Contesting? Forget it.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dave Payn, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Whilst one can never say never, I certainly don't plan to play in any more contests fom now. Why? The 'fallout' from various recent contests, particularly over adjudications/choice of adjudicators and with the flip side, perceived poor adjudications that make lower section contesting in particular, a lottery.

    Yes, I've read all the stuff about Bryan Hurdley and the West of England contest, regarding whether he can tell a sop from a Bb cornet, whether he should ignore tuning etc. Then in another section, John Berryman is pilloried for over emphasis on tuning. What is clear from this and contests I've experienced over the years is this: A certain well known BB website which begins with '4', ends in 't' and has 'barsres' in the middle is, in my opinion, more than partly responsible for what now seems to be 'mass adjudicator defamation' (i.e. M.A.D). Their insistence at the top contests that X adjudicator got it wrong big time and for other top contests, even questioning the abilities and right to adjudicate a brass band contest is now so commonplace that, being the influential site it is, is now filtering down to lower section level far more than it used to.

    When I was contesting regularly at 4th section level (not that long ago...), if we had a dodgy result, we'd have a moan about it in the pub afterwards and then forget about it. Now the criticisms are there for all to see, even at 4th section level. Sure, it's expected (though no more desirable) at the top of the banding world but let's face it... 4th section.... why are they there...? More of a hobby than a virtual profession like the top section, perhaps? Don't practice every day? (I don't....) Perhaps taking this a wee bit too seriously....?

    I dare say the complaints about Mr Hurdley in particular MAY be valid (I don't know, I wasn't there) and maybe the problem is twofold. Bands getting more and more vociferous in their complaints and adjudicators having their judgments brought more into the open than before.

    One thing I would say Mr Hurdley in particular did wrong.... I alluded to this in my soapbox on 4br.... was address the throng and say something along the lines of 'I ignored wrong tempos and bad tuning' etc. etc. (or whatever it was he said), not because of WHAT he said, but it's no f***ing good telling the contestants that after the contest has finished! Why not have adjudicators outline what they're prepared to 'let go' and what they're looking for BEFORE the contest by writing to each participating band??? Whether players perceive their outline to be right or wrong, at least they'll have a better idea!

    And then the complaints about test pieces which, in recent years, seem to have shot up (again, I perceive a big influence from 4*r). Why not just get on with it and do your best rather than pick holes and look for trouble with test piece choices? Wasn't that long ago that I reckon most lower section bands would have liked to have got their teeth into something that the 'top section used to play'. the way 4*r have gone on about the regional choices this year, you wouldn't be surprised if their next request would be to have the test piece committee jailed! Utterly ridiculous!

    What is, after all, at lower section level, largely an amateur movement is fast becoming a joke. Maybe the joke is 'bad loser'ship. Maybe the joke is poor adjudication. Maybe it's a bit of both, but I for one, will go out and seek in whatever future I have in banding, the approval of a paying public rather than that from fellow bandspersons/adjudicators. They (the paying public) might not be too knowledgeable about how bands should sound, but the upside of that is that at least they won't pretend to me be more knowledgeable than they are... they'll just appreciate it for what it is: an attempt at decent amateur music making.

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2005
  2. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    And for the uninititated, (bar the bleeped f word :biggrin: ) THAT is how to make a point about something you are displeased about.

    Nice to be graced by your presence once more, O eponymous hononymous one.
  3. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Thank you. The bleeped word should read 'flipping', but I had no 'lipp' left! Har har!

  4. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    A good point well made.

    Go back to sleep now Dave, otherwise you won't be ready for the warm weather that should approach in the middle of the third week of July LOL
  5. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Cracking post Dave and as WtS says... great to see you posting again sir...:)
  6. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Sorry. Came out of hibernation too early! :)

    p.s. As for the website I alluded to and indeed, accused of helping along the 'rabble rousing', I would have posted this to their comments page, but recent attempts at doing this have proved somewhat wasteful in the hope of seeing it published on their site! ;)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2005
  7. ray_ed

    ray_ed Member

    A very good point well made Dave. :clap:

    Far too much bitchin going on at all levels.
  8. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    ... forgot to mention too that this post simply must be odds-on fav for the 'Post of the Year' in the tMP 36 months live awards!!

    You make some corking arguments there Dave... :tup
  9. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Nice of you to say so John and thank you. Plenty of other candidates for it, but I appreciate the sentiments.

  10. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Without wishing to jump on the band wagon. What an excellent, mature well written observation Mr Payn. I personally think you should send it to 4bR, just to see if they will publish it. If they don't they virtually admit you are right.

    The fresh air is no doubt doing you the world of good.
  11. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Yes John - about as popular with the crowd as a page 3 girl streaking at a football match. The points about 4BR were spot on.
  12. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Forget It - We Do

    Following on from another thread regarding the dire consequences of poor adjudicating etc and a thought that if bands dropped out of contesting then they would some how all fold I had a look round our area (say 15 mile radius) for non-contesting bands - came up with 15 in total

    Worksop Miners
    Sheffield 13
    Welbeck Estates
    Thorpe Hesley
    High Green
    & Killamarsh

    That means there is probably as many if not more non-competing bands here as competing. So if your in this area and getting p'd off with contesting have a look round because there is a banding life with out it.
  13. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Well put Mr. Payn.

    I'm afraid the fault picking of our adjudicators (who do a hard job to the best of their abilities) Has been passed down from so called experianced bandsmen/jounilists to the 'man on the street' you've only got to read some of the posts on this foruma and one or two press realises (on the foremention 4-r site) to see people are beginning too think that complaining about it will get the results changed, then where would we be!!

