Band secretaries - what tools/programs do you use?

Discussion in 'Computer Corner' started by Jen125, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    No; even the free version allows at least what we need for a full band plus several regular deps.
  2. Jen125

    Jen125 New Member

    Hmm, when I try to add more than 15 per group, I get a message telling me it's not possible. Are you sure you're using the free version? Or have you only got 1 group?
  3. Jen125

    Jen125 New Member

    I found the threads for Symphonix but all the links to the page are dead, and Google doesn't bring up anything relevant. And Teamer is very much directed at sports groups. I've looked at other programs like that, but it's not really ideal for bands.
  4. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Only one group; perhaps that's it ...
    Although we do use it for the Youth Band as well, but I believe that's a separate account.
  5. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    How perceptive Jen, or should I call you Sherlock?
  6. Jen125

    Jen125 New Member

  7. Jen125

    Jen125 New Member

    I was going to ask you what your experiences have been, to get some info about what other bands have done well, or done poorly, so we can avoid going down the wrong path. But it doesn't really seem like you're up for constructive conversations. I hope you find a band that offers you what you're looking for.
    mikelyons likes this.
  8. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Maybe a well-run organisation doesn't have to chase players for attendance checks because they don't want to miss a thing (inspired by Aerosmith). Exceptional absences are easy to manage.

    Here's an idea...
    • Display the gigs prominently in the bandroom
    • Draw attention to them regularly, particularly if there are new or changed gigs
    • Assume every one will be at every event (making sure every member knows this is the basis that the band operates)
    • If someone can't be there, they tell the secretary (or whoever), they write it down and get a dep if necessary. They write the dep's name down
    • Speak to those who are prone to be absent or let you down to confirm they can definitely attend (you'd need to do this under any system)
  9. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I think our approaches are too polar to accept and learn from each other.
    • You believe logging and control are the answer
    • My experience says that a) the members that need logging and controlling are those that respond badly to it because it somehow invades their feeling of voluntary commitment and b) it adds least value for those that are fine with it, because they are seldom absent and will be conscientious in making you aware when they are away
    Members join bands to play music and (for most) to enjoy the social side. Admin should be as low-key as possible in order to achieve the desired results.

    I think I read that you have 100 members to keep a track of. There's your first problem to resolve. That's too many. Divide the responsibility. Assuming this is 3-4 bands in an organisation, restrict yourself to just one of them.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  10. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    We used to harvest wheat using scythes, as well ...

    What you're describing is more or less exactly what Muzodo does; it just does it electronically. I don't see the problem.
  11. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Ah - you're a farm labourer. Let me try to explain more simply in that case:
    • With Muzudo, every member has to take action for every event
    • With the alternative suggestion, every member only needs to take action if they cannot attend
    I appreciate your keenness for using technology, so maybe as a compromise, how about using email as the recommended method of people informing of absence?
    mikelyons likes this.
  12. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    So, let me explain it simply:

    ... So, we can be confident that every member is aware of every event.

    ... So, we cannot be confident that every member is aware of every event.

    It's simple logic.

    That's why we use it, flaws and all.
  13. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    There's a difference between confidence and a false sense of confidence.
  14. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Well, we could go round in circles like this endlessly ( - I was going to say "until the cows come home" geddit? But I won't ...) to no good end, so I'm not going to.

    The bottom line seems to me to be that your attitude appears to suggest that you resent a band's administration team making any attempt to pin you down to saying "Yes, I'll definitely be there".

    And my experience says that with that attitude you're unlikely to be welcome in most of the bands that I know.
    Slider1 and Euphonium Lite like this.
  15. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    As an MD’s view…..(and as someone that has done the Sec/Band Manager role)

    I want to know IN ADVANCE if people are going to be missing from a job so I know what deps to pull in, or whether we can run with a gap.
    Likewise I want to know IN ADVANCE if people are missing from rehearsals so that I can plan the music I’m putting in front of the band (or for contest prep, which sections of the piece I’m going to be working on)

    In an ideal world jobs would be announced – people could say with reasonable certainty at the time whether they could attend. Likewise they know in advance when they are going to be away and will let me know in advance.
    (I’m going to leave the emergency absence issue as this can’t be helped and TBH is just one of those things – unless people seem to have last minute emergencies on a regular basis)

    However we don’t live in an ideal world

    Some people are more organised than others. Some have diaries (electronic or old fashioned book type) where they enter details of jobs etc, will know when theyre likely to be away and will be quite open
    Others are less disciplined, live day to day, forget about the dates by the end of rehearsal (often waiting to see if they come up on the board). Often they will forget to check at home as well, and will go for weeks without responding.
    Those on lower parts (especially if there is another player also playing that part (eg 3rd cornets) - although some "key players" have been known to be the same) – have been known to have a laisse faire attitude – "doesn’t matter if Im not there as x will be"… some of the bands I've been involved with in the past

    Personally I know I’ll forget things if I don’t write them down. So I email the band, provide the dates and ask them to respond to me. Some will respond quickly – a few within minutes – others will need several chases over the next few weeks. I keep my own spreadsheet based on their responses.

