Brass Band Questionnaire

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alexh, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. alexh

    alexh New Member

    Hi, please fill in this questionnaire, I am researching brass bands for a uni project. :cool:


    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?





    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?





    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?





    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?





    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?





    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?






    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?





    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?




    Thanks! :)
     
  2. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    WOW - cheeky first post eh;)

    I am sure you will get some replies, but you might get more of a response if people can see you have actually contributed something to tMP in the form of posts/threads etc.
     
  3. Splitone

    Splitone Member

    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?

    Sometimes, yes they do. They can and often project a traditional, and old fashioned image. Not, always a justified image. Quite often I get the impression that people see a brass band, and listen with their eyes, not actually taking proper note (no pun intended) of what the band is playing. Whilst 'Brassed Off' raised the profile of banding, it probably also set us back a good few years in terms of image, and programming. For instance, the William Tell Overture was the National test piece in 1912, not as portrayed sometime in the nineties. This didn't reflect the change in both standard, and style of test piece played today. On the other hand, it was a good example of playing the music that would attract an audience, traditional and old fashioned, yes, but also the music that puts bums on seats.

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?

    More females are involved in banding, especially at the top level. The standard of playing required has risen dramatically over the past twenty or so years in all sections. Contest Music and Fireworks were rejected originaly as been unplayable, but now don't even compare with some of the more recent test pieces. Those, I think are positive points, on the negative side there is now a lot more money involved. I know that is how some people earn a living, but, I'm not sure that some of the honesty and integrity of contesting has gone with the introduction and influence of money.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?

    We have to largely play what our audiences want to hear. They are paying to listen, and should be entertained. However, that doesn't mean we cannot educate them by including something new. We don't want to put them off, but, we must introduce them to new styles and sounds if they are to remain interested. Also, by and large, I think bands stick with the same programme in the pad for far too long. If you change two pieces and a solo every concert, before long, you have a new programme, and without too much effort. How many times, have you guested with a band, and found the music the same as the last time you helped them out. If it gets boring for us playing it, then it also gets boring for those regular supporters of a band who have to listen to it!

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?

    It has helped to raise the standard of playing, and has increased the original repertoire available to bands in all sections. However, sometimes I feel that the music has been sacrificed for the sake of making the piece almost a technical impossibility.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?

    When appropriate, yes. Not all occasions/concerts suit a fifteen minute test piece, but by and large it is possible to fit some form of contest piece into a programme. We spend months of rehearsals just for a short contest performance, and then too often the piece goes back into the library, never to see the light of day again. Why not put it into a concert, but don't announce it as a 'Test Piece'. That puts some people off, but, tell them its an overture, or a suite, and they think it's super.

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?

    Definitely. Orchestras, big bands, and even some pop groups, are uniform in their appearance, so why not brass bands?

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?

    Yes. Bands that appear in their local community quite often encourage youngsters to take up an instrument, that is good for the community, and the future of banding. And, of course there is the entertainment we provide, or the sense of occasion when playing at Remembrance parades, or memorial services.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?

    Without a doubt. Playing in a band encourages team work and discipline, it educates. It gives the opportunity to make friends, to travel. It provides a ready made social life, when you move to a new area and join a new band. Yes, playing football does the same, but the opportunities in banding are available over a greater part of our lives, than most sports.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2006
  4. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member


    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?
    Appearance wise, for gala parades they do, but for marching in things like Rememberance Sunday and sit down concerts it looks right wearing jacket/blazer things. They're also very sort of not cool and sad. Probably cause noone knows what they are in schools.

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?
    Not much only started 4 years ago.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?
    Need more new pieces cause they get a bit repeatative.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?
    Havnt done many.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?
    Yeh! If it sounds good and the band won't kill the MD if they choose to :p

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?
    I already did that one! Could do with a less formal one for galas and stuff like that. But band uniforms already cost alot...

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?
    Yep, we do galas, rememberance days and caroling of course so we get people wanting to learn.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?
    Err bit far ahead! Yeah cause theres a really great atmosphere and you learn loads! Some not very band related...



