Everybody Help Move The Kit!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by David Mann, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Athies, Pas de Calais, France
    Over the years I have noticed that in many bands the same few people move the kit at the end of jobs, while others manage to avoid this. Some bands are better than others: one had all the jobs organised by rota, which was great. My band just seem to get the job done without too much fuss.
    I will confess that on occasions I have elected to carry the bass drum as it's not too heavy and looks impressive.

    What's the best excuse you've heard or seen to get out of helping?
  2. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    A pub, Surrey, UK
    In fairness, it depends exactly which kit you are talking about. Obviously, things like music stands/banners etc. & music pad/folders, or whatever you call them are fair game, and one would generally expect everyone in the band to take equal responsibility for them. However, percussion gear, now that's a different ball game. Percussionists have their own rules/routine for assembling/dis-assembling kit, and woe betide any well-meaning banders who get in the way of them. By all means offer to fetch and carry cases/coffins once they have been packed/unpacked, but do not under any circumstances interfere with the mystical art of packing/unpacking percussion gear itself!

    That's my excuse, at least ...
  3. Al

    Al Member

    We play the occasional summer season concert, being near the sea. We are lucky if we get over 50 people, which is ok I suppose, but I can't see the point in having a full kit including 2 timps, bass drum on a stand, xylophone, glockenspiel and countless other paraphernalia. Fair enough if we need it,but more times than not we don't. The concert would be just fine with a side drum and a bass drum and perhaps a cymbal or two.

    No one seems to see the futility in all that work humping it to and fro' for such small concerts.

    Ah, well, that's another rant over.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    Whilst I sympathise with that view to some extent, and agree you don't need a lot of superfluous gear, the danger of such an approach is that the percussionists are seen as peripheral appendages, rather than as full and valued members of the band. We are only going to attract high quality players if they know their efforts are essential and appreciated.
  5. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    When one member of my band was (is?) pregnant, and another one was suffering from a particularly nasty broken arm and they were *still* moving percussion gear (up and down a hill at the gig I am thinking about) around then I don't think the rest of us had any excuse!!

    Still didn't stop some people from sitting on their backsides doing nowt tho!
  6. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Burgess Hill West sussex
    There seems to be genral opinion, in my band, that band members help without any interjection(most times!) on my part!!!
  7. 1alexm

    1alexm Member

    Normally theres just a few who carry the kit to the stage, mainly it's the people who are strongest that carry the heavyish stuff, I always end up carrying 2 heavy stand boxes or one stand box and the banner bag that normally has more than just banners in, and I always seem to end up carrying the bass drum but I'd rather carry that than the coffin case (drum stands box). I'm sure everyone in my (senior) band would be willing to help carry the equipment. I don't mind carrying the kit, but setting it up is too advanced for me, being a cornet player like, so I leave that for the percussionists to do while I do other helpful things. I'm not too bothered about other members not helping out sometimes because I understand that they have busy lives and sometimes they need to get off quickly.

    Does carrying the heavy kit really impress the girls? :confused: If it does I ought to help out more hehe.
  8. In my case I find that getting the kit off quickly does not always impress the girls, or slowly, or even moderato con brio!
  9. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Oxford nowhere near the sea
    Being married to a persecusionist myself, i always pitch in (saves me listening to him whinge later) even though I have a dodgy back and shoulder, but it's always the same people that help. wouldn't mind if people all put their own stands down after but even that seems too complicated for some.....:dunno
  10. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Burgess Hill West sussex
    When they test the kit at the start of a concert or practice, i sometimes say to them, that's a bit sharp(!)
  11. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    East Sussex
    I don't think people realise how difficult it is to get another percussionist if one leaves the band, if they did they would make more of an effort to retain them. It must really hack them off putting the kit away while everyone is standing around chatting. It is for this reason I help put the kit down at the end of rehearsals and concerts and then put my stuff away, even when I am a dep. Even taking the cymbals off the stand helps.

    So next concert or rehearsal, think what it would be like to have no drummer at rehearsals for a couple of months and a dep for all concerts, it might spur you on to be more helpful.
  12. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I agree with this fully. It's quite interesting if you look at the people who do help - it's a good measure of who is a "true bandsperson"! Although it might just not occur to some people that it would be faster and easier if they also pitched in, rather than leaving the same few people to take ages to shift the kit. In a previous band we tried a rota system, since the same few people took all the stuff in their cars too, and many of the others just went home instead of helping shift the stuff back to the bandroom. All the people with cars were included in the rota, and anyone they gave lifts to were expected to go help also. It sort of worked, but it meant that someone had to manage the rota. The ideal situation would mean no management was required, everyone would go along, and everything would happen faster!
  13. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    South Elmsall
    As a percussionist myself, there is nothing more annoying than the same 3 or 4 people helping while the other prima donnas stand around chatting. The last job we did I had to take my 2 children 3 and 5 years old, and a "senior" member of the band actually gave my 5 year old daughter the snare drum to carry to Daddy so that they could carry on with a conversation un-interrupted. I almost resigned on the spot. It is honestly not too difficult to lift a piece of kit that I have packed down and take it to the car, you never know, the extra calories you burn off may just help you fit in that new outfit, and muscular arms look so much better than bingo wings.

  14. animal.22

    animal.22 Member

    Nth Lincolnshire
    As a "cussionist" I'm ALLWAYS happy for someone to help me hump :biggrin: I also understand that most people subscribe to the addage that "Many hands make light work" which is fine when it comes to " humping " but fewer well trained hands are much quicker when it comes to "erection" at the start and "pulling down" at the end of a gig. I know this smacks of having cake and consuming the same but this is generaly how it seems to work in our band.(For which I am eternally gratefull if any of you lot happen to read this :tup )
  15. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    As our band doesn't have a permanent rehearsal facility where we can store our percussion we have to load up and down all the stuff at every rehearsal.

    Most people muck in, and those that don't are soon 'asked in a friendly way' to help out.

    I too have lifted percussion stuff whilst being heavily pregnant, as well as helping to unload the band van weeks after a c-sec....I don't think that there is any excuse for laziness....Unless you are somehow incapacitated then you should help out as much as possible.
  16. Liamhorn

    Liamhorn Member

    All bands have this problem then, really annoys me when yes there is the same bunch setting up and packing down also loading the band van. Very Annoying!!
  17. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Washington, DC, USA
    We've developed a rather good system over the years.

    First, everyone has some sort of assignment on the setup/breakdown. No exceptions. Some of the assignments are rather light, others are heavier, but everyone has one.

    We divide the labor something like this:

    Conductor - go straight to stage to direct the set up of the band formation.
    Deputy Conductor - find out where we will be stashing our cases, etc.

    Load/Unload crew - get everything off the coach/truck (as the case may be) and transport it to the stage or to the area that the deputy conductor has found. After the performance, transport everything back.

    Set up/Tear down crew - one person from each section is assigned to make sure that stands are in place, and another to make sure that all music folders are in place (for this purpose, the front and back row cornets are considered separate "sections"). The section leader for each section is also on hand to oversee this operation for their particular section. Someone from another section will be assigned to do this for the percussionists. Percussionists are responsible for setting up/tearing down all of their equipment (we normally have 3 percussionists), but never for transporting any of it.

    Miscellaneous assignments - things like flags, stand banners, setting up a recording sales area, handling any literature we might be using, etc.

    The key for the percussion section is that they are not ever assigned to anything but setting up/tearing down their own equipment - someone from the load/unload crew brings it to them to set up and takes it away after it's torn down.

    When we were on tour last year, we were able to do a complete setup, from a bare stage to ready to play, in less than 10 minutes.
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