how long should a conductor stay with the same band?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by horn__blower, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    sorry if youve done this one already!
    something that ive been thinking about for a while now, and seeing the thread about how long youve been with the same band i thought id start this one.

    is there a time when the conductors probably been with a band too long and cant do anything new/better for the band that its time they moved on.
    is there a time when youve had the conductor for such a long time that ppl just cant stand the sight of him anymore?
    etc etc?
  2. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I suppose that really depends on whether the bands performances are suffering from his/her leadership/music selection/motivation. If the performances are still coming I see no reason for them to move on regardless.
  3. matti_raz

    matti_raz Member

    The thread title and your post give me two diferent impressions. So here I go......

    Well it's the same question as the football manager at the club ,and I don't believe there is a correct answer at all! As long as the conductor has a fruitful, successful, happy partnership with his players, that's as long..... Sometimes it's over ten years al a DK with YBS, or dare I say Chris Wormald at Smithills.... Sometimes six months or even six weeks is too long!! As long as band and conductor are happy together long should it be continued, however I believe that the moment any disharmony has occured between the two one should depart and it is better too lose one unhappy conductor than twelve beguild players, however this is too often the case in the modern band world! If it clicks great, if not don't try to change it, change them!;)

    Yes, there have been times I have been sick of the sight of an MD and sometimes it doesnt take long. If this happens, I lump it or leave depend on the indivdual situation and how it may resolve. However, the aim of every conductor should be to have stimulating, enjoyable rehearsals every rehearsal, yet too many conductors go into a rehearsal hell bent on perfect certain things in one night and sometimes as a result a certain section or people spend 45 minutes doing nothing (highly annoying!), we alienate people by doing this and it's a shame, because it is after all at most levels a hobby! If the conductor doesnt fulfill this then I'm sorry but he or she should look hard at how they can plan rehearsals better. Every rehearsal I take is sturctured in what I hope:-? is an interesting night.. not too long on one piece, work on sections but play lots of full band stuff and give everyone an equal(ish) amount of playing, do something every rehearsal thats a challenge (like the advert says "something that scares you"because it improve your basic skills) . It is when any of these is missing, I believe, that rehearsals become dull and then when players become disillusioned with an MD.:(

    ..... Just my thoughts. Interesting thread will probably post more as I think (Incase you haven't guessed my thought patterns are close to schizophrenic and I never delete so sometimes I put my foot in it and mostly its awkward but ya know...:rolleyes: )!
  4. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    If you get the hot seat at Barnstonworth you are in for life! Our new Danish conductor is so confident about his postion that he plans a sketching holiday in Iran next week.
  5. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Until the relationship is no longer productive or you can no longer afford them. Whichever comes first!
  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    If there is still a good rapport between band and MD, that is a good sign.
    If the band spend all the pub-time complaining about the MD, that is a bad sign (I have seen this a couple of times).

    If the band thinks that there is still a good reason for having that MD, that is a good sign.
    If the band can see no reason, that is a bad sign.

    If a band's contest results are consistently poor, that is not necessarily a reflection upon the MD - it could be that the band is not up to the standard they think they are. I have witnessed a band who have sacked their conductor having achieved a poor result - it never occurred to the band that they didn't have enough decent players who could actually play the music they had chosen.
    In other words - poor results do not necessarily mean that you should sack your MD.

    Always consider that an MD could be as frustrated with a band that doesn't work as a band might be with a an MD that is not working for them. Even the greatest MD couldn't get some bands playing well - if you are a 4th section band, you could get David King, Philip McCann, James Watson, Nick Childs and many others, in and you still wouldn't be a Championship section band. There is only so much that an MD can do.

    If a band is improving with an MD, keep them.

    If you are bored with the way they are running rehearsals - talk to them (most conductors are human beings, deep down) and see if they might be able to improve the way things are working. If they are still boring, ask other members of the band and see if they feel the same - it could be that they are needing to work primarily with sections of the band that you are not in (maybe your section can already play well?). Just because one person is bored, doesn't mean everyone is.