    Thanks! :) [/quote]
     
  5. alexh

    alexh New Member

    New directions or temporary diversions?

    Thanks guys, your opinions are very helpful! And I totally agree with Splitone that bands definitely play the same programmes too often. It really won't be too hard to change them, but I think some bands are too afraid to try new things in case they move too far away from what seems comfortable.

    Parc & Dare are launching a new project called Electric Brass in June 06, where they're coupling together different mediums - one example is an electric violin with brass band. We'll have to see how this works with the audience, but at least they're making an effort to break away from the 'traditional' repertoire. But like Fairey's band's 'Acid Brass' CD, i'm not sure if these projects are new directions or temporary diversions? Perhaps bands could always try new things, but will always turn back to their 'traditional' programmes? What do you think?
     
  6. 1. Yes. Young people see them as uncool and for 'old people'. Perhaps because schools do not highlight the 'fun' elements within them.

    2. Politics... bands have become far more political than they used to be. And the loss of social element in them.

    3. More changes in reportoire needed. Perhaps introduce more variety into the programme.

    4. mixed. Contests need to be more appealing to the less musical people in terms of the actual pieces. Pieces need to take into account the problems in finding players and be made playable for bands with fewer percussionists for example.

    5. Yes providing the music will appeal to the audience and fits the occasion.

    6. I think that band uniforms should be kept the same. It's tradition and i think that its part of the appeal for the audience to see a band turned out looking smart, but there should be provisions made for out door playing in wet weather!

    7. Yes... especially at christmas times... its nice to hear bands playing carols and puts people in the spirit. Also it encourages young players to want to learn.

    8. Yes definitely. Its a wonderful place to meet like minded friends and keep busy. I have been banding since i was 7 and loved every minute of it!! the tradition needs to be kept up!
     
  7. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    Happy banding!!!
     
  8. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Nice to see you using your first post usefully Alex, and that you have been busy today with your work. Just arrived back from concert in Bath and don't really want to fill in a questionnaire at this point.....3.52am!! hee hee

    I think you know my opinions anyway.

    Speak to you soon,
     
  9. I wrote a long set of answers but my blinking browser crashed! Here are my 2 main points, anyhow :) -

    1. was the same as Yonhee's about the uniforms. Twirly decoration, brash colours and old-fashioned seaside revue jackets from the 1950s do nothing for the image today. They are like Tom Jones trying to entertain people wearing a spinning bow tie and plus fours. It's ok ish for a formal event, along with the usual black trousers or skirts. But for a lighter occasion, like a fete or an outdoor festival, we need something more casual and less stuffy. We especially need to ditch jackets altogether on warm days, as the public respond empathically by feeling as hot as we look; clothing today is more functional than symbolic.

    2. similar to what alexh says about Parc & Dare. I love the sound of a brass band, and I like playing in bands as they are. But to the public we are a group of inert, seated players, who concentrate purely on producing music, and expect the audience to be sufficiently entertained by it. People demand more excitement these days; their lives are faster, their minds operate at twice the speed, and their senses are tuned up (jk). Pop bands, wind bands, quartets (very often), and the best travelling stage performances all mix in whatever is appropriate to the music - other intruments, voices, props, movement, quirky personalities, etc in the name of entertainment. For public performances a brass band could do the same, keeping the same sound, but adding a whole lot more.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2006
  10. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?

    We suffer from "Floral Dance" syndrome, people think we just play that. For instance, Brassed Off was a good film, but it's not a film about brass bands. It's a film about the decline of colliery communities, seen through the members of the local brass band. The difference is subtle, but audiences don't see the subtlety.

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?
    The top bands have advanced a long way musically, and are equal to if not better than the top orchestras.
    Lower down it's more tricky, a lot of bands have died, lottery money tends to go to "multi -cultural" projects and banding is seen as a white middle-class pastime (which is odd given Brassed Off) and gets less funding. However those bands that persevere and work hard do well.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?
    It is always a case of "He who pays the piper calls the tune". If you're playing the Bridgewater for people who appreciate the latest pieces, great. If you're playing the local park for those who'll listen, the programme is somewhat different!
    This is no different to orchestras, mind you. Or Pavarotti.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?

