Banding and Other Commitments

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by skiosbod, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. skiosbod

    skiosbod New Member

    Why oh why oh why after you move to a new band, you tell them that you do odd shift work hours, you're working away from home, you have a pregnant wife etc. do band secretaries keep pestering about why you're not turning up for rehearsals and continually phoning and e-mailing you? It's bad enough finding a job in any part of the country at the moment but when you get hassle like this you think why am I playing at all? I'm now at a stage where I'm leaving a band for this very reason and maybe for good.

    Aren't any modern bands flexible at all to the needs of the individual trying to work to pay off a mortgage and feed his family?
  2. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    The problem is not that people don't turn up, it's not advising when they will be missing. Imagine if half the band just decided not to turn up without advising anyone. There is nothing more annoying than turning up to band practice and expecting a pretty much full turnout only to find 15 people!
  3. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    My experience is that band secretaries almost everywhere are always desperately looking for deps as so many players have other commitments and can't make the jobs that they said they could do a few weeks earler.

    I hate missing jobs but my work has to come first and my travel plans are constantly changing. I get really annoyed when I travel literally hundreds of miles to get back for a band job, so as not to let the team down, only to find that people working locally can't be bothered to put themselves out.

    In some areas there are just too many bands and not enough players so everybody is always struggling (particularly for marching jobs!). I have often wondered why so many bands struggle on, swimming against the tide, when consolidation would make everyone's life easier. I suppose the sad fact is that past rivalries, fall outs, how to divide band funds and instruments, who should conduct, what type of band will emerge, committee members defending their powerbase and a reluctance to accept that there is a decline, all have an impact.

    In some cases I think that bands have to take on too many jobs to get the money in, that just adds to the pressure.
  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Both of these posts hit nails on heads. I think (nearly!) everybody understands that players have a life outside banding, that bills have to be paid, etc. - as long as the relevant people know in advance who's going to be missing it shouldn't be a massive problem. From a conducting point of view it's very hard to plan rehearsals or concert programmes if you don't know who's going to be there until the day.

    As far as the OP is concerned if the band are kept informed when you're going to be absent but are STILL hassling you, then probably a move to a band that can cope with lower commitment levels is in order! There are plenty around, as long as you don't expect championship standard playing ;)
  5. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I have recently moved to Leeds for work reasons but come back to Buxton (which is 1 1/2 hr away) for friday rehearsals only, its a band of high committment and attendance they understand my circumstances and I do make there rehearsals and play (I think!!) at the required standard. We have alot of young players and it isn't a good example if people are missing alot of rehearsals.

    My question to you skiosbod is, are you meeting the bands required standard and committment levels? If not I think it maybe best to find somewhere else that meets your reuirments maybe a lower section perhaps. A band can only play well together if everyone puts in there committment which does require turning up to rehearsals regulaly.

    I have tried to find bands in Leeds area that are to high of standard for me to just turn up and attend there rehearsals.
  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    A very large part of it is for the individual to decide what's most important to them.

    Obviously, nobody in a band would expect a player to miss work for band - however if the player (for example) works a shift that clashes with a band rehearsal every week, then perhaps they need to be thinking about either changing their shifts or changing their band.

    A lot depends on frequency. I missed a rehearsal the other week because some rock concert ticket's I'd had booked for months came through with a covering note telling me the gig was now moved to a monday from a wednesday. Prior to that I'd missed about 3 co-op rehearsals in 6 years - so it seemed reasonable to miss just that one.

    However if, for example, I was constantly booking tickets to go see bands and missing rehearsals all the time, I'm pretty sure my bandmates would take a pretty dim view of it, and rightly so.

    The other problem is that as soon as one person starts to miss for any old reason, everyone else in the band seems to think it's OK and attendances suffer.

    In order to play at a certain level, one requires a certain level of effort and commitment. It's up to the individual to decide what level they can offer, and pick a level of banding where that level - all other considerations included - is acceptable.
  7. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I don't like the assumption that if I miss a job/rehearsal/contest or whatever, its because I 'can't be bothered making the effort' has the right to judge ANYONE else's life or right whatsoever. Ultimately, although it may be taken more seriously by some people than others, banding is a hobby....its not a job/wife/children/family.....all of which are more important to some people...and that's just the way it is.

