Disagreements Aired in Public

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Charmed, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    The recent 'news' article on 4barsrest from a well known conductor explaining his reasons for resigning from a well known band, have resulted in a statement from the band in response. The band having to defend their position re commitment of players.

    I have 2 questions I would like to ask, one which has probably been discussed before -

    1) Is it a real problem a lack of commitment from players which makes it difficult to rehearse and results in requiring deps all the time?
    2) Is it right to air disagreements/problems on a public website? Or should these problems be left between the band and conductors/ex players?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006
  2. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    1) It isn't a problem if the conductor is happy knowing that is going to be the case and the players themselves are happy.
    It is a problem if the conductor expects a certain level of commitment and a certain percentage of bums on seats on practice nights and these are not achieved.

    2) The disagreements/ problems were not aired on a public forum but were released as statements on a brass band news website which I think is ok to do as it's no different to those same statements being published in the British Bandsmen for instance.
    This thread is on a public forum and I think if the relevant parties were on here posting arguments back and forth then I think it would be a bit unprofessional
  3. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I guess that would entirely depend on the nature of the disagreement and the amount of pragmatism, tact and diplomacy shown when either side presented their case.

    Why is it often seen as unprofessional to debate things in public...? Of course if this is to be the case then it obviously needs to be done in a pragmatic manner. But I see nothing wrong in sensible debate for all to view or take part in.
  4. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Depends on the perspective. A few observations on my part:-

    a) In some top bands there is an expectancy that you miss little or any jobs or rehearsals. In this regard a band needs continuity to improve and the fact that people are missing sometimes irks some of those players who are really driven, even in their hobbies. As the academic Ruth Finnegan says "banding to some is their job" even when it isn't money earning. I remember missing two weeks of B+R rehearsals in my first year in the band and I had people telling me that it wasn't on!

    b) People in banding seem to think that you should turn up to band so that you prepare to win at contests and that is the only reason that they should do so. Hence, players enjoying themselves but playing wrong notes or making a few mistakes get pressure put on them, which sometimes results in membership change. People need to realise that doing banding is a hobby and not a highly driven work whilst appreciating the perspective of others. Sympathy with turn-outs and the players commitment has to be paramount.

    c) from the conductor perspective:- If you turn up and are expected to lead the band through a rehearsal and prepare work, how can they do so if say no percussion turns up. Can't do solos successfully without a soloist. Can't really do anything successfully with no basses etc etc. If there are a number of players unavailable then there should either be deps or perhaps cancel the rehearsal. But it is unfair on a guy who if he just turns up and just wags through or runs through a few pieces gets stick!

    d) Lack of commitment or pulling out of rehearsal after rehearsal is really really really really annoying for players who have to sort out deps and more time is taken organising deps than anything else.

    e) Moral cannot be good if only half a band turns up all the time, since even the most laid back of people want to feel that they have gained something from travelling 10s of miles to play.

    f) As for the public aspect. I think these are things that have probably occurred before behind closed doors and just haven't been able to be released in the press. This particular argument is surely significant since it should open the argument out into the general public domain.

    There's my perspective.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006
  5. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    I totally agree with you and I'm not saying that it's unprofessional to "debate" this sort of thing in public. But what Susan said was "air Disagreements" which can also be taken to mean argue.

    Both parties have put their point of view across in press statements which is fine and on forums such as this we can debate them, even the people involved, which is also fine.
    However if that debate became a slanging match between the parties then in my opinion, whilst entertaining for the rest of us, it would be unprofessional of them.
  6. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Point taken and duly ammended. I apologise for using the wrong termonology. ;)

    The point I was making was the band only put out a press release because they felt they needed to respond to the original statement. I was wondering how we felt about bands being put in this position. After all, this could jeopardise potential recruitment and as it was put out on a public brass band webite, it may harm the band in the long run. Surely we, in the brass band world, want to do everything we can to keep the movement going and not potentially damage any band.
  7. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    For what my opinion is worth, I feel that this kind of thing is akin to airing your dirty washing in public.I'm not sure what the point of it all is. Unless you were trying to align supporters for your side, it doesn't really involve others.