    Most OK, just the odd one that's too hard. The ideal contest piece would be one that is so hard only 3 bands in the section can play it. Then the adjudicators job is easy!

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?

    Yes, as long as it suits the audience. But that applies to all music.

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?

    If you look good, your audience will forgive the odd slip. If you look scruffy, they won't forgive anything.

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?

    Show me another local music group that does as many concerts, does as much for charity, is as visible, is open to all. If you can.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?

    Without question. My kids won't be hanging round some street corner frightening old ladies. Doesn't matter if they're singing, dancing, playing, whatever. Kids need an interest, and if they're musical a band is better than any. Show me any organisation that gives facilities and/or equipment and tuition (worth £1000's) for free? Not so many. You want to go to karate, dancing, football, etc? Gonna cost you, a lot. All most brass bands ask is your time. Not many organisations give you so much for so little.
     
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  12. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member




    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?


    yeh, i guess they do. lots of young people think its really 'uncool' when you say you're in a brass band. Not sure what could be done about it, but i think alot of people that arent into banding think thats its full of older people, with not many youngies

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?


    Not many, but thats probably 'cause im only 17! the main differences since a while ago though are probably more women and more young people.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?


    erm, thats a bit general - it depends on the concert! i think sometimes bands should look at what kind of audience they are expecting, and plan their programme accordingly - not put too many heavy pieces on if its a light concert etc

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?


    its good, nice to have a new piece to play every now, and often even testpieces you start off hating grow on you! sometimes they arent very nice to play/listen to though, and seem to be hard for the sake of being hard.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?

    if its a decent piece then yeah, why not!

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?


    definately need one, as then you look like more of a proffessional organisation.


    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?


    yeh, i guess so. brass bands are always at remembreance parades etc so i suppose so!


    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?

    indeedy! i've already got my cousin into the local youth band, so banding's speading round the family! its a great way of making new friends etc, and there are loads of youth bands around now, so would definately try and get my kids into banding (not that im planning on any for a looong long time lol!)

    Hope that helps x
     
  13. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?



    Well..... my band are having an open morning this weekend and mum (band secretary) posted information and posters etc to school local to band.... and she had a rather interesting conversation with a head of music at a secondary school..... who thought (a) the band is like the salvation army... and (b) all we do is marches and hymns! So if thats how the general public views us its very sad and yes there is a big image problem!

    The best way to overcome it in my eyes would be for the public too see more brass bands.... especially on the TV and at lots more public events! and also for brass banding to not be portrayed as a really sad pastime.... I watched a drama on the televison a few weeks ago and there was a lad in it who played trombone and he was portrayed as a sad pathetic losery type person :(

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?



    Well considering I've been involved with banding all my life in some way or other... you'd expect a lot.... but I've only been really into for the last couple of years.... as I'd only just got back into playing then!

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?



    Some bands have fantastic concert repertoire, but some just aren't entertaining enough.... if you want people to like brass bands you have to play stuff that (a) they know and have heard of (b) that isn't going to make them fall asleep and (c) especially if its an open air summer concert, nothing better than a good old sing a long!

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?



    I've loved all the test pieces I've played! and pretty much all that I've listened too.... most of these have been the newer test pieces.... some of the old stuff really needs to be put on a bonfire!

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?


    Largely depends on the type of contest... on the whole I would say no.... unless there is a particularly nice movement that maybe features a soloist and the band did well on the testpiece at a contest.


    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?



    Call me sad.... but I like them! Our concert jackets are black dyke wannabe Jackets and I LOVE THEM!!! They make you feel and look all professional.... and I think to some degree you feel more confident in your nice black dyke wannabe jacket and you play better! I'm so keen on our walking out jackets.... we look like a load of bus drivers! (they're kind of pinky red!) My opinion might be changed when I get my new one that fits me though!


    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?



