Brilliant MD's and Player Vacancies... a contradiction??...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Gabriel Soboe, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Gabriel Soboe

    Gabriel Soboe New Member

    Heres one to throw into the melting pot.....

    Does the amount of vacancies that a band is advertising amongst its ranks generally reflect upon the quality of the MD, or is it the MD's job purely to worry about the music and not the man-management?

    The reason I ask is that time and time again I read on here of bands advertising for players to fill gaps, not just odd gaps- but quite oftn 2,3,4,5+ players. They often then go on to say in the advert something along the lines of "We have a brilliant MD....". etc, etc, etc.... Its happened on this forum again today!

    Is this a contradiction? If the MD was THAT good would these bands have so many gaps to fill....?? I know there are normally extenuating circumstances and that this is a generalisation- but i would suggest that if the MD was as good as stated then these bands wouldn't have so many problems filling seats!

  2. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    I think the MD can have an influence on players, but then in most cases the band picks the MD.....
  3. TubaPete

    TubaPete Member

    I'd say that a good MD can help to attract and retain players, as a difficult MD can make some players think they might be better off moving on. There are other reasons too, including:

    * personaility clashes between band members (we have to be able to get on reasonably in a bandroom with people who may not otherwise be our friends - that can be a real strain sometimes and even the best of MDs and Committees can struggle to keep the peace),
    * players (or families) relocating to other parts of the country (e.g. relocating for work or students going off to university) or
    * players leaving because they have improved and may want to move up to a prinicpal seat that isn't available in their band or to a higer level of banding (poaching does exist you know and players who are keen to improve are often tempted).

    Just my few initial thoughts.

  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    A couple of thoughts from my point of view as an MD:

    I don't see it as my job to fill empty seats. Certainly I'll help with the process as much as I can, and I'll do everything I can to make rehearsals diverse and engaging for all concerned, but any band that makes their MD responsible for filling empty seats is asking for trouble as soon as that MD moves on, in my ever so 'umble opinion. Players can be discouraged by an overbearing or unpleasant conductor, so I try to be neither, but I expect players to come because they like the band, not because they like me particularly.

    Also, occasionally one of the reasons players move on is a change of focus or musical direction in the band, especially in the lower sections. If all you want to do is turn up for a blow every now and again, but the band and MD decide they want to do more contesting with a view to geting promoted, what you want and what the band want are incompatible and a parting becomes inevitable. Maybe that's an explanation for the player vacancies?

    Also the sad truth is that there often simply aren't enough players to go around. Although we get on well with all our local bands we are essentially competing for players with Rivington & Adlington, Eccleston, Lostock Hall, Farnworth & Walkden, Eccles, and quite a few others - and that's just in the lower sections. We all borrow from each other regularly and somehow we all manage to get a band together for the Area but keeping all the seats filled is a bit like one of those plate-spinning tricks.
  5. barrytone

    barrytone Member

    There's a general shortage of players in my opinion. In Yorkshire, where I live, there aren't many bands that don't have a couple of empty seats and we've got some great MD's conducting our bands. Too many bands and not enough players unfortunately but better bands and MD's will logically attract players, but if there's a shortage, even the better bands will struggle for a full team.
  6. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I think that the MD has to decided what to do with the players that he has already, not necessarily have anything to do with bringing new members to the band, or even keeping the ones he has....

    Sometimes players leave (college, work, family committments etc...or not being able to manage their parts)....and this doesn't reflect on the conductor I don't think.

    I can imagine there are cases where there is a clash between a player and the conductor, but other than that, I don't see how it can be solely the MD's 'fault' that players have left. A clash is a two-way thing anyway surely?


    It may be that several players left under the previous MD and now they have a brilliant new MD and are trying to recruit players to fill the gaps!!!
  8. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I think the MD makes a HUGE difference to the number of players turning up regularly and wanting to join a particular band. In fact I will name the ones that I would join any band for (in any section) - Mr Steve Sykes, Mr Brian Buckley, Mr Nigel Seaman, Mr N Childs and my very own David Johnson. These men attract players like magnets because they are superb at what they do.
    ( Never had the pleasure of the Mr David King experience but heard he is awesome from a cynical old Royal Marine Bandsman who lit up like a Christmas tree talking about it - "best musical experience in 18 years in this job")
  9. halsasaurus

    halsasaurus Member

    Build it and they will come!
    I had the honour of playing 2nd Euphonium at Swinton at third section for a short while under David King.
    The man is a genius and can probably turn water into wine after he has just walked on it
  10. RobBari

    RobBari Member

    we are looking for a repiano player, so fancy a move to south wales?
    Markham and District Colliery band, Musical Director.....Mr Nigel Seaman
  11. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    You lucky lucky people. He took Yeovil to France and very nearly drank my husband under the table on the ferry. He is fabulous both as a man and a musician. I played rep when he took us to a contest at poole (I think it was) and it was the only time i have never been nervous as he just exudes calm and confidence besides having such talent. I always remember him for taking Shepherds song (that old classic number that most of us are bored by) and rehearsing the first 4 bars bringing such detail and enjoyment (for me anyway!)
    So in answer to your question, if life and work moved us to Wales yes please (and such a good band too!) but in the meantime I have one of the MD`s on my list so band life is pretty sweet as yours must be!:)
  12. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    I observe that bands are particularly vulnerable to losing players after a change of MD so in that respect, MDs do have an effect. Once an MD has been installed for a while things in general are more stable.

    Youth bands or bands with a lot of students in are a different issue.
  13. There's no doubt md's have an effect.

    The tendancy is if an MD takes over and is not good and is making rehearsals miserable - thats when you have problems. Its vital you get a professional guy in the middle that knows exactly what hes doing and is ideally more experianced than the players sat under him - without that you run the risk of loosing players, especially in higher section bands. Its a risk not worth taking
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008

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