The 2nd Chair Blues…How to Position yourself for First Chair
by: Alissa Gittens
Becoming first chair in your school’s band is a coveted honor for many student musicians. However, there is more that must be accomplished than just passing a playing test. Here are a few steps to position you for first chair.
1) Practice, practice, practice.
2) Befriend the first chair flutists and learn what they know. Chances are the first chair belongs to an upper classmate who will soon be graduating. There is a reason why they became first chair so you want to absorb all of the skills and talents that they have to increase your ability and chances.
3) Share what you know with the other flutists. One of the main responsibilities of the first chair musician is to help strengthen the entire section.
4) Be ready. You should be the first in your section to arrive to rehearsals and the last to the leave. The band director should always be able to rely on you to help teach the music to your section and/or to carry out any tasks necessary for the section to perform at a higher level.
5) Be a leader. Learn how to run sectionals. Running a sectional requires more than just rehearsing music. You must selecta time that meets everyone’s schedule, ensure that everyone has the music, and learn to manage different personalities and skill sets.
6) Know the music. Not only should you be proficient at your part, but if needed you should be able to play all the parts in your section.
Everyone wants the recognition of being the strongest musician in their section. However not everyone is prepared for the responsibility that comes with the title. Get yourself ready and position yourself to be first chair.