    Yes I think we do.... especially down in devon.... as they're are very few brass bands and in fact music ensembles of any kind. We're also undergoing a restart of our training band which can only be a good thing!

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?


    I won't be recommending it.... they WILL be playing in a band whether they like it or not! :tongue: ok .... so I won't be that harsh.... but I will definately be reccomending it... if and when I have kids!
     
  14. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?



    Yes, old-fashioned and boring. Most peoples view of brass bands is based on what they see/hear at fetes and carnivals rather than concerts/contests. Maybe we should look at a different target audience, maybe the classical music listener could be persaded to listen to more brass bands if they actually heard a good one.

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?



    More music studenst at top bands, less band loyalty, bigger difference in standards through the sections.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?



    You have to play what your audience wants, I would feel cheated if I went to hear a top band and they did'nt play something that me(my band) could'nt tackle, but if my band played 2 test pieces in a concert our audience would hate it.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?



    I would like to see more new pieces, new composers and new adjudicators.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?


    See answer 3 above - if your audience will appreciate it then play it.

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?



    You have to look the part for a concert but personally I would rather not wear a neavy uniform, shirt buttoned up at the collar and bow-tie for a contest. I don't wear them in a rehearsal so why at a contest? Maybe T-Shirt/Sweatshirt in band colour would be more comfortable and they would be 'uniform' (i.e. look the same)

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?



    Music at schools in the county where I live is very poor, bands are one of the few ways for kids to be introduced to 'real' music.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?


    Both my children learnt to play in our junior band, my daughter has stopped now (prefers singing and dancing but still appreciates good music) my son plays with a local band.
     
  15. welshraz

    welshraz Member

    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?
    I think that many people's ideas of what a brass band is, are usually old fashioned and a clichè. I don't think that we have an image problem, I just think that people outside of the brass band world usually can't be bothered to find out what it is really all about. My partner was really surprised to find out how much hard work and effort (not to mention the drinking) goes into our rehearsals etc. and my work collegues are amazed at the kind of things that brass banding has led me to (touring America and NZ, performing for Nelson Mandella just to mention a few).

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?

    When I started (about 15 years ago), there were a lot more children and young people involved. And the band that I played fo at the time seemed to do much more concert work than we do. We did a great deal of caroling etc at Christmas, going around pubs and clubs, we did concerts in the bandstand and people actually wanted to be in band. Now I find the emphasis is on contesting (which I don't mind as I love contest day) but people don't seem to care as much as they did about the welfare and future of the band. For example, we have our very first contest on Saturday in the second section, and we had a rehearsal last night with all the trombones missing, 3 basses missing, 2 solo cornets and 1 backrow missing. And it's not a one off.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?
    I agree that many bands tend to play the same thing over and over again. But I think that such emphasis is put upon contesting that band have to have a concert programme that they can fall back on time and time again. There are great pieces out there, but sometimes there just is not enought time to work on them.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?
    I love test pieces, and there is usually something in each one that I can get my teeth into. There is a great selection out there with plenty of scope for differing abilities or tastes.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?
    Absolutely! Many bands spend a great deal of time working on test pieces just to play them to an almost empty hall, so they should show off their hard work on the concert stage. It's a given that some pieces are not suitable but many are and should be shared with a wider audience.

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?
    They are outdated, sad and awful to play in, but I love them! When I first learnt to play, I wanted to go to all rehearsals in my uniform. Maybe some should be revamped, or bands could have a less formal get up for park jobs etc. but the jackets are a source of unity. Like a rugby strip I guess.

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?
    Many bands do, but my particular band does not seem to do that much in the community at all, which is unfortunate. I think that they can provide a source of social and educational understanding, especially in deprived areas. Bands should do more, especially if we are to break the stereotype that many have put on us.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?
    Yes and no. Socially, culturally and for education, yes, but for the stuff that really goes on in banding, no. And don't you all pretend that you don't know what I mean. Although I would rather have my son and/or daughter (if I ever have any) getting drunk with a group of people who would look after him/her/it, than going out and getting blind drunk on a street corner. But aside from that, banding provides all ages with great oportunities and the chance to make friends and have a good time.
     
