How to define whether your band is a success

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Seth, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Seth

    Seth New Member

    Having just looked at a prominent band's website where they claim to be the "worlds most successful brass band", it set me thinking about how you would actually define whether your band is a success.

    Would you measure success on the basis of contest wins (historic or recent), level of contests attended / invited to? rankings position? concerts performed? CDs / recordings done? music commissioned? financial stability? charitable work? having a full band? having a track record of producing players who have gone on to bigger and better things? etc, etc.

    I guess the obvious first thing that springs to mind would be recent contest wins, although only 1 band can win a contest therefore all the other competitors would not be deemed a success at that point. The band whose website I mention above haven't won the most contests overall and don't even have a Nationals win yet (although that may be put right this weekend), but they have been successful in contests over the last 10 years or so and have been ground-breaking in other areas.

    Any thoughts on this?

  2. To be a success, by your own standards, first you have to define what *you* mean by success. Then you can measure your band by that. It could be any of the things you've mentioned, and a few dozen others.
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    It all depends on what the goals of the band are. If the purpose of the band is to win contests, then the band is successful if they win. If the purpose of the band is to provide social interaction and entertainment for the members, then wins may not be necessary to success. A training band is successful if members are able to progress. Some bands could be considered "successful" merely because they've managed to operate for a long period of time.
  4. persins

    persins Member

    Cracking first post!

    Difficult one to answer as everyone will have a different expectation level.
    The level of success or greatness will also be very subjective due to the nature of what we do! One person's view on greatness will be another person's average!

    Every band will put a different priority on each of the conditions you mention, and so it is difficult to measure a band's success objectively or consistantly compared to another.

    One look at some of the discussions on the merits / accuracy of the 4br rankings will immediately show you a difference in opinion on the varying success levels of just one of your suggested success measures!
  5. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    every single seat in my band is filled by a bona fide legend, and the band sound rarely fails to move the audience to tears.

    i'd say that was a success.
  6. Jonesy

    Jonesy Member

    Interesting question. They are obviously 'one of' the world's more successful bands (and I'd like to see them win next saturday) but the only realistic answer is that, as others have said, success is subjective. Their prize-winning credentials in recent times are incredible, and wouldn't be surprised if they added another on at the weekend.

    I guess all of the things you mentioned are indicators of success..... but sticking them all together and weighing up top bands against each other on some kind of aggregate basis..... impossible really.
  7. tinytimp

    tinytimp Member

    I think others have hit the nail on the head already by saying that success is a difficult thing to quantify; there are so many different levels and types of success.

    Looking at an overall picture, success may be measured against a number of factors, many of which have already been mentioned. Of course in most people's eyes the number of contest wins could be arguably the biggest indicator of a band's success, together with the profile of the types of contests won. Success at some contests leads to invitation so the 'next level', so to speak - so in this case I'd say success can be equalled to progression. This could also be applied on a smaller scale - you could have a 4th section band that are never going to win the Open or whatever, but have done consistently well in a number of local contests and so been promoted to 3rd section, for example. I couldn't then say that this band was less successful than a top-flight outfit, as this consistency has paid off for them.

    Many people could fall into the trap of equating success with prominence. Personally I'd say that the work that has gone on in order to get a band into this position is the real success, rather than how well-known said band is.
  8. JohnnyEuph

    JohnnyEuph Member

    'How to define whether your band is a success' - Live off the name you made 25 years ago? (tongue in cheek)
    I know of one or two bands who have been quite successful at that!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2006
  9. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    This is a very interesting topic. Success to any band could be summed up in a variety of ways. Does the band acheive the goals it has set, does the band satisfy its playing members, does the band acheive good audience figures when it plays to the public, does that audience return for more, does the band succeed in the contest field at the level it operates. If the band is sponsored does the band meet the oblectives of it's sponsor.

    Any band could claim to be succesful if it meets it's own priorities and that could be surviving another year with a bank balance that does not read "dr".

    I think this thread will run and run.
  10. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Success is framed by the conventions of the network of system in which it exists. In the case of the brass band movement, success is inevitably measured by the contest results over the time of their existence. Bandsmen everywhere take more notice of contest "success" than for instance being able to consistently entertain a broader general audience or to reach the pop charts or to win (or be nominated) for playing on a successful film soundtrack. Would a conductor of a top 5 band get more plaudits for a contest success or for associating the band with achievements outside of the little brass band family ? Many years ago one of the most successful bands in the country went through a period of not winning much (or as much as they had done) but got wider musical recognition, yet the conductor came under pressure and left.

    Success therefore has as much to do with those framing what success is, again over time, than about those DOING the actions. If you broaden the conventions, for example in relation to what is a "brass band" who is to say that there are Gypsy (Roma) brass bands out there who have been more successful than any in this country in their relative contests? Who is also to say that they are more successful because of their closer association to the everyday life of the general people around them?

    Success, as someone has already said, is subjective in that:-
    a) it could be related to which contests are won.
    b) success for players in a band with low expectations is coming in the top half of the field whilst success for other players with higher expectations can only be seen as winning (plus there is a plethora of middle ground expectations)
    c) success for the local people in your village is qualifying for the Nationals whilst success for the players involved may be a lot less or more.
    d) media "pundits" produce factual contest results because they have nothing else to qualify their often predetermined ideas on who will be successful i.e. track records.
    e) in the real world, outside of the brass band world, success IS recognition of a name and not whether they won a small (in relation to the broader musical culture) contest. Selling 250,000 LPs or playing on a soundtrack or being portrayed on film is quite frankly more "successful" in accumulating a reputation to a wider audience than just "banders".

    But then it comes down to, do you want to be successful in regard to "banders" and your peers or do you want to be successful in regard to being known by more people. I tend to think that achieving both is possible and the bands that are most successful have excelled at both of these.
  11. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    If you have a full band of happy smiling faces and a full concert / contest diary then job done... we're almost there! (just need percussion and a couple of cheer-ups :D ).
  12. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    Mine's Stella :)
  13. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    If your band is still going, its a success.
  14. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    You're so right about that, Shaggy, in more than one way. Just keeping enough players to actually perform or contest is something of an accomplishment.

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