"Grade" exams for sections

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BoBo, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    This was something that occurred to me in the nearby thread about Dobcross regrading to the 3rd section.

    How about putting together a set of grading exams for competence to play in each section? The top section exam would be less than 50% musicianship I suggest. A "distinction" might require for example, lack of family commitments, confidence, thick skin and early life brass band exposure in large measure.

    I think there is a bit of fun here to try and define a syllabus for the different sections and what the allocation of marks would be for the different categories.
  2. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Forgive me, not meaning to be sarcastic but isn't that what the areas are for?
  3. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    I was thinking on an individual basis since there is a tendency for players to be "labelled" as 3rd (or whatever) section players as if it was some sort of disease and dare I suggest a touch of snobbery if one is a championship player? See the Dobcross regrading debate in the adjudicators area for example.

    So for example for grade 8 exam a horn player might have to play a movement from a Mozart Horn Concerto.

    OK so if we had grade exams for championship, 1st section, 2nd section etc. what would the criteria be? Championship would be easy, be able to play all of Arban, sight read any solo from any test piece etc. etc.

    4th section, (and hey, this is just for laughs ok?) look good in a band jacket or whatever.

    My point is that you get good and less good players in all sections so on a more serious note a big factor in what section people play in is the opportunities they are given, their family commitments, etc. NOT as is often implied in these pages a direct measure of their musicianship.

  4. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    :clap: :clap: :clap:

    totally agree, there is no such thing as a 'champioship section player' there are only 'champioship section bands', I have contestsed with bands ranging from un-registered bands at a local contest to champioship section bands, do i suddenly become a better/worse player depemnding on which band I play with?
  5. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    Not forgetting that in some areas there isn't that much choice in where you can go to play regardless of your ability. Where I live it would be over 50 miles to any other serious band so I play in the section that the band is in or not at all.
  6. Lewis Chris

    Lewis Chris Member

    We're all serious bands Ian. I think you should have phrased that a little differently, lol.

    I'm playing in a third section band at the areas this year. But I help bands out at all levels when I can, and not just brass bands.

    The band I conduct are un registered, does that mean that all the players are rubbish? Not at all. We aren't (insert any "top" band name here) but we can still hold a tune. Many of our players have gone on to join top bands and a couple play for 'better' bands as well as us. As it has been said, are they rubbish when they play for us but suddenly amazing when they play elsewhere?

    Although in fairness I do quite like the idea of 4th section bands/players looking good in band jackets. I think they would then be the 'best' players because lets face it, they're not all the most attractive things to look at (the jackets!!!).
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  7. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    Maybe I did word it badly. What I meant to say is that I know my level and my limitations and whilst happy to help out other local bands it would be 50 miles for me to find another at the same standard and I personally having played at that level would not want to commit week in week out to anything less.

    Not sure I quite understand the jackets stuff, am I missing the point?
  8. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I know this was said in jest but it did make me think, the better bands (in any section) do tend to look like a good band as soon as they go on stage.

    Attenetion to detail in regards to appearance perhaps reflects attention to detail when playing?
  9. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    It depends, some people think that because they play in the championship section band that puts them above anyone else.

    Personally (I'm a champ section trombonist) If I am free and can get to the job I'll play for anyone who asks. Champ section all the way to non-contesting bands and I will work just as hard at a 4th section gig as I would at my own bands gig.

    Week in, week out. I'd go to a 2nd section band no problem. Never played in 3rd or 4th section for contesting. Done one rehearsal with a 4th section band for a gig. Didn't have any problems with the standard of the band.
  10. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

    I play in a Championship section band as well as a (less than Championship section) Salvation Army Band. I can a) play all of Arban and b)sight read any solo from any test piece. a)not at the correct tempo and b) not at the correct tempo or probably with great accuracy.

    I don't think you can generalise for grades for sections. There are some exceptional players in lower sections and some 'ordinary' players in Championship section bands.
  11. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    Good God! :eek:

    I play for a Championship section band, and I don't think I could hack my way through the entire Arban without a bit of prior practice!

    AND, I'm not so sure that I look over-good in a band jacket either-an I going to be relegated to the legendary '5th Section' now?!

    On a more serious note-I do agree. While I think there are some people who don't necessarily deserve to be in a Championship Section Band (mentioning no bands and no names), there are no such things a 'championship section players'. Championship bands-sure. It's all about teamwork :)
  12. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    Thanks guys - this is exactly what I was thinking. To me one of the best things about banding is the fact that you can find a level that suits you and that there is no stigma (or shouldn't be!) with playing in a lower section band because there are some fine musicians inthe lower sections who are quite capable of playing in higher sections but don't because of distance, families, work etc. etc.

    The point about band jackets (come on guys lets not take this too seriously right though there is a serious point here) is that brass banding IS accessable to all if someone knows which way up to hold a cornet.

    And yes it is of great comfort to us 3rd section players to know there are champ section players who cannot play all of Arban (probably only a few though).

    So how about some suggestions as to what lower sections do better than champ section. Starter for 10, looking good in band jackets. How about not taking contesting too seriously, or drinking more beer on Whit Friday?:p

  13. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    One thing with that, if a band doesn't take contesting seriously, should they be contesting?
    Most of the very top players don't have a chip on their shoulder with regards to playing for a lower section band. With my old band we had a concert and an end chair player had been told by his doctor that he couldn't play. The dep that came in at the drop of a hat happened to play for one of the best bands in the country. Came in, played the part, thanked the band for letting them play, had a drink and went home just like the next person. Fantastic!
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - we have to get these bass trom players practising more, lol! :rolleyes: Gamesmanship (or is it gamespeopleship nowadays?) has always existed in competition, and it's up to certain individuals whether they want to be seen as posers or whatever! As for grading, I feel it would be impossible to fairly administer as bands can theoretically hire and fire as they want to distort their true position.
  15. Lewis Chris

    Lewis Chris Member

    What I meant was that if the qualification to be a 4th section player/band was to look good in a jacket they would be the best players.

    If they don't have to practice they could spend hours ironing shirts perfectly, adjusting their jackets to fit properly etc. Where as the championship players would be practicing away all the time and not be able to do this. And as it's been said many times in other threads, if the band looks good they must be good. Very tongue in cheek sorry :biggrin:
  16. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    I actually think to some degree this is true. If you feel that you look good and you feel comfortable, it's easier to play.

    Our youth band is a great example (sorry if that sounds big-headed :oops: ) but whenever we play at an entertainment contest, we look the biz. And it gets noticed and commented on. Clearly it doesn't actually make you a good player if you can walk onto the stage in an orderly fasion without falling over-but it does create a good impression.

    People still judge books by their covers. Knowing this, I think all bands should make the effort not to amble on without a care in the world. An audience appreciates the band that makes the effort, and so does an adjudicator.

    It's not ALL about the music. Mostly. But not ALL :)
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008

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