Band Politics Myth or Fact??

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Northants_tuba, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. I thought i'd start a heated debate on this as i was bored. I personaly feel Comittiees can and sometimes do get away with murder. Also some family run bands can be very clicky and i'm not going to mention any but im sure other people will agree with me soa are committees a good or bad thing and should the "normal" members of the band get more of an input without being on the committee as they dont want that pressure
     
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  3. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Band Politics are fact - live with it

    It seems that you’ve not had much “heated debate” on this thread so I’ll put up my thoughts on band committees and players involvement.

    First of all how does a band get formed? Just that, a band of like-minded people get together to do all the banding things we know and love. They also probably agreed on some rules for the formation of the band, what it should be called, what is was going to do and how it was going to set about running this new thing they’d just formed.


    So now we’ve got 28 people in the band plus a few supporters and it’s going to need organising; fortunately the principal cornets an accountant/clerk he offers to look after the money and do the books, BBb player's ex-military so he agrees to be Band Sergeant and tenor horn players wife’s a secretary so she agrees to write letters and keep minutes.


    Most of band thinks this is marvellous they just have to turn up and play but EEb bass player gets a bit stroppy (they usually are) and wants to know why band should be run by principal cornet, BBb bass and tenor horn’s wife. A few other members of band join in the chuntering so it’s agreed that EEb, flugel, euphonium and solo trombone will be on t’committee.

    So here we are today band has a formal constitution which states that it will be managed by a Secretary, Treasurer and 5 committee members. A formal Annual General Meeting is held each year for the whole band (or those that can be bothered to turn up) and they formally vote in the officials and committee to run the band for the following year.

    Now whether you think committees are a good or a bad thing isn’t really relevant, the question should be do you have a good or bad committee? If they’re OK you probably vote them in every year with a few changes if not then vote them out and get someone else in to do it. The reason I am assuming that ALL bands have some form of committee is that I’m also assuming we all like to get our hands on Lottery money to buy the instruments and equipment to run the band and a formal constitution is a pre-requirement to receipt of any monies.

    should the "normal" members of the band get more of an input without being on the committee?” absolutely yes, what’s the point of the committee doing stuff the majority of the band don’t agree with? There may be decisions made by the committee that individuals may not agree with but the band has appointed these people to make these decisions on your behalf; three options if you feel strongly, get them changed or leave or accept it and move on.


    As to families in bands that’s another story and one I will leave for others
     
  4. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    As a committee member in my my band, I find that the majority of people don't wish to be involved in the day to day running of the band.

    For as long as I can remember, our committee meetings have always been open, and anyone who is a member of the band is welcome to come along. Needless to say, no beggar does. I hope that answers your question on the point of players not wanting pressure, but if that's the case why do they play in contests??????

    A committee should be made up of a cross section of personnel, representing all sections of the band. We have 2 bass players, a 3rd Cornet, a 2nd Horn and a co-opted 1st (Solo, if your posh) Trombone. Quite a good sample of the band, but I would like to see a front row cornet and a euph/bari to complement the rest of the sections in it's views of the band in general. Will it happen? V unlikely but one can live in hope.

    IMHO a committee meeting is not just for the AGM, but for life. Without one person in my band who is Treasurer, Secretary, and Contest Secretary, we would be up a certain Creek without a paddle. Does this mean that the decisions that are made are one sided. Of course not, but it does mean that relatively few people are voting on the issues and future of the band itself, except for the 3rd Monday in January.

    The other side to this discussion about famillies running bands is not a problem in my band, but I have seen it at close quarters in other bands. It can get to the stage of, my music, my instruments, I'm not playing anymore. That's a few against the many who will still continue to derive pleasure from other sources.

    Not bored just unemployed

    :-(
     
  5. Spanky Rear

    Spanky Rear Member

    Band politics fact or myth?

    I think the penultimate sentence in Tubafran's post sums it up. What makes anyone think that Brass Band committees would be any different from committees in general? I think it would be wise to lower your expectations of committees in general, then you won't be disappointed,but just occasionally surprised.












    Have a spanking good Christmas...........
     
  6. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Although we have some people who do the 'executive officer' bits of our committee, the band is the committee. Meetings are usually well attended and everybody is entitled to their two penn'orth. This may sound cumbersome, but works well in practice. Most people are happy to accept that, "if you don't participate, you don't get a say".
     
  7. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    although committees can be a tad rubbish, some of them do a good job now and again. I usually think it's better if they're very open about what they do. Some committees do everything behind closed doors, and the first the band hears about it is when things have got to the final stages of organisation.

    If they just went to the band after every meeting and went through the main points of what ideas they'd had, they could say "Is everyone fine with that?" and nearly every time I imagine everyone would nod and mumble and be fine. But for that one time when someone says "Actually, do you not think it'd be better if we..." and the band feels involved in the running of their band.

    And yes, family run bands (however little they like to admit that's what they are) do cause problems, but we wont go into that today... ;)
     
  8. It seems that the committee gets a "bad press" here.

    I remember once that I had a serious difference of opinion with an MD and thought at the time that my only real option was to leave that band. I was gently reminded by another player that the band wasn't owned and run by the MD, but run by the committee....... and really I should take up my grievence with them.

    This I did - and the whole matter was sorted out.

    As has been mentioned previously - if you don't like the way your committee runs the band - change it at AGM.
     
  9. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I think non-player committees are a very bad idea. Often, these committees have no idea of what it means to have a life or the realities of banding. I strongly suspect that where there are problems it is with this type of committee.

    Don't forget - it's your committee. You can change it, you can say no!
     
  10. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    I understand where people get the idea about committees, but can you imagine a band without one? Chaos!!

