Band Sargeant VS Drum Major

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jaynne, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Jaynne

    Jaynne New Member

    The band I am currently a member of has a Band Sargeant who is too busy trying to run the band to enforce correct uniforms on members even for our Sunday in the Park performances.

    I have been elected as Drum Major and have tried to inform new younger members of the correct uniform, I have even spoken to the parent about it.

    We have a local competition coming up next week, so I reinforced the correct uniform (item in question is a belt) needs to be worn. The member in question wears a BROWN belt when our uniform code and most other bands uniform code states BLACK belt.

    Am I wrong as drum major to ensure that all members wear their uniform correctly even when we are not on parade.
  2. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    To be honest its up to your band. Some bands are "hotter" on uniforms than others - some will allow black leggings for example, others only trousers, some may insist that girls/ladies wear skirts and tights, not trousers. If your competition has a deportment prize, that may have a bearing on it if you want to try and win it.

    Personally I think that uniform should be comfortable (Ive instructed the band to remove jackets and ties at times) and that the band should be prepared to purchase items where required - for example if your person only owns a brown belt and their family doesn't have a lot of money, then the band should provide a black belt IF they want people to wear black belts

    However I would agree a black belt looks "nicer" than brown with black trousers.
  3. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Drum Major I assume equates to our good old fashioned Band manager. Unless your up and coming competition is handing out points for the colour of belts I think you may be being a tad anal about it. If however you are marked on deportment and uniform then go for your life ! Would ou sooner have the player in a brown belt, or not have the player full stop ?
    2nd tenor likes this.
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Its almost impossible to answer the question without knowing what sort of band it is (sounds Military?), what your members sign up to, and what the 'job descriptions' or responsibilities of each role are. Every band is different, and only your band can decide what works for them.
  5. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Your Band sounds to be fortunate to have "new younger members" but I would be a bit wary about chasing them about Belts etc. I would have thought getting them to play regularly to be more important
    Best of luck anyway
    2nd tenor likes this.
  6. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    If were you I would just say that as Drum Major you are to busy to be sorting out uniforms and suggest that a Uniform Enforcer does the job.
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As you say the player in question is a young person, it may simply be that she does not have access to a black belt, and couldn't afford to by one. We must be careful not to deter players by undue implimentation of rules that they may find difficult to comply with.
  8. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Good point. Is this a Brass Band or a karate club?
    ari01 likes this.
  9. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    I remember as a very young man (probably 8 or 9) turning up at a local contest in purple socks. I was marched out to the conductor's car who (in his wisdom, this being a youth band) supplied me with black socks he kept in his boot. No one had told me it was a big deal, I was well past the age where mum cared what socks I was wearing, but I knew it was important afterwards!

    Anyway, if you want to know whether your drum major role includes uniform stuff, check with the committee, and ask them to provide you with a clear and concise list of uniform expectations - which can then be forwarded to the members (including new young members as they join).

    If at all possible, avoid telling the kids off for this as it is not their fault! Sorry, but this is almost certainly caused by unclear communication from band management.

    If someone is totally aware of the uniform requirements but is not adhering to them, then it is quiet friendly word time.
    Slider1 and Accidental like this.
  10. Jaynne

    Jaynne New Member

    The type of band is brass band.

    Not sure about what the competition entails for prizes as this is the first time I have competed in the local competition.

    The uniform co ordinator is also the Secretary, so focuses more on the running of the band than uniforms. The band conductor and band sargeant as well as myself have already spoken to the parent of the young member about the belt. The response given by the parent was a belt is a belt and my child is dressed respectfully without having to follow the uniform code. Apparently the child has owned the brown belt for many years and it is too difficult to buy a black belt. Parent also stated that "No other band cares about belt colours." When I played with other bands in various grades, we were told if we can't abide by the uniform code to all degrees then where was the respect for the band and it's uniform.

    Another young member who comes from a family of 6 children was informed that the uniform code was black shoes, black socks and black belt after attending a playout in white socks, brown belt and black and green shoes. If he and his family can follow the rules I don't see why the other family (2 children with smart mouths and think they are God's gift to music. Only one plays in the band) think that the uniform code doesn't apply to them.

    I guess it could be seen as being anal about it, but the uniform code is strict on colours and the way the uniform is to be worn in some areas and a bit lax in others.
  11. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Well, that's quite difficult!