    Occasionally people will say last minute that they cant come, and I will note that at the next opportunity

    For the non-responders it only becomes an issue if they don’t turn up. I do note this – for my own use – and will “have a word” (or ask the Chairman/Band manager to do it) if it happens often. At the end of the day missing rehearsals and jobs is letting the band down, and it wouldn’t be fair if repeated “offenders” were not spoken to

    For most members, they don’t know about the spreadsheet and never will. I don’t issue prizes for attendance – this is a hobby, not school – although I can see why some bands do, and where its needed those bands have a real problem.

    Of alternate systems, one band I play for has a white board – which has rehearsals on one side, jobs on the other. You put your name on the board if youre not going to be there.

    Another band has a “crosses” board for jobs – so you put a cross on the board if you cant play – same sort of thing

    Moral of the story – control is a bind if youre an “ordinary” player with no other responsibility. Its essential if youre the one standing in the middle or are responsible for obtaining deps
    Slider1 and Accidental like this.
  16. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I can absolutely second that.

    I've seen that kind of thing work in some circumstances, however it can only work where a band has a permanent rehearsal facility; those bands who have to use hired premises - school/village halls, and the like - can't easily make that work, I don't think ...
  17. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Now now, no need to get personal ole chap.

    It's clear that you wouldn't recognise me if I turned up at your band because you've made a prejudgement about my behaviour and commitment because of the views I've expressed.
    I'm a dedicated and reliable player and amongst the first to commit to gigs regardless of what system is being used. I've also been the stick-waggler off and on for many years, therefore (as you will know) in the position where the pain is felt most when let down, so know the importance of having reliable players.

    I'm sure Muzudo works well for many organisations and I'm pleased about that. I've also seen bands expecting such technology to be the silver bullet that resolves attendance issues. It doesn't.
    Bands have members that are low maintenance; you can rely on them attending most of the time and being conscientious in informing when they can't. Then there are those (as you wrongly assumed about me), who don't want to commit, are reluctant to let you know either way. It's these people that are time-consuming for the admin team and in my experience, the technology becomes another excuse and barrier to them not committing; "I didn't get the email", "I thought I'd replied", "I don't use the computer often", "why can't I just tell you?" etc.

    I roll my eyes (internally of course) most weeks when the secretary reminds everyone to complete the online attendance sheet, knowing that the following week there'll be a manual verbal check on imminent gigs because only a few have completed it; in the same way that we used to when harvesting the wheat with scythes!
  18. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I'm not getting personal. As you rightly say, I don't know who you are, so I can only form opinions based on what you write, and I'm not accusing you of anything; that's why I'm careful to use language like "your attitude appears to suggest", rather than "your attitude is", precisely because I don't know.
    But in any case, I've already acknowledged (in post #10) that Muzodo isn't "the ideal solution, and it has some definite shortcomings", and I'm certainly not claiming that it's any kind of silver bullet. But that's not to say it has no value. And that's the kind of thing that I think the OP wanted to know.
  19. David Evans

    David Evans Active Member


    Hello Jen, I would urge you to try Muzodo. We tried the free version and within a couple of weeks one of the basses paid £40 for the proper version which does a huge amount of routine admin for us. You are allowed a free months trial of the pro version anyway so you can give it a proper workout.
    Muzodo is actually written by the principal cornet of a brass band in Vancouver and his support is exceptional. He replies within hours and is very happy to introduce new features should you need them. It is certainly nice to think that the money is going to a brass bander, notwithstanding his being a cornet player.

    Our band doesn't have much money, no instruments, little music, no venue but we will certainly pay the fee from band funds when due. The only downside is that one or two players need a lot of cajoling to reply but they have improved over the year and by and large we can get responses within 24 hours for a potential gig. We can tell straightaway who is coming to rehearsal and it also allows players to give ample notice without getting a bollocking from anyone.
  20. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Apology accepted.

    One might say that attempts to use language like 'seem' etc. were a shallow gesture to seem like the good guy because they broke down in your last paragraph when the language was direct.

    There was no need to be personal. My comments and views have been critical of the system and subject, but not posters.