    As has been said before if you don't like it, change it!! Or even better, join it yourself!
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Of course the players deserve an input, it is after all the players hobby and while many committee members may be players themselves it is a group decision on what the band does and where it goes. The committee should be there simply to put the players ideas into action.

    Band politics certainly exists like it on not and it isnt just the committee, I know many individuals with their own private agendas on what the band should do and they can make a decision on what the band is going to do purely by their own rumour spreading and trouble causing which is the side of the politics I cant abide.
     
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  13. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I couldn't agree more about the fact that players should have input, but how many times have you been to an AGM, or a committee meeting with extra attendees and been greeted with a walll of silence. This in my experience is generally the case. So whilst it is a hobby for most, the same old committee get stuck with making the decisions due to the apathy of the rest of the band.
     
  14. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I can only hack being on a committee in a principal officer's role for a limited period of time.



    I agreed to take the secretarial post on because (a) no-one else would do it, (b) the incumbents were stepping down to concentrate on their wedding plans and (c) to relieve the pressure on the Chairman to find one.



    Quelle surpreez, mon capitan, that very few people would even entertain a discussion on the idea of succeeding me (though a candidate is now considering it) but some were quite happy to emit susurrations if they didn't like the way things were done.



    (Simple things, honestly. Like (a) if you get an email, answer it; (b) if you get another email asking for confirmation for a date you've confirmed earlier, answer it again; (c) let the MD (or the sec or the chair or anyone who you know is going to the rehearsal) know if you can't make a rehearsal, even if it's at the last minute; (d) Don't whinge if you turn up and find the rehearsal was moved to either a different venue or different date if you have changed your email addresses, home phone number and mobile number and not told the secretary.)



    So, come the AGM in January, I'll be stepping down as Secretary. This will free up some more time for my non band/work/cricket/tMP activities. I will of course support the new secretary, and will take on specific tasks t the request of the committee if co-opted, but will nonetheless be relieved to be free of the job of secretary.



    Will the 12 month only Sec
     
  15. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    We have a Band without a committee, but any member can express an opinion, and the "executives" (MD, Secretary and Treasurer) then react or enact.

    A Band, and hence it's committee, is only as good as it's leaders, that is the Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary for non musical administration, and the MD for all matters pertaining to music (players, pieces, programmes etc). Any other committee members should be supporting these Executives and their decisions.

    I note that everyone is shying away from commenting about "family run" bands for whatever reasons, but what we should be tackling is the apathy that allowed this situation to arise in the first place. But how do you change it?


    Alan Lafferty
    Band Secretary (two bands) probably for life!
     
  16. Xerox

    Xerox New Member

    So far this topic has not really been about band politics, its been about the normal day to day running of active bands by means of commitee or general discussion among members. REAL band politics, which all too sadly DOES exist is when one or two devious individuals who may or may not be commitee members, seek to manipulate the bands activities for their own reasons. Sometimes they even take over the commitee by insidious stirring up of groups within the membership and evil manipulation of peoples hopes and fears. Two things about this have always interested and surprised me; 1)often as not the rest of the band are ill equiped to see whats going on and that they are effectively being manipulated, and 2) how the intriguers manage to effect the outcome of commitee decisions decided by democratic disscussion.

    Over the years I have seen all sorts of sad and sorry goings on, some which don't bare repeating in the cold light of day! I've seen good players actually ousted because someone with power felt jealous, engagements cancelled because someone did'nt want to travel, new players forced to change instrument because their face did'nt fit, a black lad sent to another band because the person in the next seat did'nt want to sit next to him and HAD THE POWER to decide the issue without the rest of the band EVEN KNOWING THE SITUATION!
     
  17. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Welcome to tMP. I think the reason most posts were mainly about the committees is because the original post highlighted this aspect of banding. In fairness I think headline "myth or fact" was a bit misleading as the post didn't ask such a question.

    If committees are comparative to a government, which is related to politics, are they being manipulated by the banding equivalent of Alistar Campbell, spin doctors and lobyists?
     
  18. Xerox

    Xerox New Member

    Over the years i've met some people in bands who could have shown AC some tricks! I HATE band politics which I have always resisted (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) as it eventually destroys the band, or worse, turns it into an aimless shadow of a once happy and progressive group. Sadly, governments attract the same sort of people with the same sorts of agendas and there are sad, unhappy, aimless countries.
     
  19. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    The reason that I can see for the lack of input to this topic for the family run band, is that either people are too scared of the repercussions of talking about band / family business, or as in the case of my band, are not held to ransom by a family. I have played in a band with my brother, but this does not mean that we tried to takeover. The cricket club was a different matter completely, with 3 of us, and near Global domination.

    In respect of the thoughts on committees, it would appear that the majority of posters are actually on their bands committee and are just giving the honest truth of what it's like to try and run a band without the input of everybody. If this is deemed by some to be a machiavellian approach, then I respect your opinion, but disagree with it.
     
  20. Xerox

    Xerox New Member

    "...... If this is deemed by some to be a machiavellian approach, then I respect your opinion, but disagree with it."

    Well, its in YOUR mind!!......

    But, if the cap fits......
     
  21. six pints

    six pints Active Member

    (what does machiavellian mean...?)
     
  22. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Definition: [adj] of or relating to Machiavelli or the principles of conduct he recommended; "Machiavellian thinking

    Machiavellian

    • of, like, or befitting Machiavelli.
    • being or acting in accordance with the principles of government analyzed in Machiavelli's The Prince, in which political expediency is placed above morality and the use of craft and deceit to maintain the authority and carry out the policies of a ruler is described.
    • characterized by subtle or unscrupulous cunning, deception, expediency, or dishonesty: Example: He resorted to Machiavellian tactics in order to get ahead.
    • a follower of the principles analyzed or described in The Prince, esp. with reference to techniques of political manipulation.
    All round nasty guy
     

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