Can a top section band maintain playing standards without contests?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Statto, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Pyman71

    Pyman71 Member

  2. eupho al

    eupho al New Member

    I see no problem with bands keeping their standards up without contests , after all , some of the best groups , orchestras and ensambles NEVER compete .
  3. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    Some might consider that if one were truly a wizard and wished to demonstrate this using a baritone that making it disappear would be the most impressive (and popular) method.

    For those less gifted putting it in the case is an acceptable alternative.

    Mystic Bob
  4. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    i wasn't refering to any band at all. Marksmith's point "Contesting is the the backbone of a successful band" to me is absolute tosh. My comparence was an example that success isn't always about contest results and how high you are up the sections. To most average Joe they don't even know what a brass band contest is about and if your name isn't Black Dyke, Grimethorpe etc, you are just another average village band dispite what you have achieved.

    New shiny instruments
    healthy band attendance
    healthy financial position
    good paying and playing gigs

    are all examples to me of a successful band.

    Donna, not sure what you were refering to my point is the worse example to sell lower section bandin to people?:confused:
  5. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Or: give the wizard the baritone part to 'Life Divine', turn it upside down, and say, 'now let's see what you're made of!'

  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I'm not sure that there is any less focus on contesting per se, but rather, there is less of the time devoted to banding activities devoted to contesting.

    For example. If an average top-section band band (assuming there is such a thing!) did the area, spring festival, whit friday, an own-choice in the autumn and butlins, that's five contests a year, three of which are probably high-profile events. If in that time they also did 10 formal concerts, then one-third of the band's time is devoted to contesting.

    If Black Dyke do the Area, the English, The Open, The National Finals, the Europeans, Whit Friday and Brass in concert, that's seven high-profile contests - so from one point of view, there's more focus on contesting there than our average band above. But from the other point of view, Dyke are likely to do upwards of 30 or 40 formal concerts a year - so as a proportion of the band's time on stage, less is devoted to contesting.

    A lot depends on point ogf view when discussing where focus is aimed. Personally I think the very top are just as contest-focussed as the rest of us - but because they spend so much more time on stage than the rest of us, it takes up proportionally less of their time, and it also takes less time for them to prepare than a lot of us.
  7. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Ahem. None of us are hiding behind an anonymous ID sunshine....

    I stand by my comments, as I beleive completely in what I've said. The man should have the courage of his convictions, for better or worse.

    If he'd care to dicuss it with me, or anyone else, then most of us have our names and contact details in our signatures. I take it you'll be adding yours soon? Or are you just going to sit there and snipe anonymously from the sidelines?

    As I've said earlier, have the courage of your convictions, or have the good grace to shut up.

    No squire. People like you are the reason I've left bands in the past. And strangeley, despite having very clear and sometimes outspoken opinions, both on here and in public, I've never had trouble finding another one....
  8. worzel

    worzel Member

    I've no idea how reliable this is, but I've heard that not only do they have a far higher proportion of concerts to contests than most bands, but that they also spend far less actual time practising for a given contest than most bands. So it would seem the best bands are less focused on contesting by both the points of view you describe. I'm sure you can think up another, though, to make your point ;)

    Aslo, it wasn't just the number of contests being considered, but the hours spent practising for the contests. An average band might do only three contests a year and three concerts, but if they are almost always practising for the next contest and virtually sight reading for the contests then their focus is still heavily on the side of contests.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  9. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    I am sure that the top bands would disagree that they are less focussed on contests, otherwise how would they maintain their ability to consistently produce excellent results? It is more likely that they are focussed on all the engagements in which they participate, whether concert or contest.

    If your 'average' band is always practising for the next contest, how can they be virtually sight reading at the time of the contest?

    Perhaps I am not reading your comments correctly.

  10. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    I think Worzel may be saying that if you are playing demanding music week in, week out whilst preparing for concerts it can only improve your playing and technique. This way the players are of a better quality and will be able to rise to the demands of a difficult piece much more quickly and without as much rehearsal as a band that simply contests and hardly has any concert engagements.
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    The problem is that "focussed" is not a very precise word in this context. I know what Andi means, and I know what Worzel means, do we really need to now commence beating ourselves up in order to nail the meaning down to the last iota?
  12. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    I can understand that, Donna, but do you think it makes the top bands any less-focussed on contests? You play with a Championship section band, and you will definitely have a better view on the matter than I do.

  13. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member


    I will drop the dreaded ‘f’ word from my response! What I really meant to say is that the top bands give as much attention to their standard of playing, regardless of the venue, and regardless of the rehearsal time they devote to either concert or contest.

    To get back to the original posting on this thread, my belief is that these bands could survive at top level without contesting, providing they are able to retain their current personnel of players; however, it may only apply to a very few bands whose reputation would carry them through. I am in danger here of repeating what others have already said, but do so simply to make clear my own understanding of the situation, and I may be wrong!

  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    That's a fair point; although we're going to do about 20 concerts this year they won't be "RNCM Festival" type ones, that's for sure. We will try and include more challenging stuff (e.g. Paganini in a recent concert), but bear in mind that some of the more "bread and butter" stuff is often tricky to get right - how many front rows have come a cropper after under-rehearsing William Tell, for instance?

    I also think that to a certain extent, the best bands are in a similar boat. A decent proportion of their concerts are simply to pay the bills, and wouldn't neccesarily fall under your definition of "quality" in terms of challenging music. Average audiences at Grimey or B&R concerts often want to hear "Brassed Off" repertoire or The Floral Dance - yet the bands still manage to motivate themselves to play it to a high standard. So I don't think it's the number/quality of concerts that is "self-motivating" - I think that's the natural attitude of the players, and this self-motivated drive and ability is what allows the bands to work up new concert programmes on an almost weekly basis, or prepare for the Open on not much more than a week's intensive rehearsal.

    What I'm saying is that it's not the hectic schedule that drives the players to greater levels of achievement - it's the players' ability that allows the schedule to be that hectic. This is why it's so rare for a band to rise pretty much all the way to the top of the championship section in the way that Rothwell have; to get that last 2% of the way to brilliance, you need to be have players who can sustain a Grimethorpe/Fodens/Dyke level of workload virtually all year round and still nail it every time. It's hard to bring players with you from the lower sections and do that. This is where Wire might have problems - to hit the heights I suspect they aspire to, they're going to need a regular and demanding concert schedule and the pool of players prepared/able to sustain this is somewhat limited. Kennedy's Swinton, anyone?

    Very well put, Donna. :clap:
  15. worzel

    worzel Member

    Oops! That was a typo, I should have said: "if [ an average band ] are almost always practising for the next contest and virtually sight reading for the concerts then their focus is still heavily on the side of contests. My point was that it is not just the number of contests versus concerts when considering what a band focuses on, but how much time they spend preparing for them as well.
  16. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Thanks, Worzel. Now I understand the point you were making, and I don't disagree with you.

  17. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    Thought I'd bump an old thread rather than start a new one.
    Now a bit of water has passed under the bridge, does anyone know how things have panned out at Wire?
    Have they been busy / kept their players / achieved the above?
    You have to admire the principled decision by the players (and md) to withdraw from contesting, but has it worked out?
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  18. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Erm - let me think about this.... Crewe Co-op has a few new signings... ;)
  19. bandcampgal

    bandcampgal Member does pemberton...
  20. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    The same when Yorkshire Co-op decided to 'stop contesting' (ie: fold.) Skelmanthorpe and Wakey Met got a few players.

    Seems it isn't always the players who've become tired of contesting.....