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hi, please fill in this questionnaire, I am researching brass bands for a uni project. :cool:


    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?



    I think there can be an image problem, and this is compounded by the sort of programmes some bands present, playing up to the stereotypes people have. One way to tackle the programme is by carefully planned, well-publicised concerts to show the versatility of the modern band.



    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?



    There seems to be a growing reluctance amongst players to want to go to hear other bands, either at contests or in concert, whereas when I was first involved - with the then Coventry Festival Band - we were all very keen to take in as much listening as we could.

    From a Salvation Army point of view, which is where I do most of my playing nowadays, there are fewer large bands around, and a tendency towards fewer major Festival Series pieces on the programmes, unless visiting one of the other centres with a "known" band.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?



    There tends not be enough in the way of substantial pieces in many bands' programmes: I'm not advocating programmes full of test pieces, but with careful planning and introduction, more original works could be included. I think there is a place for many of the popular selections of earlier days, especially where the audience are likely to know the words and melodies.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?



    I'm firmly with those who have suggested we need a more structured approach to test pieces at all levels: it's good to have new repertoire - and I sometimes think we could be more adventurous, like our continental comrades - but there is also a wealth of good music sitting around on bandroom shelves which could do with a fresh airing, and which would test bands in a different way. I am also a firm believer in open adjudication, and in pieces being played on the correct instruments, except in the event of the player concerned being missing.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?


    Many pieces that have been used as test pieces make perfectly acceptable concert items, and this applies to recent works as much as earlier classics, providing suitable thought is given to presentation.


    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?



    No particularly strong feelings either way, except that whatever we opt for should be tidy.


    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?



    We do, with participation in various local events, including concerts for the Mayor's charity and annual involvement at the Civic Carol Service and the Remembrance Sunday parade.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?


    I would - and did! My daughter learnt to play, but gave up after a while, having been pushed into the junior band really before she was ready. My son is one of our percussionists at Hadleigh.

    Thanks! :)
     
  17. tinytimp

    tinytimp Member

    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?

    I think that many people still think of brass bands as old-fashioned, coming from the old association with collieries and industry. As they are a relatively niche group, compared to orchestras for example, they may not be as widely known about or accessible to the general public. More concerts including popular, accessible repertoire may bring in a wider audience - being careful of course not to stick to the stereotypes by choosing the same old pieces time after time. Also, maybe rethink the contest system - I know it's been going on for years and it works for the bands (or at least it's supposed to) but for the lay onserver it's all a bit ritualistic. Entertainment contests, for example, are more user-friendly.

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?
    Not a lot, as I have only been in bands for about 4 years. However, there seems to be more women involved now, and of course the old associations with collieries etc. (as above) are rapidly disapperaring, if not gone completely.

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?
    It can be a bit samey. Audiences have their favourites, mostly ones that bands are consequently bored of playing. It is important - if not also difficult - to achieve a balance between this tried and tested repertoire and newer music. there is also the question (as briefly mentioned in Q1) of image - there needs to be a consideration between programming, say, arrangements of popular music which draw in an audience, against original pieces that may be 'better' musically but alienate some audience members.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?
    Depends on the piece! Again, having not had much experience I'm not qualified to say much, but I think 'test pieces' as a genre seem to do exactly what they say on the tin. Obviously some are more testing than others, even within sections, and there's not a lot to be done about that as it's obviously down to the composer to decide how he or she wants to test a band. Personally, I enjoy those test pieces that have some substance, a melody, or at least something easy to understand for the listener, rather than the ones that seem to be difficult just for the sake of being a test.
    There is also the issue of selecting a test piece for a particular contest. For example, there was some discussion at this year's Regionals as to the suitability of the pieces for some sections. I think that this is more a reflection of selection committees and processes rather than an assessment of the 'test piece' as a type of work.