    I don't care if I've 'made an effort' to get to a rehearsal, and there are people missing, because I always think the best of people and choose to believe that they would be there if they could.

    This is because I have had people in the past say such wonders as 'can't you just get a babysitter?' (coz its that easy, and not at all unreasonable to have to pay up to £20 to come to band) when I've not been able to attend a rehearsal due to hubby's work committments.....or even 'can't he work on a different day?'....yeah coz his office would be really impressed with that ('sorry I can't commission this design because my wife has to sit in a rehearsal for 2 hours, which isn't compulsory or paid for in any way').

    Also...its a two way thing....there have been instances in the past where my husband has given up work (well-paid weekend work) due to contest rehearsals that have subsequently been cancelled due to not having a conductor.....the last time this happened we lost over £1500 worth of money that would've paid for our holiday that now we've made the decision that work comes before do the kids...and as do each of us (me and hubs).
  8. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Having conducted before, there's no doubt it is incredibly frustrating when you turn up to band only to have people either not turn up or text you at the last minute saying they won't be there. It completely disrupts my plans for the session.

    But the fact is, not everyone can turn up for everything. The problems are when absenses are persistent and/or unplanned.

    Like Andi tho, I have (I believe) a very strong attendance record over the last five years of banding (I can count the number of rehearsals I missed at Hade Edge on one hand), and HATE it when people don't turn up, especially when you end up with around 12-13 at a rehearsal when you know realistically there should be 20.

    What can you do when people work shifts tho? There can't be a limitless supply of willing, able, 9-5 working banders.
  9. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Nail..... head!

    Most of us do accept that people have lives outside band and there's times when people get stuck at work, kids get sick etc etc.
    What I have a problem with is players who aren't considerate enough to let the band know when they're not going to be there, or who are consistently late - other peoples empty chairs are unneccessarily annoying!

    To the OP -are you always absolutely clear with your new band sec about when you're going to be missing? If yes, then maybe its time to find a new band. If not.....
  10. skiosbod

    skiosbod New Member

    Thanks to all but I had a shift job in South Wales then became redundant. I had a good band there who were willing to rehearse at my convenience (A championship band by the way). I found a good job in North Wales (over 4 hours drive away) but it has 12 hour shifts every 3 days/nights from 8am to 8pm and I am constantly on call for absentees. I try to make rehearsals when I can but I need to go home occasionally to sort out paperwork and see my family. I explained this to my new band but although I gave them a diary of my work pattern and days I go home I still receive calls about what I'm doing
  11. westoe_horn

    westoe_horn Member

    I think thats the key.

    In times gone by when being in a pit was linked to your job - pit and works bands etc. - full rehearsals must have been the norm. Now life is different and people are busy and have other commitments BUT it doesn't take a lot to drop a text in plenty of time before a practice to say you won't be there
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    External commitments that interfere with rehearsals and gigs is something that has always been with group hobbies. It's up to both parties to decide if a compromise can be reached. It's a bit unfortunate in skiosbod's case that this compromise has not been fully understood. Questions must be raised with the committee why they are hassling him.
  13. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    Times have changed;

    I once played in a band that had people who had jobs, families, pressures,mortgages-------------but they never missed band practice. Yes there was an odd occassion where circumstances were unavoidable and people missed, but that was the exception rather than the norm.

    For last 10 years or so, average attendance is sub 20, in fact closer to 15--------with a get together 2 weeks before a contest.If I was being honest, in some instances, the work/family excuses are used at times because people can't be bothered attending some nights. Players no longer see it as a team game, and if not attending people don't see it impacts the team both in terms of morale and musically.

