Contesting and the perception of music?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by falcons1988, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. falcons1988

    falcons1988 New Member

    HI All
    A strange kind of question, I have been around brass bands for long time and have taken part in many contests the general feedback from adjudicators seems to be 99.9% technical, the general focus of rehearsal rather than perhaps music itself and indeed what we perceive to be music. After each contest we all have our gripes and moans about where we come, disagreeing with adjudicators and band politics. When thinking about contesting; What is its purpose? What do bands/md's look for in retrospect to the adjudicators? What should they be about? What constitutes a good performance and bringing the music to life?

    My main question is this: -

    Have brass band contests become mere technical exercises competitions in sound production for brass instrumentalists, where "music" is perhaps forsaken?

    Just a poser of a question, what do people think? Be Honest.
  2. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    No, that's not my experience at all. There is always a technical element, but I also always see comments about music, style, shape, soloists etc from adjudicators and with one or two notable exceptions every band & MD I've ever contested with have tried to find the music and style in test pieces not just play a load of dots.
    I would argue that the 'music' stands a better chance of being shaped well, and sounding something like the composer intended, if the players are able to play what's actually written - so yes the technical side does have to be focused on to some extent. I have experienced some players and conductors who get bogged down with note-bashing and can sometimes appear to forget about the 'music', but its they were the exceptions not the norm.

    Impossible to easily answer, there are so many different reasons and the same band/MD might not have the same reason(s0 for each contest they enter.... some people would argue that its all about developing the band and the point of contesting is done when you've played the last note at the last rehearsal before the contest itself. Other reasons are challenging and stretching the band, performance practice, dress rehearsals for other bigger contests, prestige, prize money, ranking points, keeping players interested/motivated.... I know there's a few very vocal folk on tMP who talk like contesting is some sort of betrayal of 'the brass band movement' and a big old waste of time, but the bottom line is there are a h*ll of a lot of banders out there who do contests because they really enjoy it!

    If the band plays as well as they could have done and come off stage happy, then that's a good performance (regardless of whether the adjudicator agrees).
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  3. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I love contesting, but I hate the bland remarks often given.
    " sine lovely playing, well done"
    placed 15 of 16.

    if we weren't very good, tell us what was wrong. how else do we put things right
  4. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Since I have started conducting, nearly all the remarks I have received have focused more on the "music" than the technical aspect of the performance. I have received remarks that have included phrases such as, "you make this music more exciting than it is" and "do you think this is what the composer wants", but have not picked up on the basic fact that the majority of the playing was in tune, there were varying dynamics. From a conductors point of view, I'm yet to go to a competition where technical excellence has superseded musical content.
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Always remember, you don't necessarily have to play badly to come 15th out of 16; it just may have happened that 14 of the other bands were slightly better than you ...
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    If "better" even means anything on that particular day for that particular section. Sometimes it's all deliciously arbitrary.
  7. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    It sounds like the forthcoming Sky One programme recently trailed on 4BR might have some light to shed on this topic:


    The highlighting is mine. The wider world has now bracketed band contesting with Funeral Awards and Competitive Hairdressing. I have a horrible feeling that this will be one of those "look at the obssessive looneys with their oddball hobby" documentaries. Worse still, they might be right!
  8. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Might? :-?
  9. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    What an inventive title for the show!!

    So this could be banding's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding moment.

    They say there is no such thing as bad publicity...

    We'll see (well I won't as don't have Sky but hopefully someone will report back on here)
  10. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    There's a prog on the box which follows a cruise ship on a world cruise. It's enough to put anyone off cruising. Got a bad feeling about this one....
  11. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    This is what the Radio Times (Patrick Mulkern) has to say about it:

    ""Brass band is war" "Blood will be shed" "We are going into that competition to win" The participants in the annual Yorkshire Brass Band Championships take it all very seriously, as does the audience. One lady can hardly find words to express the "twiddles up and down" the spine she experiences every time. Each year some 50 bands descend on Bradford, and this amusing film follows four on the road to glory. "Nobody normal plays in a brass band" jokes tuba player/hairdresser Simon Hunter. Corrie writers should watch this; they'd source a lot of new material"

    I'll just get my flat cap and take the whippet for a walk across the slag heaps before coming home and having a soak in the tin bath in front of the coal fire.
  12. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    odd that none of the bands involved in the programme have done much (if anything) to publicise it....! When's it actually on TV?
  13. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    It's being broadcast on Thursday 25 July at 10.00pm, on Sky1.
  14. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    and its actually a pretty good programme - not nearly as cringe-inducing as some of were expecting, once you get past the dodgy 'facts' in the opening (we all know that the Yorkshire are is THE most important brass band contest ever, and brass banding doesn't really exist outside the north of England, right? :rolleyes:)

    Imho its worth a watch just for the bit with the Grimethorpe lads promoting their "equal opportunities" policy...... Comedy Gold!!

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