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?
    Some more than others. There are some great test pieces out there that would be accepted well by an audience. As long as a piece is easily understandable and enjoyable I don't see any reason why it cannot be performed at a concert. It may mean a break from the traditional concert repertoire, and provide more of an aural challenge for the more musically educated listener, as well as for the band to perform.

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?
    I like them. It gives a band an identity to wear an uniform, as opposed to orchestras who all wear dinner jackets/black dress. As much as the brass band movement tries to become more accepted, or more mainstream, it has to be said that it is still a marginal medium - and of course this is due to the unique history of bands. Uniforms are just one of the things that keep us within this tradition. In a rapidly changing climate, it can be a good idea to retain something that has, after all, lasted for many years.

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?
    Definitely. I play in both brass and wind bands, and have to say that brass bands have the edge for me. Both mediums are accessible to amateur players, although brass bands have the additional element of contesting for those players who want to do more than just play for fun, but may not want to take up music as a complete career. As for the wider community, bands play an important role. I know events like summer bandstand jobs get tedious for bands, but the public really seem to enjoy and appreciate listening to such concerts. They help in pulling a community together and provide an identity - as demonstrated, for our band for example, in the large audience at summer and Christmas concerts - everybody likes to go and hear 'the band'. There's definitely a sense of pride in the town when the band does well on a wider stage, and I think it is important to try and keep the identity of a band as part of the community as well as aiming to succeed on a national level.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?
    Of course - if and when it may happen! When I played in a 4th section band, there were quite a few children and young people in the band who all enjoyed it thoroughly. At risk of sounding like my grandmother, it's great for children to have a hobby, especially when so many more are just staying in with their Playstations. Bands are a great way of meeting new people and seeing different places, and also are a break from school commitments. It was such a sense of achievement for the 'musical' people in school when we were praised for something we had done outside school - and a break for the rest of the school from hearing yet another result from the netball team!
     
  18. persins

    persins Member

    My opinions are as follows for what it's worth!!!!


    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?



    Short answer, Yes!! Although the degree to which this is true depends on what you call image! If you mean, do we look good in the uniforms then we almost certainly have an image problem. Although I quite like the traditional jackets, I wouldn't wear mine out on the town for a few beers! If you mean, are brass bands highly regarded throughout society, then I think we have an image problem there too. They appear to be associated with an older traditional theme where by we can only be seen playing Christmas Carols outside Sainsbury's etc. The only way to change that is to actually get out there more and widen the appeal ourselves with the promotion and marketing of concerts and events. Not sure what can be done about looking good while we do it!!!

    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?



    Having grown up with it, I think the major changes that I can see are the political struggles which appear to dominate banding right the way through the organisation. Perhaps they were always there but I just didn't notice them! There seems to be a great deal of people who know how things should be done but all go quiet when asked to get involved with doing it!!

    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?



    Growing steadily. The variety is growing which can only be a good thing. There is a great deal more versatility to the brass band sound which is beginning to be explored much more fully.

    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?



    The pieces are definitely getting technically harder. That is for sure. It is interesting to see though that the emphasis has certainly changed to test different things. Where historically, the pieces have tested more of the musical elements of the performance, there certainly seems to have been a drive to test the technical ability more. That is not to say that the musicality is not being challenged but it is not enough to produce a good tune anymore! Certainly in Championship section anyway!!

    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?

    It depends on the concert and on the test piece. Mostly, no because the audience will not necessarily be kept interested for the full piece. It may not be in keeping with the rest of the programme either. Having said that, some test pieces lend themselves to be played out in concerts. In order to do that, you really need to know your audience!

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?



    Personnally, I like the shorter marching jackets as they are more comfortable and give the performance that extra sense of occassion. I know that others do not like them at all!

    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?



    I try to, but whether that is by playing or not playing, I'm not sure!!
    The community need to be involved otherwise, what is the point of playing? They make up the audience and without them, there isn't a great deal of point to it all!

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?


    Definitely. It has given me countless opportunities to make new friends and develop a musical skill that I wouldn't have had otherwise. It has also helped me to develop many transferable skills such as teamwork, confidence and the social skills to succeed in many different scenarios. Plus got me drunk on numerous occasions!! Who could argue with that?!