    Particularly when the 'conflict' reaches local or national television, think someone's out to gain some publicity. Not the most professional attitude IMHO.
  8. fulcherc

    fulcherc Member

    I agree with Mike totally :clap: all "disagreements" should be kept within the Band room, with a totally professional stance in the public arena - I'd also say "what goes around, comes around" and you never know what might be around the corner.
  9. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I think in an "ideal world" when there is a parting like this I wish the MD and band would come up with a joint statement instead of one releasing their story and then the other, both trying to save face...as I have seen before.

    As far as the professionalness of this. I think what was done by both band and MD was professional (for the most part)...they both issued one statement...this is not very much unlike what would be seen in a scientific journal and I think professional debate keeps everybody honest...

    that being said I think both parties may have walked abit too close to the line on this one.
  10. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    I agree with Pat - both these notices seem far too close to the line.

    I appreciate that the MD has a right to be upset if he took the position on the understanding that he would have a full band every night, and in that case he would be right to resign as a consequence of perpetual empty seats.

    On the other hand I know only too well that personal / job comittments can prevent people from turning up (after all - I live in Essex and play for a Yorkshire band which is fine when I can find work in Yorkshire but when I take time off or am working elsewhere I cannot attend band. At present I am grateful that the band accepts this position but I would be perfectly happy if (/when) they can find someone better who can fill the seat more regularly.)

    However, I think that the 4BR publications from both sides give a poor representation of both the individual band concerned and of the Brass Band movement in general, and in particular I feel that the band committe could have sat back and thought about things for a while rather than produce a response which, to my reading, simply says "Yes, we have commitment issues" - in fact, in ntheir attempts to be defensive, aggressively agreeing with the MDs statement !

    p.s. ..... Just as an additional thought thought (and echoing suggestions made on various threads regarding 'professional' depping and charges) - a well worded contract between the parties would have both clarified the level of commitment expected and also prevented either party from issuing a potentially damaging unilateral press release.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    To me, it just represents the expectations from an older school of banders and stark reality in modern life. In days gone by, to remain playing in a top level band, you had to demonstrate both ability and 100% commitment. Missing a couple of rehearsals (never mind contests or concerts) could result in you losing your seat or even being sacked. Nowadays, to earn a living there are more jobs paying less and more overtime or shift changes to help make up the deficit to earn a half-decent living.
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    That reminds me of the old City of Coventry Band under Albert Chappell, where the "B" band players were expected to turn up to the "A" band practices as well, and if the "A" band player was not in his seat by the start of the practice then the "B" band player took over, and often not only for that practice!

    Whilst in general terms I would have reservations about disagreements being aired in public, it is a sad fact that the rumour mill soon gets working when a conductor leaves a band. It may have been felt that the initial announcement would just clear the air, and as a side effect would alert other bands of the sort of commitment the conductor would be expecting from his players in the future.
  13. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Maybe it says more about us banders than it does about either party? The thing is, it doesn't do either party any good in the end. They both come out of it looking like they've got dirty hands, whether they have or not. Let the rumour mill have its way - if no one comes out with a knife in either back or hand it doesn't really matter what other parties have to say about it. Why bring it into the light?
  14. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    There does seem to be a vague hint of backstabbing going on, which is rather unhealthy for the band and for the reputation of the conductor. We often write things in the heat of the moment which we regret later, but by then it's too late. I think that Mr Lippiatt should perhaps have been a bit fairer in his comments, maybe citing 'professional differences' or 'family reasons' etc. (look at Kevin Keegan's list of excuses), rather than sticking the knife in. I personally think that Mr Lippiatt has acted in a childish manner and it is only fair to let the band respond. I also think that, of the two parties in this debate, the band have come out as being on the moral high ground and Mr Lippiatt has made himself look foolish, unprofessional and spiteful.
  15. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I think that most disagreements that bands have wouldn't be of any interest to anyone else, and I don't really understand why anyone else would be interested in THIS particular disagreement...so I suppose I therefore don't understand why the two parties have decided to discuss this in the public arena.

