Right now, my busiest time of the year for repair work is coming up, and I will have to put the tuba back in the box for a while. I don't like this reality. I REALLY like sitting in the evening and playing for myself, instead of working every night until 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00 A.M. on fixing thousands of rental instruments back up so I can rent them out again to the same or new kids next year. However, this pays the bills, has made me totally debt-free, and is putting my kid through Eastman (life's trade-offs).

Inspite of my sassy, position-challenging, and egotistical posts, I bet that you would like me in person. (most folks seem to) However, I AM the type of person who doesn't politely "suggest alternatives" when things are REALLY wrong and really matter to me. For example, just this Friday, I jerked my seventh grade daughter (She is already playing Mozart 3 WELL on the french horn.) out of school and pointed out to the principal (in front of several teachers, parents, employees, etc.) that he is a FOOL. Story: She has made A's and E's all year, but has had NO homework, achievement test scores have DROPPED 10 points, social studies teacher (cleaning fetish and can't pronounce countries' names correctly) and science teacher (make-up test after two week absence consisted of memorizing 5 words) are particularly idiotic,and a boy just gave her a black eye in homeroom by swinging the equivalent of a baseball bat and hitting her in the head. This principal wasn't even going to punish the boy until he discovered my outrage. This is SUPPOSED to be the best school in the system!!! I am FINALLY taking responsibility for my middle child's education, and am ashamed for not doing so sooner and only paying attention to the school's "reputation".

Anyway, I have "poured out" (some of) my soul to the entire BBS. If Mr. Chisham thinks that this in inappropriate, he will delete it. That is perfectly OK.

I like to be shown where I am wrong, especially by superior thinkers/players/feelers, and I almost ALWAYS post my e-mail address, so that people can "chew me out" privately, if they care to.

If enough people find my posts objectionable, from now on, I will just read. Let me know.

Joe Sellmansberger, owner
Mid-South Music (brass & woodwinds since 1979)
3589 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 38122
(901) 458-8791

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