    How I would manage this from a personal perspective (it is backed up by nearly 20 years of committee service in bands of all standards around the world!):

    1 - Take this plan to band committee and get them to agree with it
    2 - Send out a notice to ALL band members being extremely specific about uniform requirements and explaining that no exceptions will be made. Players not meeting these requirements can be expect to be stood down for a performance and possibly have their membership cancelled if there are multiple offences. Players struggling to meet uniform expectations should be asked to speak confidentially to a committee member so that appropriate arrangements (ie, buying them a shirt!) can be arranged.
    3 - Follow up with whole band announcements repeating above verbally before every gig.

    This should remove and chance of 'forgetting' or 'not knowing', the only thing left is 'not caring' which should mean the sack.

    Kid thinks he is a bit good? Show him some photos of the top bands, orchestras etc in uniform. Their rules will be stricter than yours. It takes more than playing well to get an invite to those levels, attitude and professionalism is at least as important.

    Good luck!
    Jaynne likes this.
  12. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Or show him pretty much any DCI World Championship video. I was amazed to learn that it's possible to simultaneously memorise music AND play a brass instrument AND not look like a bag of manure tied up with baler twine ;)

    Regarding the belt thing - it's fine, even admirable, being quite so focussed on detail as long as (a) its consistently applied and (b) everyone in the band signs up for it. If at any point in the future you let a player off for having (for example) charcoal grey socks, or some other minor slip, your young player in question is going to feel pretty hard done to. And if his parents decide that such a strictly applied uniform code is not for them and move their child to another band, you don't want an internal revolt about uniform discipline if some players see the application of rules as needlessly over-zealous and costing the band players. In other words, what Marc said^

    As an "roadie" for a pro orchestra some years ago, we applied black gaffer tape to the ankles of a string dep who'd forgotten his black concert socks - we told him he wasn't taking the stage (and therefore getting paid) if he had his technicolour socks on. Watching him take it off afterwards was an entertainment in itself.
    Euphonium Lite likes this.
  13. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    its great you're trying to get things right, but in my experience discussions about rules/priorities and internal band politics are best kept within the band - less potential for upsets and misunderstandings that way :)

    If you've found this forum, other members of your band (including the family in question) may do too....
  14. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Whilst I agree with the comments above the post of "Drum Major" in a modern brass band is quite rare I would suggest. To me it suggests that perhaps the band in question is maybe different to a lot of others nowadays - although there are some "more traditional" bands still out there - we have a local (Non Contesting band) where all members - kids included - wear peaked caps whilst out on jobs, for example. Whilst for many that sort of thing is seen more on the faded pictures on the bandroom wall, for them its very much current and any diversion would spoil the effect they are trying to achieve. Whilst its not my cup of tea, they do have quite a few players in the ranks which would suggest that there isn't a problem with recruiting - if anything its more of a USP.
    I guess the main thing is what role were you told that Drum Major needed to undertake. If its to enforce uniforms and you have a strict dress code, then I cant see a problem. However if you take that role on yourself (because you believe that the Band Sergeant (again a term going out of fashion - many bands have a "Band Manager" nowadays) isn't doing their job you may be leaving yourself open to more problems than its worth. As mentioned elsewhere above its very difficult to accept any diversion (eg socks) if you enforce on things like belts
    Perhaps the band could look at buying uniform accessories for everyone - so when you put on your jacket you wear your specific trousers and (black) belt? The question then becomes (the more acceptable) "Why are you not wearing your uniform?"
  15. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Ahhh, I see now. The kid is a better player than you !

  16. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    So what is the difference between a band master, a band sargeant, a band manager and a drum major? Or is it all the same thing awarded to whoever is the most officious member?
  17. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    If I may take a stab in the dark at the pecking order if nothing else.

    I would say Band Master is fine, we all have one, helps the Band out greatly.
    I would go on to say Band Manager is a roll we are also used to, can be a right pain in the arse, but needed.

    Tin hat on

    Band Sargeant, is going to be a right royal pain in the arse, probably a mediocre player but with delusions of grandeur (notice the spelling of sargeant)
    Drum Major I can see as being an even bigger pain in the arse, probably a bit of a Queen (loves sparkly clothes etc) and is in charge of picking her deputy (that will be know to all in the band as "Band Sargeant")

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  18. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    I know that most bands in the UK don't care about it anymore, but here downunder where marching is a compulsory part of the national competitions, the 'drum major' role is essential, as he or she is the person who has to figure out and drill the band on the marching choreography. Like the majority of players down here, I frigging hate marching, but that is another discussion...

  19. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    So the roll does not include terrorising younger players due to the colour of the belts that hold up the strides !
  20. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    I think the question Jaynne and the band have to decide is whether the wearing of a brown belt is so wrong they are prepared to lose the player involved rather than compromise their standards.
    If it's that important to the band tell him to wear a black belt or find another band. If it's not that important move on.

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