    With regard to committment...bands nowadays HAVE to realise that players are NOT going to be able to attend every rehearsal, do every concert, do extra rehearsals etc because of the change of opinion surrounding banding i.e. band is NOT seen as the be all and end all of most people's lives any more...we all have other responsibilities (families, work, other hobbies etc) which all have to take priority at some points.

    This is compounded by the fact that there is an increasing shortage of players...

    However, most players do understand this (as do most bands), and most bands DO put the players before the 'band' if you see what I mean...and don't put undue pressure on people who are really struggling with committment (and I don't just mean those who miss the odd rehearsal).

    Committment isn't just about turning up to rehearsals and jobs, but is about what the person puts into the band (practise, committee, giving lifts etc etc etc), and more recognition of this would surely encourage less attendance problems?

    Also, I do believe that the conductor has a part to play in encouraging committment...if the band and the conductor just don't gel, then people will let their feet do the talking won't they?
  16. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Just made me laugh when I saw the first post from SL - I knew what was coming and it was no suprise that Ransomes made a swift reply.

    I can't stand these egotistical 'press releases' from people in banding when they move on.
    A short news item from the band stating the facts (not opinions) would suffice. As it stands neither party has come out of it with any credit.

    A not-really big fish in an ever-decreasing pond.
  17. Ali

    Ali Member

    Ae we all are aware, when we start playing you are told certian things that are to be expected from you when playing in each of the sections. Tell me if Im wrong but when people talk about the championship section, committment is usually at the top of the list along with ability. So when a young 16 or 17 year old get the oppertunity to play at the top level, most of them would take the chance. So you could also imagine their suprise if they turned up to a top class band, worried that if they make a mistake they could be on their way out (even thought they have practised solidly on improving themselves and their parts) just to find out that everything they had ever been told about committment, being professional and having to be excellent to stay in your seat are actually just myths (in general)!!! Well, lets face it, thats how banding is going. If you cant commit to hard work and attending band (and not letting down the other members in the process) then why not step down and let some who is willing to do the rehearsals and the work take your place! With some of the attitudes that have been shown, cna people understand why banding is in such a poor state at the moment! We are lucky at my band. Its almost 100% attendance every time. Thats because we respect the band, respect the conductor and most importantly, respect each other! Maybe thats why it was felt that this "disagreement" should be brought into the public domain.
  18. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I agree with some of what you are saying, but the stark reality is that many bands do not have a pool of wannabees waiting to fill every seat. If they did, I would be the first one to get the boot from my band :oops:
  19. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I think scotchgirls comment is spot on. Who, other than banders, actually care if a band loses a conductor. For that matter, I'm sure there are many banders in other parts of the country who, until these statements, had never heard of, or knew little about either the MD or the band. Even with the parties in question. I think that bands are beginning to lose the plot with press releases and news articles every time someone in the band sneezes. In 6 months time most people will have moved on and most will have forgotten it.

    I think some bands think that they are as important as Premiership football teams, that the Sun is about to start publishing reports about transfer speculation - "Martin O'Neill is rumoured to be interested in the Ransomes job". Or more importantly, 4br might start printing an article like that. But they don't. Very few "news" articles on 4br are original articles, they do a good job of reporting on the important things, then pad the rest out with press releases.

    I'm also a bit fed up of reading about the decline in bands and players. I can think of 4 or 5 bands in Sheffield alone who have started and now run a successful training bands. The number of players involved in these bands has therefore increased - there are also a number of bands recently in the area who have reformed or been resurected just look at the growing 4th section in Yorkshire and the Midlands. Tops band might be struggling to find the commited players, maybe it is not fewer players, but fewer prepared to give that level of commitment.

    I think my rant has gone on long enough... I wish both the band and the conductor in question the best of luck in the future and sure they will both continue to be influencial within the banding movement for years to come.
  20. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    It's also a free and very effective way of saying "conductor available for hire" and "band requires musical director" ;)

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