    Times have changed.Sadly.
  14. honey bun

    honey bun Active Member

    I personally think its unfair of the band to hassle you skiosbod especially when you've told them in advance- and been honest with them - which is more than a lot of players would do. Players are hard enough to find at the moment - especially Bb basses!
    A player with us was on shift work for years and we respected that. Then his shift pattern changed and now makes all rehearsals. If we'd have hassled him we would have lost a dedicated player to some other band.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  15. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I don't know anyone who uses work/family as an excuse...I personally refuse to pay up to £20 to come to band...not because I work (I don't) but because my husband is expected to work....he can't justify to his bosses not being able to do shift/weekend work because I'm at could he justify that to all the lads who are 'under' him and work all the hours god sends? I fully support him in this.

    There are also people who have played in our band where they've said right from the beginning that their circumstances would mean that they would not be at every rehearsal...bands have no right to hassle people when they've been honest from the start.

    Actually the more I think about it, the more it annoys me lol! When looking at new players for the band, surely whoever gets them along should know a bit about their background BEFORE asking them to join the band? Of course people's circumstances change, and as long as everyone is honest...why should there be a problem?

    There is more of problem with people 'picking and choosing' what rehearsals/concerts they go to based on how good a player they think they in 'I don't need to go to every rehearsal because I can already play my part' or 'I don't do concerts...I'm a contester'.....but bands get what they deserve when they allow players to act like my opinion.
  16. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Sounds to me like you've done everything that can be reasonably expected of you in terms of advising people of your movements and if they keep asking you where you are the problem may actually be with the band's (or the secretary's) own organisational skills.

    By giving them this info you give them the opportunity to let you know if your commitment is not sufficient for them.

    If you have done as you say, i see no problem. It's up to the band now.
  17. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    Yes, you make a lot of valid points. As I say, times have changed. I do know people who have told porkies about family and work to miss band, so I have experienced people doing this.Parents nights, travelling abroad, working late----------it was all porkies.

    I think its up to the individual and also how the band is managed.........Does a player want to be in a picnic band, where you come along when the mood suits(and make emotional excuses about work/family when you can't be bothered),and enjoy your hobby that way----------OR--------be part of a team that work and rehearse together, then when the time comes(concert/contest) the musical satisfaction of performing as a team being so gratifying.

    Best times of my banding life was 25 palyers, 3 percussion at most rehearsals, and building works of music up to perform to the best of your ability.As well as being a musical bond in doing this, there was also an emotional one. Fantastic times. For me, you can't beat that feeling, and that at one time, attratced me to be in bands.

    Maybe an old fashioned view, but simply not to turn up or make up a story for not being there is very disrespectful to conductor and fellow band members alike. Sadly, today, I din't think everyone sees it that way.Times have changed.
  18. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    But I've found that the people who feel the most strongly about people missing rehearsals are those in the band who DON'T seem to have any other committments...single people, with no other hobbies...who go to work, then come to band, and would come to band every night if they could, and can't get their heads around how that is different for those of us who love banding, and take it VERY seriously, but still have other more pressing priorities in their lives.

    I miss very few rehearsals...and have recently paid twice to come to band (me and other half play in seperate bands and there have been a couple of rehearsal/concert clashes)....these people with hardly any other committments, wouldn't pay to come to band...I know it...yet they can criticise people like me who miss maybe 3 or 4 rehearsals a year? I don't think so....

    I think its all about 'fairness' in banding nowadays. People just cannot afford to give up work...they just can't.

    Like I say, the biggest problem as far as people missing rehearsals, are those who think they are 'too good' to come to band when they are needed.

    The flip side also...those who come to every rehearsal, but never pick their instruments up between them.....I'd rather have a player who missed a few, but practised and was able to play their parts, than a 'passenger' who toddles along twice a week, but may as well leave their instrument in the bandroom for all the looking at it gets between rehearsals.
  19. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    In my band that IS a full turnout.
  20. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    I am agreeing with most you say.....and not trying to preach to the converted..........but people who have other hobbies that impact going to rehearsals in bands I play for I would prefer they joined picnic bands. For me to travel 60 miles to a rehearsal straight from work to be told "Jimmy wont be there its his Poker night" to me is unacceptable. You are either in a band or out it. Not criticising people who have other hobbies,just not interested in their other hobbies. Singular focus for me-------enjoy making music-----oh, and winning!:clap:

Share This Page