    There is no right time to replace an MD, but if the band feels that there is no progress being made (please note, I use the word progress, not results - I don't want the contest results used as a guide) then I would suggest that a discussion needs to be had.
    When a band does feel like replacing an MD, it should definitely be done as a band decision, preferably in discussion with the MD - if they agree that they can no longer work with the band (it could be that the reason they are having problems rehearsing the band is not entirely their fault) then at least their departure can be made in a diplomatic way.
  7. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Great post Mike! I feel an MD should stay as long as the relationship is productive. Like has been said, this isn't just to do with contest results as there are many other ways to measure progress. An MD is just as likely (maybe even more likely!) to get frustrated if the band doesn't have the same outlook as themselves. In the same way players can reach their peak (band moving up sections and some players just cannot cope with the new standard no matter how they try) this can happen to conductors too. In that situation it is time for the partnership to cease. On the opposite side of the fence it happens alot that a new conductor takes on a lower section band, shows what they can do but reaches a point that they want to move onto bigger things (in the same way players do).
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - Things can become stale in the bandroom with both bandmaster and players becoming too used to each other. One way to pep things up is to invite a well-known and proven conductor or band trainer along for a few rehearsals (a weekend stint maybe?) to generate new ideas and enthusiasm.
  9. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    but who should be the determinor (did i just make that word up?) of whether the relationship is still being productive/successful etc?
  10. GingerMaestro

    GingerMaestro Active Member

    my opinion when a conductor starts to show little commitment to the job in hand as my old conductor did on the run up to contests and concerts then it's time to get out either for the conductor or in my case me

    There is only so many time you can put up with the same old comments and when a conductor gives 6 good players reason to leave because of his ability in there opinion or questioning his commitment to the band then questions need to be asked

    If a conductor walked out on a band a week and a half before a big concert would you let him back into the band room I know I wouldn't but my old band had this happen and then voted to have him back

    I could rant and rave about this all day but I won't
  11. 8th position

    8th position Member

    There's already been a lot of good advice posted here, so there's very little to add. The only point that I would mention, and something that in my experience bands collectively sometimes don't think about until after the event, is who is going to conduct the band after the present incumbent is relieved of their current position. Good conductors can be hard to find. To coin a phrase "the grass is always greener..."
  12. I think sometimes it's probably time to part with a conductor even if results are still coming in ok. Sometimes conductors can want the band to get to the top,whatever, and it doesn't matter how many people get hurt in the process. This is probably ok at the top end of the banding movement, but most players at lower levels than that play just because they enjoy it (not to say those at the top don't enjoy it though!).I agree changes have to be made, but sometimes things can get a little out of hand if the conductor doesn't communicate his wishes to the committee (after all, he is employed by the band at the end of the day). When this starts to be lost it can easily break up bands completely, and no conductor, however good, is worth that.
  13. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    Nothing lasts forever i don't think - when people take on any paid job they have certain things in mind for it and have reasons for accepting that job.

    If these factors change over time then both parties may reassess their situation.

    I like the idea of getting guests in to shake it up a little - we have done this a few times in the run up to the area - and though they are totally different conductors both have added a lot to the band in just one rehearsal - as you say generating enthusiasm amongst the players.

    Its one of those questions that everyone has a slightly different view on - even within the same band. Nice thread.
  14. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    agreed :) or with the band as a whole (if there is not a committee). The cards should be laid on the table and the band makes the decision about which route they wish to take. I think the MD should have control of musicial decisions within the band at all times unless it is a decision that would drastically change the ethos of the group.

    Then this would come under 'when the band and the conductor don't have the same outlook'. If the conductor wants to replace a number of players and the majority of the band are not happy with this then that is a major conflict in interest! The conductor should then move on to a band with better players.
  15. GJacko

    GJacko Member

    This whole question depands on the band of course. As already pointed out, the band's in charge, not the MD. If the MD wants to do something else other than what the band wants, he should go and find a band that matches.

    The band I conduct has a very laid back approach. There are lots of family groups, including mine. We all want to do well, but baby sitting and all that sort of thing, has to be tolerated. If a MD knows what's happening, he (or she) can work round the missing players at rehearsals. If the attitude is right, you can nearly always put out a full band of your own players, because people will make the extra effort when it's needed. I would hate to loose my band. Some of my best friends are there!!

    Back to the thread.....In higher ranking bands, where people are more committed to playing, I think MD's should change regularly. A good example of this is where a band will employ a Professional MD for a contest or a big concert. It adds new motivation and avoids the band going stale, whilst keeping a good degree of stability.
  16. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    im glad other ppl have said that its the band in charge not the MD!!

    surely as soon as players start dropping out *because* of the MD, and theres bad feeling and little/no improvement, and no aditions to repertoire etc, its time to change conductors?