Conductor Shortage

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ploughboy, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Is there a lack of people that want the job in the middle?

    Seems there's 6 or 7 bands round here that are looking for a conductor, or have been for a while. It seems the same few people are going round the circuit with not many new people taking up the baton. Is this the bands fault for not giving them a chance? Are players not wanting to make the jump in the stressing world of player management and leadership. .
  2. HaleStorm

    HaleStorm Member

    we have a short conducter....if that helps?
  3. Squeaker

    Squeaker Member

    There may be people wanting to conduct who play at the moment. I might like to conduct one day, but if you're a committed player it's hard to give extra commitment to conduct a band as well. Clash of jobs etc.
    Might take it up when I stop playing, but would struggle to commit as long as I'm playing.
  4. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I'd like to have a go at conducting, but don't know where or how to start.
  5. Ali.Syme

    Ali.Syme Member

    I've taken sectional work which involved some waving of my hand. I didn't realise how hard it was to handle a full band!

    There's a school of conductors coming through the ranks at the moment! They just need an opportunity is all!
  6. Goldiecornet

    Goldiecornet New Member

    I am a conductor looking For a Band. SO if anyone knows any band round yorkshire / Lancashire area. then please let me know.
  7. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    Looking for a band in S. Wales
  8. boagy

    boagy Member

    Looks like I am living in the wrong part of the country 6 or 7 bands looking for a conductor :eek: Still if any band in Cornwall/South Devon are looking for a conductor PM me :wink:
  9. yoda

    yoda Member

    a good way to start, is ask in the band you are playing with if anyone fancies doing a little quartet work, or 10 piece stuff and conduct that.

    its a good introduction if you have never read scores before, and if you are happy too, ask the players for a little of (constructive) criticism. Or ask at another local band for the same, if you don't fancy braving it in front of your fellow banders ;-)

    or, start like i did.........

    couldn't play a brass instrument good enough...... asked to go on percussion....... no good on that...... so they took one of the sticks off me and stood me up the front

  10. Simon_Horn

    Simon_Horn Member

    A good way to start is ask a conductor you already know and respect to help mentor you. You could ask to conduct the hymn tunes at the start of rehearsal or even one or two pieces in the rehearsal?

    Consider how the MD interacts with the band and what members of the band do and don't like about their style. This will give you some pointers to start...Wagging a baton/keeping time is only really a small part of conducting. Learning how to speak to people and get the best out of players often (in lower sections) at different ends of age and ability spectrum is much harder I think. It's a lesson I'm still learning :)

    When you do get into conducting, get into a good habit of preparing pieces. Take it home and work out key chords and modulations. Bands will respond better when it's obvious you've done your homework.

    Above all, keep rehearsals fun and motivated. Most band members will be giving up their time for free (and even paying subs) to come to band. They want to have fun but also achieve something in rehearsal.

    Good luck!


    I know a lot of conductors who have become very frustrated with the brass band movement...turning up to face half a band..bad contest results and general apathy from players, many have just packed it in and found other things to do.:(
  12. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    There's a few advertising on here. Just look in "recruitment corner".
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I think it depends where you are; I get the impression (although I don't have any hard evidence of this) that bands don't have any trouble recruiting conductors in the Manchester area - maybe this is because there's a reasonable supply of Salford students/graduates keen to try their hand?
  14. If a good conductor comes from a good player, then a player only becomes 'good' from loving it, and if you conduct, then surely you have to sacrifice some of that playing enjoyment? (I'm not saying conducting wouldn't be very satisfying and enjoyable by the way.) Could that be why there might be a shortage of conductors?
  15. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Uh-oh :oops:
  16. westoe_horn

    westoe_horn Member

    I don't necessarily agree with that. A good conductor comes from a good musician........ but doesn't necessarily have to be the world's best player. I think that makes sense!! :-?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2009
  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member


    Sorry, this is hopelessly incorrect. Conducting and playing are two utterly and completely different skills.

    Some top-level players have gone on to be very successful conductors. But other players of no great note have also gone on to be top-level conductors.

    Likewise some spectacularly brilliant players have turned out to be pretty average when holding a stick.

    Not going to go into specific examples on here but I've played under those who fit every bracket - and in my experience the relationship between playing ability and conducting ability appears largely non-existant. he qualities required for each discipline are entirely different.

    A good conductor remains a good conductor - whether he/she is a good player or not.
  18. GJPC

    GJPC New Member

    IMHO playing ability is of secondary importance - musicianship is the key factor. Having played and conducted in my opinion the job in the middle is at least (if not more) about managing people. You need to identify how to motivate the people around you but bear in mind you'll have 20 odd people who respond better to different approaches.

    High quality conductors are hard to find - but then in brass banding, how many conductors are taught to conduct in the same way most players are taught to play?

    I can say there's nothing quite like conducting a band that's playing well and hearing your interpretation on a piece of music. However, the rest of the time it's hard work, often with little or no thanks. I've got to say, I much prefer playing to stick waving. If (particularly in the early stages) you can get constructive feedback from your players.

    All in all, if you fancy trying it, then go for it!
  19. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Not an easy job conducting... And not all players, irrespective of background or personal standard of playing make good conductors...

    I've conducted several bands and found that the hardest bands to keep motivated were those that were only as happy as they made up their minds to be! I LOVE CONDUCTING! I'm certainly not the world's best player, but I do have many year's experience of playing under a variety of conductors - good, bad and the ridiculous, and it's this that helps me hone my skills.

    It is very difficult staying motivated yourself when there are but a handful of players in front of you, but it's important to maintain a focus. The playing is obviously important to this small group of individuals, and if all a conductor can do is moan about the turnout then they should do everyone a favour and either find a different band, or work with the players that do turn up to see how the band can turn around... Mind you - experience makes me think that some don't want to turn around!

    All that said - I don't have an answer...! :tongue:
  20. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    Could the problem be that there isn't a framework to encourage people to become conductors?

    We have peri's in schools for most instruments. Bands and individuals also offer tuition. But, it is left to those who aspire to become a conductor to basically chuck themselves in the deep end and sink or swim.

    There are occasional courses available, but, obviously not enough to supply current demand. I like the idea of mentoring, but other than asking your favourite conductor point blank and risking an embarrassing refusal, how would anyone go about finding one?

    Perhaps some of our experienced and respected MD's could start to offer their services through tMP if they would be prepared to act as mentors? I'm sure we would have many more people prepared to give it a go if there was a road to follow instead of a cliff edge to jump off.

    Just my two pennorth.


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