Altin Sencalar

The official website for Altin Sencalar.

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Being a sideman

Throughout the years of having the pleasure of playing in multiple bands and being first call for the trombone spot in those bands, there are many details of being a professional musician that people don't talk about and/or won't tell you about. As a side man you are hired to fulfill and hopefully add to the musical situation. How do you add to the music/ band? Well there's two labels, being a liability and being an asset. How are you/ do you become a liability? You're constantly late to the gig, there's a vibe of being pretentious (diva like), you are being adjusted to instead of you adjusting to the bands needs, and lastly never nailing the book when it comes time for the music part of the gig. Being an asset normally entails, being on time or early to the gig, being someone who is helpful to everyone or multiple people when the band is loading in, incredibly busy, etc., and is a great hang/ great person to be around throughout the gig, and lastly nailing the book and showing that you're having fun. In case you haven't noticed everything except one point on each on the two labels are not having to do with playing your instrument. Being a professional entails more than your skill which is music in this case. Don't be "that guy/ that person" at the gig who is constantly being accommodated for or is known for having an attitude at the gig. Why be a grumpy person about playing music? There's not a reason for it. In my undergrad I heard this phrase and have tried my best at doing this, I have failed multiple times but that's how you learn, is by failing; "Check your ego at the door, honey." I really feel that it is important to be both a good person and great musician in order to achieve a high profile of professional playing. You're playing music and have the opportunity to be able to please yourself but you also have the opportunity to maybe even please someone else and make their day. "Music heals" as many people have said and for me personally there's not a better feeling than someone telling me "this was awesome to listen to, thank you." So I leave this note with the quote, "Check your ego at the door, honey." Enjoy what you do and if you don't find your passion you'll continue to be unhappy in these musical situations. Being a sideman entail both being a musical asset but also being an asset to others, yourself, and the band. The more you can do for the band, the more reasons you can or will be hired in the future. Positivity, being helpful, being on time, being a great hang, and being a great musician. All of these aspects will get you a gig not an attitude of expecting a gig because of your talent.