Bands playing badly

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alanl58, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Sorry Mods, this could easily be merged with "Bands locked out of Tesco's", or that similar thread.

    But my point is that I recently had the misfortune to hear a local Town Band playing outside a supermarket and they were, well best described as "awful".

    No names, no pack-drill, and I doubt if the Band concerned even knew that they had a more than slightly critical listener. One player had clearly never heard of key signatures, everything being in C! (A "tenor" part player since I know my own baritone parts quite well!), The solo cornet had not bothered to warm his/her instrument up properly, and the euph player seemed to lack the manual dexterity required to add texture to common carols. The bass section - at 5 players, too many for the rest of the "ensemble" - were ok considering the cold conditions, but obviously overpowering the other instruments; but the volunteer players for carols in such conditions can often produce the wrong instrumentation.

    So what sort of impression does this create of the brass band movement? Will they ever recruit any new players? Will they ever raise enough money for a new piece of music? Will they ever be able to pay for a competent tutor? Will they be able to command an audience on the bandstand next summer?

    I hope, for their sake, that the answer is "yes", but just hope that someone will tell them to either stay at home and practice a bit more before they venture out, or call it a day and let another Town Band have the favoured collecting spot outside the supermarket.

  2. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    So what you saying Alan? How would you police that? Are you saying that bands shouldn't be allowed to play unless of a certain standard or that they should concede any performing rights to higher standard bands so we only have champ/section 1 bands playing in public?

    I totally agree a band should always be well rehearsed before playing in public but cannot subscribe to the precedent you are setting here. Would you prefer if no band at all played? What would that do for the banding movement then?
  3. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    No No No!

    I am merely making the point that sometimes bands do the movement no favours by playing badly. Heaven forbid that it should be "policed", or "vetted", but how do you tell someone that they have BO? (interpret that as you wish).

  4. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    I've had to do that twice at work in as many days. Different people too!
    I'll concede that bands playing badly doesn't necessarily help our cause (Our including the bad bands!) but if you didn't have bad bands you wouldn't have good ones as they would all be of the same standard and where would that leave us all? No contests etc!
    I don't know, maybe I'm just playing devil's advocate here I really do see where you're comin from Alan but maybe it's just me getting the wrong end of the stick!

    PS Can I still come to Cornwall :p
  5. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    Presumably this was an adult band and not a junior/learners' band?

    I've played in enough bad bands to know that this bad band probably don't know how bad they are!
  6. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    I've played in some bad bands (and good) and I'll bet you're right Brian, they won't have the faintest idea. They were probably dead chuffed with their performance!
  7. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Well I am coming from the viewpoint that if you want the public to contribute to whatever you are trying to raise funds for, the least you can do is put on a half "professional" performance.

    And, yes, of course you can still holiday in Cornwall......he!he!

  8. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    I agree Alan, but what if you don't know what a half "professional" performance sounds like?
  9. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    I totally agree with you there Alan, they should but in order to do that they have to be "aware" that they haven't put a good performance on, and let's face it we've ALL had bad days :)

    See you in sunny Cornwall then hehe! I could stop off in Devon as I have a friend who plays in a band there, could turn out to be a good weekend!
  10. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    okay, playing devils advocate here now.

    Why don't we go a step further with this thought about a "half decent pro performance" and have a good think about a) our Christmas concerts, and the quality of performance we give and b) dare I say it (yeah, I do cos I don't need to be popular and this is a discussion forum) the standard of playing on the pieces many bands (some top section, but certainly not all) that we stick on a CD?

    yeah, okay,we may be trying to appeal to a minority audience BUT if the only brass band that "they" hear that year (or whatever) is "that brass band", be it a unregistered band outside Tesco et al or Cory band with Cantorian on "that Welsh Bloke's Cd in the Classical Music Charts" then haven't we all got a duty to represent our movement in the best possible light?

