Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by GER, Jan 16, 2018.
We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one
I take your point in respect of participation, but I would bet that many bands at Butlins went on the stage 'short handed', (we, for example, were missing a trombonist and a 4th front row cornet). I know it is correct to say, the rules allow you to use a dep so it's your own fault if you don't, but that's not really my point, as per my previous posts, it is more the bands that are using dep's at the expense of regular members, and solely for the purpose of 'taking the cash' (If this is really happening, I overheard it in conversation, and to be fair nobody posting has denied it happening, so I can only presume it does) that seems somewhat immoral, and maybe needs looking at.
On a further point whilst the argument is valid regarding bands potentially not going to the contest due to shortage of players, surely there is the other side where bands decide not to go because they are short and haven't access to dep's , knowing (or thinking) that there will be bands there 'made up' by dep's so it's not worth going. for example in the 4th section out of the 11 bands that competed in 2017, 5 did not go in 2018, including the 2017 winner, obviously we don't know why they didn't compete, but it may be worth finding out.
The further this discussion goes, the harder it becomes to resolve, it may be what is in place is the best answer,(personally I still think a review would be a good idea) but at least it has been a lively topic with various views, so thanks to one and all for your contributions, I suspect this is one that will raise it's head sporadically
2017 S4 champions were in the 3rd section.....
We went to Butlins 2 short but with our own band. Personally I have used deps for contests in the past, but I would only do it if a) we were short and b) there was no other option. What other bands do - or can afford to do - is up to them
Well I denied it. And anyway, only in Pyongyang does a lack of denial constitute proof of something!
It's a rumour that surfaces regularly, but no-one ever gives specific examples - just a lot of "I heard in the bar that such-and-such a band did xyz..." - and without specific evidence it certainly doesn't need looking at. If contest organisers swept into action to deal with every post-contest pub rumour there'd be no time for the actual contest. I'd say that the onus is on those people concerned about it to produce specific evidence of malpractice that has harmed other bands before any action needs to be contemplated, wouldn't you? And the fact remains that ANY rule brought in to prevent it would end up harming the bands that genuinely need to use a dep for any one of a million reasons, and would in the end, reduce participation. Surely everything we do in banding should be geared towards increasing participation? It's a hobby, for god's sake.
In any case, even if it's happening it's about 23rd on the list of Things That Need Sorting In Banding - way behind, for example, why the number of players available seems to be diminishing (in support of which claim I offer the number of desperate last minute area contest pleas for cornets, basses and percussion currently filling the 4barsrest facebook page) and what we are collectively, nationally going to do about it.
I agree, it's way down the list.
(From here on, it's totally O/T, sorry GER)
The number of players available is definitely a problem - a lot of it is (I think) due to other commitments and players choosing not to be regularly committed to bands. I'm sure I'm not alone in knowing plenty of people who are more than capable of playing for bands but who either have other things on or simply don't want to commit.
Perhaps there's less band loyalty these days than there might have been in the past with people essentially retiring early from banding where they might've continued longer in the past?
Lots of half-empty bands around at the moment - some manage to scratch together players to fill those empty seats come contest time and some struggle, but at the end of the day you could argue that there are too many bands out there for the number of regularly available players... whilst it might be a shame to see some established names and/or old banding institutions go, it could be argued that having a few less bands out there but the oes left being more stable/full bands might actually make the movement stronger.
As things stand, we have bands at times virtually disappearing through lack of players (sometimes recovering, sometimes not) and we actually have new bands being formed sometimes too - is this really what the movement needs? Probably not - but at the same time, if there are enough people wanting to band together to start up a new band then perhaps that works out for the best (even if it's likely to hasten the end of longer established bands).
“In any case, even if it's happening it's about 23rd on the list of Things That Need Sorting In Banding - way behind, for example, why the number of players available seems to be diminishing (in support of which claim I offer the number of desperate last minute area contest pleas for cornets, basses and percussion currently filling the 4barsrest facebook page) and what we are collectively, nationally going to do about it.” Anno, above.
Why are the number of players diminishing?
# We stopped teaching kids for free in schools - I couldn’t have learnt a any other way.
# We expect folk to do two rehearsals a week plus sectionals for contests when they already have loads of family and work commitments.......... and then we expect them to do large numbers of concerts and other fundraisers.
# We (players and conductors) sometimes get snotty with weak players so they jack it in. I’m unusual in that I’m constantly looking to support, encourage and assist those around me.
# People expect to play well without practicing and we also don’t do playing in small groups well - sometimes a group of eight mixed instruments with no decent players is all you have and you need to get used to the idea of just playing and doing what you can.
# Too much awareness of what the elite players can do and too little emphasise on just doing what you can do, enjoying it and not feeling so third rate that you might as well give up - some social expectations are just so unhelpful.