    The system on the whole works, leave it be. When you enter the contest you know you're subjecting youreslf to one mans's point of view, so how can you be upset by it later?

    nice to see you back! But there'd better be a lot of space on your soap box for this subject!!
  14. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    The standard of adjudication will always be a problem when its one mans opinion -
    So how about this for a radical idea. Nobody at all in the box.

    Lets have open adjudication by our peers like in the Eurovision Song Contest.

    As part of the rules, the musical directors of each competing band would have to listen to all the other bands in their section and give placings to them.

    The MDs will have rehearsed the test piece for the last 3 months. They will know the music inside out and know where all the pitfalls are. What better people to sit in judgement?

    The sheer number of individual judgements would iron out any skewing of the marks due to local rivalry or bias and we could still use the paid 'professional' adjudicator to write a summing up of the performance.

    There couldn't be much complaint if you didn't do well when all the other people in the competition thought you were dire.

    And wouldn't it be great if we had one of them score boards like on the Eurovision Song Contest which changes as each bands marks are given. Imagine the suspense! That would get the audience numbers up.

    Wow ! the great flights of fancy that take place in your mind when you haven't got much work to do on a Friday afternoon and its nearly home time.

    What do you reckon? Black Dyke - Nul Points
  15. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. Moaning about people who moan, complaining about people who complain, just takes you down to their level.

    1) Adjudications have always been controversial. Read about adjudicators needing police escorts in the 1930's. Nothing new. Win or lose, have a beer and move on to the next one and see if you can 't do better.

    2) 4barsrest do an excellent job in broadcasting news and giving all of us - Dave Payne included - the opportunity to climb onto a soapbox. Unlike BB etc. they have an opinion and aren't afraid to tell it, but their predictions are by their own admission 'dodgy' and when they do disagree with adjudicators they usually admit that it is 'the adjudicator's decision which counts'. 4barsrest helps to generate interest and enthusiasm amongst bandspeople all around the world, like tMP, bringing us closer together. The world would be a much worse place without 4barsrest.

    3) It's easy for Dave Payne to give up contesting as I understand that he currently plays in a non-contesting band! (A bit like me giving up ballet!) If we all did that, would the band world be a better or worse state this time next year? We should be supporting our associations and contests, and encourage others to take part, not taking our teddy home. The regional results are full of success stories: bands like Grange Moor who weren't contesting a few years ago winning back-to-back titles, or Hartlepool Youth and Community, contesting for the first time, or the new band from Garforth winning their first contest...fantastic!!!

    4) If it was not for contests we probably would not have Variations for Brass Band, Comedy, Tam o Shanter or Divertimento to play at all. if it wasn't for contests the standards of playing would equate more closely to those of wind bands, which are generally much lower than ours. Contests invigorate the repertoire and give us music to sustain our future.

    5) Most contests are not especially controversial, but in any case when we're assessing musical performances we're not talking about something scientific which can be measured, distilled and quantified to produce a 'correct' and indisputable fact, we're dealing with impressions, opinions, aesthetics and subjective preferences which will (and must always) be open to debate.

    6) I've never met an adjudicator who claimed to be perfect. Equally I've never met one who deliberately chose to court controversy by mixing up the results. Some just have different priorities. We as a movement could decide what those priorities should be - and I've long advocated publishing broad, general assessment criteria for band contests - but there is always going to be an element of personal preference.

    Sorry if this seems a bit aggressive but I can't abide people whinging and moaning and chucking teddies. Get a life Dave!

  16. Kernow

    Kernow Member

    All very good points Mr Payn.
    Isn't it funny though that all the nastyness toward the qualifying bands or the adjudicators, seems to be coming largely from people that have no experience of adjudicating, or as in the case of the lower sections have probably never spent time playing in the championship section, or conducted higher section bands.
    In other words we have peole with no or very little experience thinking that they know better than people with years of experience.
    This whole thing has been a sad affair and has ruined the moment for a lot of people that should be enjoying it.
    There is one person who has been consistantly posting a barrage of insults regarding the championship section results who no-one seems to have ever heard of. I personally would like to know his qualifications, just to see if he is qualified to pass such insulting judgements to all concerned, but I don't know whether the site would allow me to ask such a question of him as if he is not musically qualified, then he could leave himself open to a large amount of abuse.
    Anyway, great points put across very well.
    If you do ever find yourself taking part in a contest in the West of England and you find yourself in the position of having a moan in the pub after, I will buy you a pint.
  17. Val

    Val Member

    Well said - absolutely agree with you (although I didn't for the 4 hours after we got the results before I had so much to drink I didn't care about the result!).

    Mind you, love the idea from Big Horn - the approval of your peers would be brilliant and we could all become one big loving movement (man!!!)
  18. Heather

    Heather Member

    ...and so say all of us!! FANTASTIC POST MR PAYN!!!

    just about the best I've read on here. Bravo.
  19. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    And for the unititiated, THAT (perhaps bar the comment about whinging, moaning and teddies) is how to express an alternate view point.

    Will the Equinamious
  20. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I think it's just another reflection on society. Look at football referees and the abuse they get from both players/coaches/managers and supporters. They make decisions based on the facts available to them at the time, as do adjudicators.

    I do aggree with Dave Payne, it's nonsense for an adjudicator to say what he was looking for after the event! Too late!!

    It won't be long now until bands will be wanting to submit "audio evidence" (recordings of their performance) to a panel to have their results changed!!!

    ah well, contest on Sunday, can't wait!!