Duty of care.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by marksmith, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    I was wondering if all bands are trying their hardest to fulfil their duty of care responsibilities for members?
    The most obvious is the requirement to obtain a Disclosure certificate (old CRB) for those taking charge of minors, in their capacities as responsible adults.
    Most will have covered the obvious in their band policies documents but what about the comfort aspects?
    Is it reasonable for members to be expected to sit in one position, for 1.5 or 2 hours, without a comfort break?
    Not only can it present problems physically (DVT), it can also be detrimental to the success of the rehearsal.
    Those in education, plan delivery of information in the general acceptance that the average concentration span is 20-30 minutes.
    Extending individual learning beyond that period, without a break or change of focus, tends to diminish the ability of participants to retain information.
    Many bands play straight through rehearsals, without the old tea/comfort breaks, in order to allow time to socialise at a suitable 'watering hole', at the end of the evening.
    Having some back damage/arthritis, as well as sitting on bandroom standard seating for two hours, I find this a challenge in itself, as little relief can be gained from fidgeting!
    The lack of liquid refreshment (tea/coffee/squash) that we used to share responsibility for, can lead to de-hydration and muscle cramps, again eased by a short break.
    Those dealing with physical conditions know how to ease/control these symptoms e.g taking your own water, but having to stand and relieve cramp or severe back-pain is not always understood, or appreciated, by others!
    So, despite the seemingly unnecessary interuption to proceedings, allow a short break mid-rehearsal, try to find a volunteer (create a rota?) to prepare a drink, and you will keep players happier, increase second-half concentration, as well as take better care for the welfare of your members.
  2. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    I heard that Bb Basses are going to be banned on marches because of health and safety gone mad
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  3. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I think they have been banned already in military bands
  4. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I've never had a priblem with a 2 hour rehearsal and no break.
    I am no longer a young man.
    I have a bad back.
    But really, is it too much to ask 25 adults (I play in an adult band which may have some younger players but if they want to play with aduts then they should behave, act and be treated like adults) to control themselves for 2 hours?
    No one has to concentrate all the time, the condcutor will concentrate on different sections at different times.
    Th conductor is the exception but he/she is being paid to concentrate for 2 hours.
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  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Everyone's experience will differ, but in my personal experience this is not the reality. We used to have a rehearsal break, but we stopped it many years ago, and one of the reasons was that I found that concentration nose-dived after the break.
    Playing professionally, I am used to 3-hour rehearsals, and I do think that 3 hours is too long not to have a break, but two hours? Shouldn't really be necessary in my experience.
  6. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Surely carrying a Bb would be good training for the military?
  7. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    I can't disagree that two hours should be acceptable (in an ideal world), but we all have a responsibility to consider every player's needs.
    I am sure that recent changes in the disability act, would view a two hour expectation as unreasonable.
    I, personally, suffer with sciatica, due to slipped discs, this can be agonisingly painful over two hours, having to support my instrument and sitting as upright, as playing requires. I accept this as individual needs but has to be considered by a band, or contest organising committee, if the act be adhered to.
    Some folding chairs used for contests and park concerts are not fit for purpose in modern society, unable to securely support the fuller figure, let alone those with disabilities.
    I suggested the return of the comfort break as a way of accommodating the minority needs, without having to be identified as an individual with 'special needs'.
    I do agree with Gareth that concentration after the break can be hindered by the stoppage, again this becomes an issue to discuss with the band members, who may be able to see the greater good of having one.
    Instilling the requirement for a band pencil, is less beneficial to an individual than having a bottle of water. It is done because we all need to note alterations to the score, when made. We also need to keep the brain hydrated during rehearsal, maintaining concentration for that later section of the rehearsal.
  8. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    I have Autistic Spectrum Disorder. This affects my ability to concentrate for extended periods. Probably no more than anyone else, but I don;t have the ability to force myself to keep going like they do. I do need a break half way through a rehearsal. My condition also means I can't do something while being shown how to do it. I have to be shown and then do it. Quite difficult for a conductor to cope with as they like to lean over stands and point at things while you play them! As I have said before, I think bands have a low tolerance of difference and we are expected to conform rather than having adjustments made for us.
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  9. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    Great example Gordon, thank you for being so open. Your particular challenges would not necessarily be apparent to those around you and could cause people to be unnecessarily judgemental. Frustrating at rehearsal for both parties? Good communication and awareness are vital to deal with an example like yours, a quiet word in the MD's ear, perhaps? All the best.
  10. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Seating is almost always a problem. I have a very severe neck problem which greatly restricts my freedom of movement and causes numerous other symptoms like numbness and tingling across my body. Some chairs seem designed specifically to aggravate my problems and the symptoms persist for days, or occasionally weeks and months. In many cases, there is nothing that can be done about the seating in venues (churches, clubs etc) but I would have thought councils would have a more direct responsibility to ensure their seating is not likely to cause damage to people, given that they are the enforcers of Health and Safety, but park seating seems to be amongst the poorest design of all! Should a band, then, have its own seating? I think that might be a bit extreme - and expensive!
    marksmith likes this.
  11. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    In a previous life we used to have a break, where the 'Friends of....' would rush out and boil the urn and make tea and coffee. The band would break and wander in for their refreshments. the queue for the toilet would form and the smokers would pop outside for their 'needs'. All this resulted in a 10 minute break usually lasted 20 to 25 mins, much the frustration of MD and those wanting to get on with it.

    imho a band does not need a break, and if you are enjoying your playing a 2 hour session should just fly by.......
  12. midlandman

    midlandman Member

    Sorry can't agree maximum 20 mins concentration so within an hour some players will reach that before the hour, depends on what is being practised, then a need for rehydration tea, coffee, water. Besides the fact that the mid session break gives a social aspect to the rehearsal.
  13. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Too much time gets wasted with a break in the middle and socialising can be done afterwards. For those suffering with posture problems and sore bottoms, can't you bring a cushion or one of those doughnut things along to ease your suffering?
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  14. cjwood555

    cjwood555 Member

    Or you could try empathy and compromise?
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  15. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I rather thought it was a practical suggestion. I know of a child who has his own cushion at school because of his physical limitations.
  16. second_horn

    second_horn Member

    I must be lucky, I play in 2 bands and we both have a 10min break per 2 hr rehearsal. I thought this was the norm! To be fair, it used to be annoying when a 10 min break turned into a 20 min one, but with our new conductor 10 minutes is just that. I take a bottle of water with me to every rehearsal. One band provides hot drinks too! And with regard to basses, we have had to give up any marching engagements because not one of our basses can march due to health/back problems.
    marksmith likes this.
  17. cjwood555

    cjwood555 Member

    Sorry my bad.

    My own opinion is that a short break is a good thing. It's already been mentioned that it provides a chance to be sociable. It's also often a good idea to take a short break when working on challenging pieces that tax brain and not just the lip and fingers. Often you'll hear people at our bands running through fiddly sections by themselves during the break, whilst the context is still fresh in their minds.

    midlandman mentions the point of concentration. Whilst some people will be used to and good at concentrating for extended periods (e.g I used be a theatre sound op so am used to being attentive and focussed for a couple of hours), others are not - look at the number of accidents on motorways to prove that point. Regardless of how good somebody is at focussing on a single task in minute detail for a long time, it has been shown to be tiring and stressful. No matter how seriously you take it, banding is fundamentally a hobby and should be enjoyable, not stressful!

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