Put like that, I totally agree with you two. On your subject my main comment would be that after a 20 year break, on my return, I don't see any fundamental changes have occurred, it seems as though the world has moved on, banding hasn't, if anything it has taken backward steps. 2t raises some valid points, but with the exception of teaching (which is probably the severest blow to banding after the closing of the mines) all the points are the same as they were 20,30, 40 years ago, but nowadays the competition for our leisure time is way more intense than it used to be. When was the last time a survey was done of the grass roots of banding to try and find out the feelings of the membership, for example why is there a rise in 'non-contesting' bands?. We can bemoan the fact that we are losing players etc etc, but to be frank we need, as a movement, to get off our backsides and work at getting this fantastic pastime back into peoples minds.
With children not playing, it’s not just the free lesson thing, they also have too much other stuff and too many distractions (iPad is more interesting)! There are members in our band who started as kids- they had to learn scales first. If you taught that way now Days, the kids would last about two weeks then moan they were bored! I teach piano and have several pupils who don’t practice enough cause they have Piano Monday, basketball Tuesday, swimming Wednesday etc plus homework! I did brownies and music as a child and that was it. (I also had to practice every day, parents too often expect it to magically happen these days!)
The two days a week rehearsal thing is a point with some bands. A band local to me always has several vancancies, one of their rehearsal days is Friday which ruins the weekend for many people. If they reduced to one, sensible day, maybe they wouldn’t have the same issue.
I guess in someways the world has
changed, many families didn’t even have TVs 50 years ago! Now days they get their entertainment online and TV, with many stations, so not the same interest in outside activities.
One of the Bands I play for, due to lack of players won't be going to their Area, this will mean relegation, which could lead to more players leaving. paying Deps is a way out but where are the Deps ? In ten years time most Area's will, I fear have very small
sections, or very small Bands
Been hearing this for over ten years already... Pardon me for being sceptical.
I know you're not saying this, but..
I'm always slightly concerned to hear we need radical change in order to survive - this has given us "entertainment" trends that seem to be turning concerts and entertainment contests into circus acts (often contrived and mediocre in delivery).
It appears that some people don't believe that change can ever be negative, and there's a risk of a loss of identity and exchanging an appeal that's sustained us for decades for an appeal whose long-term success is a complete unknown
There are areas where if a child studies an instrument through the education system, they are not allowed to play with bands run outside of the music service!
How ridiculous... And yet, sadly not hard to believe
That’s absolutely ridiculous! Why shouldn’t they play in the ensembles they want to play in? That seems really wrong to me.
Sadly that is something that my own children came up against, though in reverse.
We started with the school system but didn’t use it for long because the particular Peripetetic Teachers available there didn’t jell with my children, didn’t progress their skills much if at all and provided rubbish value for money. We found private teachers worked better for us, but because we used them our children were barred from playing in school music groups, assemblies and concerts - possibly because they could run rings around their school taught peers.
This all seems a long way away from the original post ......
Maybe we should have started a new thread!
Seems very very wrong that those learning outside of school don’t get the same opportunities to perform and participate as those learning through the school system. Doesn’t happen with sport. Those learning outside school still get opportunities to be part of the teams, in fact are often chosen.
I think if the availability is there kids will learn...
My kids junior school had 30 beginner brass... i think it comes down to the teacher
I'm sorry to say it does happen in sport...if a child has signed to a football clubs academy then they again are n
It permitted to play for any other teams!
The band that I play in has a beginners or kids band (in which there are adult learners too) and it is doing well. It’s doing well due to a few things: we have an exceptional MD who besides having great playing skills just knows how to get the best out of people, we have a large group of volunteers who help run the training practices and we go out and recruit youngsters into the band. We do have adults and teenagers in the main band who have graduated from the training band.
In ‘my’ band the success of our training band does stem from the MD’s talents and how they pull others along with their ideas. I know of a couple of other bands that do similar and suspect that their success is more a team effort with the Band’s Officers doing more of the behind the scenes leading and organising, but ultimately the kids have got to like going and that’s down to the MD.
Interestingly I played in one Band who had, what felt to me at the time, a demanding MD. I felt on edge in some rehearsals and - unlike now - didn’t always look forward to going to band. Part of the problem was my own poor skills but I worked hard at improving them - so a mix of issues - and off the top of my head I can think of three other Conductors who are even worse. That MD also conducted a completely separate training and to my amazement he completely changed with the kids, he adopted a much more tolerant and gentler style with them. Some of the youngsters that he coped with and later developed have gone on to play at the highest levels so he has the skills to really develop players.
It’s just an observation but (what feels like) an overly demanding or abrupt MD in a band half full of weak adult players isn’t well suited to getting the best out of that group. However a simple and easy enough change in their style can see then achieving much more with a band - and both retaining and recruiting players. In short, MD’s need to alter their style to match the needs of the group in front of them.
........... “I think it comes down to the teacher” (too).
So how do we keep those same enthusiastic children interested right through secondary school and uni/college days for many of them into adult membership? As a village band, we had a training band with around 10 members, but once the children started leaving the village to travel to secondary school each day, membership dropped like a stone and we were left with just a couple of rather sporadic members. A real shame, but the training band stopped, and those children, who never practiced anyway, stopped coming.
How do you get them practicing in between Bands anyway? How do other groups manage this?
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