    Cheers,
    Simon
     
  19. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?


    I think brass bands have an image which can sometimes be a problem, other times a benefit. It's easy to think of brass bands as set in their ways, knocking out marches and hymn tunes that have been the same for 100 years, but a lot of the popularity of the brass movement is maintained by that same link to tradition. Of course, a movement must always progress, but the movement must never completely lose it's roots.


    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?


    Not a great deal as I've only been playing 5-6 years.


    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?


    As varied a programme as possible is always required. New pieces are fantastic, and especially pieces that push music in new directions, but a few old chestnuts will keep the audiences coming back far ore easily than playing two hours of cutting-edge stuff. A spoonful of sugar for medecine and all that.


    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?


    Largely, the music has gone from it. Far too much emphasis is placed upon the technicality of playing, and not enough on musicality. It is perfectly possible to have a very demanding test piece that is also good to listen to, but far too often the music is sacrificed as it is seen as being too easy. A point is sometimes reached where none of the bands across a contest stage are capable of doing the piece justice, as it is simply beyond all but a handful of players, at which point, the movement suffers. If the piece is too far beyond the reach of certain players, they are more likely to give up than try harder.


    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?

    You can get away with one or two, but you'd have to sugar the pill a bit. My own opinion is one recognised test-piece on a programme, with maybe one overture as well.



    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?


    Again, a link to tradition. I would rather see 25 brass musicians all in uniform than the tasteless mish-mash of DJs, evening gowns etc you often get with orchestras.



    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?


    Yes. Just come and see the amount of people who come to watch brighouse march contest. Most of us live within a few miles of the bandroom too.


    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?

    Not that I ever think I'll be a father, but I would reccomend banding to anyone with an interest in music, and a commitment to their own self improvement.
     
  20. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    Brass Band Questionnaire


    1. Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?

    no i dont!!!!




    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?
    Its very competitive when you get to the top!




    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?
    I love concert repetoire because it allows a band to be able to play what they are good at! It helps show off the ability of a band too!




    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?
    Again, contest repetoire is good because it allows a band to aim for certain things. eg, being a better band. It is good because if a band played the same old stuff then bands just wouldnt improve because people wouldnt want to practise. I find my band is great for repetoire as our conductor always introduces us to new things each rehersal!




    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?
    In my band we have actually done this and it went down a storm! It also prepares the band if they are doing the piece in a contest - thats why we do it! In a way i think it helps with nerves because the more times you play a piece the more confident you are in knowing the piece! Infact before the areas our conductor made us change round our parts so we couldnt see our music and made us play it from memory! Funnily, we all did quite well because we had played the piece so many times and being through every little detail!




    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?
    Band uniforms are great i think because !1, it helps identify a band and 2, it makes te band look representable, neat and tidy! I also think band uniforms make you look professional!





    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?
    I would like to think so with all the concerts i have done over the years! I always like to feel i have done things for the community and that people will appreciate me! I also believe i have in a way because a lot of bands nowadays are also good at making money for charities!




    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?
    Course i would, i am actually trying to get my little cousin and niece to play my cornet/ horn and even at 4 yrs and 2 yrs old (yes, i know its too young yet) i am introducing my instruments to them! I would like to think i could pass on my musical ambitions or playing to my family members and would love to teach them and to see them grow and learn an instrument the way my family have and are doing with me! I also think playing an instrument is good for giving a child something to do (so they arent bored all the time) and it helps them to make friends (Socialise), have fun and at the same time learn!
     
  21. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    1.[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Do you think bands have an image problem? If so, what is it and how do you think they can overcome it?

    They most certainly do! We are perceived to be a poor mans orchestra rather than an equal in the musical world. Not every town has its own orchestra and nor should it have, that is our territory! The use of the terms amateur and professional also give us the image of a bunch of wannabe musicians playing for the fun of it with no great expectations or aspirations to the levels of performance other perceive orchestras to strive to.

