Contesting - is there too much/little emphasis by bands?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Euph Chris, Mar 27, 2008.

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Bands concentrate on contesting...

  1. not nearly enough?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. not enough?

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  3. about right?

    5 vote(s)
    50.0%
  4. too much?

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  5. far too much?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Euph Chris

    Euph Chris New Member

    As part of the research for my dissertation, I am looking into the position of contesting within the brass band 'movement', and the emphasis bands place upon contests. Given that there is just one round of Areas left for the year, I think this would be a very timely and stimulating topic for debate, so would be very interested to see what other banders think.

    For example, do you think there is too little/about right/too much emphasis on contests?

    Do you feel this is more/less applicable to bands of different sections or geographical regions?

    Do you feel that this level of emphasis on contests by bands is less/about the same/more than in previous years?

    Does your band approach a contest performance differently to another type of performance, e.g. a concert? If so, how and why?

    Thanks, over to you!
     
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  3. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    For example, do you think there is too little/about right/too much emphasis on contests?

    just right - I pick em!

    Do you feel that this level of emphasis on contests by bands is less/about the same/more than in previous years?

    bout the same - isn't it for everyone?

    Does your band approach a contest performance differently to another type of performance, e.g. a concert? If so, how and why?

    Cos we wanna win!
     
  4. Di B

    Di B Member

    For example, do you think there is too little/about right/too much emphasis on contests?

    Varies on the band - some bands only do the area and some are non-contesting. Others do over 6 contests a year. Depends on the people in the band, not the section the band is in.

    Do you feel this is more/less applicable to bands of different sections or geographical regions?
    There seems to be a lot of own choice contests in the Midlands, wheras I notice more march contests in Yorkshire, so I think the regions do have different types of contests dependant on their history and the venues available.


    Do you feel that this level of emphasis on contests by bands is less/about the same/more than in previous years?
    See first point - depends on the players in the band and their attitude to contesting. A new MD can also change things.

    Does your band approach a contest performance differently to another type of performance, e.g. a concert? If so, how and why?
    Entertainment contests aren't too different from concerts. Test piece ones are though. The amount of time and energy that goes into the piece is more than a whole concerts worth of items.
    Genrally because test pieces are harder and more challenging, the odd intonation problems/splits that you can get away with on a concert will lose you points at a contest and you are being heard by other bandsmen as opposed to the general public.
    In fact, on concerts where it is known you get a banding audience I have found bands try and put on stronger performances - so maybe it is to do with impressing your peers?
     
  5. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    For example, do you think there is too little/about right/too much emphasis on contests?

    Too little, we only contest once but every other year.

    Do you feel this is more/less applicable to bands of different sections or geographical regions?

    I think in bands typically contest from once every other year to twice a year (or 3x if they go overseas) depending on the band. Obviously a lot less than the average UK band.

    Do you feel that this level of emphasis on contests by bands is less/about the same/more than in previous years?

    A little less. Our band used to go every year, but has cut back to every other year.

    Does your band approach a contest performance differently to another type of performance, e.g. a concert? If so, how and why?

    When we contest pretty much everybody in the band will practice at home. If not contesting maybe 30-40% of the band will practice band parts regularly (and of course more if there is a solo or feature). Additionally, we rarely have sectionals except when preparing for contest.
     
  6. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    I finished a PhD dissertation on the performance practice attitudes, behaviour and beliefs in relation to the contest and concert environments last December (thankfully I passed otherwise it would have been a long 5 years for nothing!!). The topic was primarily an ethnographic study of both these performance contexts and rehearsals, based on the activities of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. Anyway, I have three chapters worth of work on the subject and won't go on and on about that here.

    Needless to say I had many interesting insights into the topic, the contest appreciation, behaviour, influence etc etc is currently a possible chapter in a world band compendium (wind, village, religious bands from Japan, Portugal, Brazil etc) and also a paper for a SEM conference paper in Chicago this October.

    I could offer you some ideas on certain topics that you may be interested in, this being said, I would prefer not to have to re-write everything on here. If you are interested in the contest aspect I could send you my contest chapter in an abridged form, which may open some avenues of questions for you and the questionnaires you may send to your fellow band players.

    Anyway, just an offer.
     
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The band I played recently with did not compete in many contests for a number of reasons. In fact, a few more contests could have helped develop confidence and help people overcome nervousness.

    I don't know that section or geographical location is a major factor, although clearly some areas have more contests within easy reach than others.

    Comparing my recent experience with playing with the then Coventry Festival Band in the 1970s, my recollection is that we did considerably more contests then than bands seem to do now.

    Very, very different, particularly in terms of the amount of time devoted to 15 minutes or so of music: with concert items, some band members seemed reluctant to do more than blow the piece through a couple of times, and seemed to resent the MD when he was wanting to pull it apart and get things right. I think there is too much emphasis on the test piece to the exclusion of other music, whereas in the past we always seemed to be rehearsing concert items at the same time, even in the last week or so before the contest.
     
  8. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    FWIW, my opinion is that some bands concentrate too much on contesting - for the sake of contesting, and some bands concentrate too little on it.

    IMHO, contesting is a tool. Having to work on a test piece for an extended period of time helps bands to develop and improve. However, doing too much contesting means that bands are improving (hopefully) but in a vacuum. I suppose it depends whether you are banding for your own purely selfish satisfaction or whether you are doing it to 'spread the joy'.

    Personally, I want to do the latter. I feel that having a musical gift means you have a responsibility to share it with others. Music is for sharing - that's why sound travels!

    I don't think that, overall, there is the same level of contesting as previously. I think that more visibility just exposes what is already there under the surface.

    I think most bands approach contest pieces in a different way than concert pieces. The purpose of the music is quite different and the approach needs to be different. Perhaps it's a difference of intensity? A good band will treat all its music seriously, but nobody wants to come last in the contest so they will put a little more intensity into the contest piece.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  10. For example, do you think there is too little/about right/too much emphasis on contests?

    i think it depends from band to band but i think most bands i know seem to do maybe 5/6 contests a year and personally the year is focussed around these dates (rightly or wrongly). BUT there is a lot of difference even between an entertainment contest and a test piece contest, especially the areas, in terms of pressure and emphasis. contesting is a means to end.


    Do you feel this is more/less applicable to bands of different sections or geographical regions?

    i dont think either is particularly important.


    Do you feel that this level of emphasis on contests by bands is less/about the same/more than in previous years?

    i don't think the emphasis and intensity of contests from within my band has changed.


    Does your band approach a contest performance differently to another type of performance, e.g. a concert? If so, how and why?

    yes. in terms of practice - rehearsals are structured differently, spending a two hour practice on one movement of a piece rather maybe covering 5/6 pieces in a night. rather then 2 practices a week it can be upped to 4 in the weeks before a contest. personal practice - im sure most bandsmen practice more at contest time. the on-stage intensity is simply not the same for a concert and i suppose you mentally prepared (are scared!!) in a different way.
     
  11. Euph Chris

    Euph Chris New Member

    Thanks, some interesting points raised there.

    Just out of interest does anyone know roughly how many concerts their band performs in, compared with the number of contests?
     
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