    (sorry Guys and Girls at Cory, no offence meant - you have done a cracking job of raising the profile of Brass Band movement in the public eye. My Mother even bought the CD for a friend from Wales this Christmas who knows nothing about brass bands or choirs purely on your chart position and my description of Delilah! Mostly your chart position though, not sure she really trusts my judgement!)
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
  11. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    To be honest a lot of members of the public don't realise if a band is good or bad. I helped out a local band (who shall remain nameless) this Christmas and to put it bluntly they're appalling. Their conductor knows it and he is doing his best to try and get reasonable performances but with a lot of juniors/learners in the band and a nucleus of a few adult players who think they're wonderful he can only do so much. When we've been out playing carols etc we have done what I consider to be an awful performance and I never cease to be amazed at how many people come up and tell me they've enjoyed it, how good the band is and nice it is to see a band playing

    At Christmas people do get nostalgic and as long as the band is playing a carol they recognise the majority have no idea if it was good, bad, if the band was in tune or balanced etc. All they want is the romantic traditional idea of a brass band playing carols at Christmas
  12. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Ah! but what if, as in my case, even I could not recognise what was being played?

  13. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    In a word, no. AFAIC they represent the band they play for not the movement as a whole. Similarly just because I hear one bad covers band in a pub I don't instantly think that all covers bands are equally as bad.
  14. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    If you didn't recognise/know what was being played how did you know it was wrong/awful?

  15. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Takes us back to whether or not to play an unrehearsed Frosty the Snowman.....
  16. mr b

    mr b Member

    Hi Alan,

    If we cast our minds back to when we first started out, how good or bad were we ?

    Perhaps you have played or been trained to a standard where wrong notes & missed key signatures are not acceptable. Dont get me wrong it is good practice to get things correct but players do not intentionally play things wrong.

    Its not wrong for you to spot these mistakes either, but probably the general public did not notice or have no idea as to which parts were incorrect.

    Im sure we have all been to a concert or listened to another band at some point and thought it sounded not too hot & then the audiance applaudes like england have just scored a goal !(mmm another topic perhaps?)

    The good thing about banding is out there somewhere is a band that suits your commitment level, ability, travel etc & just maybe that was the case with the band you heard.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
  17. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    For the last two days I have heard a local band playing some of the more obscure christmas tunes in the town centre and the standard was poor. I must admit I was very under impressed and unsympathetic to them. Another local band went out carolling around the local hotels and pubs with a cornet, tenor horn and BBb Bass that apparently was also very poor. I think bands need to be careful of the image they portray to the general public, even if it is just carolling.
    I know we need to raise funds but at what cost to the reputation of the movement?
  18. Forest Gump

    Forest Gump Member

    Whats all this movement ****, you try your best with what you have, people let you down it's a fact, on Saturday at a Supermarket i had to play the solo line on a flugel due to being let down on the day. (nomally a bass player). The last thing we were thinking about was the so called Movement, anyway whats the movement ever done for non-contesting bands like ours.
    Basically top section players would rather not be associated with poor lower section bands. :mad:
  19. MissRepiano

    MissRepiano New Member

    Surely our opinion of a 'good' performance is going to be a lot higher than other members of the public as we're constantly critisising our own performance and probably have a more musical ear. Members of the public are probably grateful to hear any music, especially if it's their local band. Adds to the Christmas spirit!!
  20. fireborn

    fireborn Member

    OK, My first post.
    Being brought up in a SA band many years ago in Scotland, I thought our band was great. Then as I got better as a player, my standards also got higher. Then went to study at Salford with my euphonium 1989-1993. So my standards got much higher again. Now I can't bear to listen to that SA band. Only as I got better as a player did my listening ear get better and my standards get higher. The general public at large do not have such standards except for the musicians amongst them. You just need to watch X factor to see the multitudes of thousands that actually think that they have musical talent when clearly many of them don't.
    I do believe however, that we as musicians should always give our best to the public even if it is just for Christmas carolling. And MD's should not allow unrecognisable performances of Christmas carols or any other piece of music (by unrecognisable I mean music way beyond the standard of the players) to be heard by the public. Many small SA bands every year are able to go out into the public with their Christmas carols, while not of championship section standard, at least everyone playing in the same key, and the correct notes in the right order, and the public generally do enjoy this at Christmas. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for others bad playing, but we can be responsible for our own playing and development, and MD's should be responsible for their bands performance. Anyway, bit of a ramble for my first post. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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