    If anyone knew how to change it you wouldn’t need to ask the question as someone would have already put the wheels in motion. We will never escape the shadow of ‘professional’ ensembles, and should concentrate on doing what we do well but more successfully. Be it the repertoire we use, the way we advertise, the events we put on or the work we do with our bread and butter audience…the locals.


    2. What differences do you see in the banding movement now compared to when you first became involved in bands?

    I am unsure if they are changes in the movement or the fact that they are more obvious to me having moved both further a field geographically and up through the ranks of the banding world. Money is obviously something that is becoming more apparent and the loss of sponsorship now has huge implications on bands that become dependant on it. This is not a money issue, it is poor band management and the fact band committees see money as the key to success. The changes in instrument manufacture cant go without mention, whether they are better quality or have superior design features, there has been considerable money poured into the development of our equipment which again has left a well known manufacturer out of business. Poor planning and the concept of instant gratification again being an apparent mistake on their part. The continued pushing of musical boundaries is obvious, especially in solo and contest repertoire.


    3. What are your views on concert repertoire?

    When its good its very good but most the time it is not up to scratch. There is plenty of music in the archives to put together fantastic programmes but how many concerts are people going to attend a year just to hear various bands play the same music?!?! The lack of new music (not just arrangements of well know main stream music) is a concern and is somewhere we have an obvious advantage over professional orchestras. Whereas they are expected to continually repeat the ‘classics’ we have the perfect opportunity to advertise continual releases of new tunes and the fact every band doesn’t premier at least one new piece in its concert programme, say per year, should be looked into.


    4. What are your views on contest repertoire?

    This is somewhere I believe the movement to be continually improving. The variety and variance in the modern day contest repertoire is immense and aside from the selection panels occasionally making wheat we believe to be school boy mistakes we are treated very well come set test piece contest time.

    If only some of the money poured into new commissions was used to encourage the release of new concert repertoire, we can but dream!!


    5. Do you think contest music should be played in concerts?

    Heaton’s Contest Music?? – most definitely!!!!

    On a more serious note I don’t think such a generalisation can be made. There is the obvious difference of opinion on what actually qualifies as contest music and that is not something I want to branch of into. Contest should be used in concerts (either as major works or as excerpts) where and when the band believe it to enhance the programme and the musical experience of the paying audience. I cant imagine A N Other band playing Apocalypse in their local working mens club on a Sunday afternoon being either appropriate use of repertoire or a good use of rehearsal time. Take a movement of a test piece and drop it in and the audience could be blown away and gain an interest in the complete work.

    The answer is yes, as and when it is a rewarding musical experience for the audience.

    6. What are your feelings towards band uniforms?

    Get rid!!!! Yes we all look the same on stage and a different colour collar distinguishes between the bands but they are impractical and dated. Why should all bands wear the same style of uniform when it is uncomfortable and costly to replace? And how many women feel their glamorous best in some smelly, worn out and faded bell boys jacket when they walk on stage? How can it enhance the musical performance? I say lets use our imagination and see where it leads



    7. Do you believe that you play an important role in community music making?

    No, and I don’t think many bands can honestly say they do enough for their local communities. Again, having moved away from playing with my town band I have found very few that act as representatives for their communities, a few concerts in the local parish and using the towns name is not enough!! A town band should be available for all public occasions and while many deem the local carnival or international market beneath them it is where we make a real connection as part of a community. A big reason audience numbers are slipping is that younger generations do not associate their band with their town. That doesn’t mean they don’t know its there but that there has been a change in community spirit. We should be fighting to win the new generations support by whatever means necessary, and that start by them being aware of us in the local domain.

    8. Would you recommend playing in a band to your children (if and when you have them)?

    Yes, most definitely. It is a great method of secondary socialisation and the diversity of people and backgrounds within the movement can only be beneficial to a childs learning curve. It is also a fantastic tool for travel and to learn to appreciate that some have talent, some work hard, some do neither, and some do both. Learning to deal with success and failure in such a diversity of attitudes is a skill and those people skills and the range of emotions experienced as a competition in the subjective arts can only be good for a person.
    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]
     
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