How welcoming is your band?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by second_horn, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. second_horn

    second_horn Member

    I returned to banding this year after a 13 year break and am happy to be in a band where I was made to feel welcome.However, in the past I have played for 3 other bands at roughly 10 year intervals and never stuck with them because to be honest they were all so ' clicky' and never made me feel welcome at all, just like an outsider. I've never been the most confident of people and all 3 of these bands contained a lot of family members, in the breaks they would all just chat among themselves and in the end I gave up and left! Does this happen in other bands? Incidentally, they were all down south, since I moved further up the country the bands up here seem much friendlier!
  2. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    I have to declare a bias on this point: My first band had, at one point, almost half its members coming from just two families, of which mine was one. There was me, my two brothers, my sister, and, later, three nieces and a nephew; and then there was a family from around the corner from us that contributed three brothers and two sisters (and now a couple of second generationers as well). The conductor always said that he feared that if a member from each family ever got married together then there'd be nobody to play in the band at the wedding. Our band was very welcoming...but then I suppose I would say that. The funny thing is, though, when we were down the pub after rehearsals, the family members tended to sit with their section pals rather than with their family members...I guess we saw enough of each other elsewhere.
  3. second_horn

    second_horn Member

    Out of interest, what part of the country was that band...wondering if location makes a difference!
  4. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    The first adult band that I played in did have dominant families and was cliquey, that situation wasn’t apparent until I got to know who was who and noted who got what parts and better instruments, etc. Initially I was, to put it very mildly, ‘surprised’ at the situation but now I accept it as part of banding: such families and cliques have typically kept their band alive for decades and in that time have seen dozens before us who joined as their guest and left after a ‘short’ while (less than a decade) for whatever reason.

    I’ve visited many lower section and concert bands and have always been made welcome, as my playing improved some even wanted me to come again and/or join. So, setting aside our own interpersonal skills and the many regional variations in welcoming ‘outsiders’, I’ve found that the more needed and better the skills you bring the more welcome you will be made. Excuse me now, I’d better go and practice (playing and people skills) - I quite like the ‘new’ band I’m in.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  5. second_horn

    second_horn Member

    Actually, that's a very good point 2nd tenor. I've always been a fairly average player, maybe if I'd been a brilliant player when I joined it would have been a different story. Thing is, because I never felt that welcome, I never stayed long enough to get much better.I started playing when I was only 10, and obviously at that age didn't have the social skills to join in, but I always wanted to go back to it and unfortunately never stayed in a band long enough to improve much because I never felt welcome. Now I'm in my forties and have found a lovely band I want to stay with I'll get a chance to be a better than average player!
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Big place, "down South". Also a big place, "oop North". Cornwall is a very long way from Norfolk (and neither is much like London). Manchester is a very long way from Newcastle.

    Don't think it really makes sense to generalise...
  7. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Neither north nor south, I'm afraid...west... Ireland
  8. agent006

    agent006 Member

    Let's leave aside how Shropshire is still "down south".

    It goes both ways. New people come to the bands I play in. Some of them throw themselves into it and make it their business to make as many friends as possible. Some people just sit there and wait for everyone to come and be their friend. It's the second group that see cliques where the first see new friends. Bands don't magically form, at some point everyone in that "clique" was new and made the effort to join in.
  9. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Most of my playing has been within a Salvation Army Band. None have ever been as welcoming as the first ( Home Corps) Band. Maybe that was me.
    I have enjoyed playing in all of them. At the moment I am not able to play because I am recovering from a stroke which has been followed by a mini stroke just over a year after the original event.
    can't wait to get back to it but I only hear from a small handful of people from my band ( out of sight out of mind ) would be nice to hear from more, seems you are more popular when playing than when unwell.
  10. second_horn

    second_horn Member

    OK,down south for me was Wiltshire, and Shropshire definitely counts as up north from there, even though its technically the Midlands! I think then maybe it was me, I was a lot younger and less confident, and maybe that came across, in one of the bands I played euph because there were no vacancies on tenorhorn, and although I tried really hard, if I suddenly found an extra person next to me at rehearsals it was because they had a contest coming up and I wasn't up to the required standard I assume! So that didn't help matters with self confidence, I think self confidence is probably the key to being accepted!
  11. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    In my experience the above is true of many bands that I've visited, however that doesn't stop the OP's experiences being totally correct either: he/she might have been unlucky, misunderstood matters or just needed different skills. I think they were true for him/her and anticipate that, like others, 006 will have band members, both new and well established, who've had bad and/or mixed experiences in the past/elsewhere.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I think that each band has a distinct "band personality", made up of a combination of the individual personalities of the current band members, the inherited 'culture' of the band in question, and how the current members react to the expectations of that culture.

    I've known perfectly reasonable people be simply bad fits with the personality of their new perfectly reasonable band when it wouldn't have seemed likely in advance that they would be. And then go on to be good fits with the personality of another perfectly reasonable band that other perfectly reasonable people haven't got on with. If that makes sense? Basically, there's nothing wrong with just not feeling right at a band and moving on because of it - it doesn't imply that there's anything wrong with either person or band, though all too often it does lead to the band or person in question getting badmouthed later.

    Of course, it is possible for a band or a person to find that they are more or less hard work than the average to rub along with, and most of us (people and bands) make an effort to be pleasant to be around. But there are some that really do seem unhelpfully awkward on both sides. I have never found a geographic component to this distribution though - local variations in personalities swamp any wider patterns.
  13. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    You sir are a nambypambysouthernshandydrinkingpoofter ! Down sowf indeed !
  14. Euphman2

    Euphman2 Active Member

    " You sir are a nambypambysouthernshandydrinkingpoofter ! Down sowf indeed !"

    Maybe not the sort of thing you hear in brass banding (BIG TONGUE IN CHEEK) but is the above comment Politically Correct? (EVEN BIGGER TONGUE IN CHEEK)
  15. Mello

    Mello Active Member

  16. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I have live in various different locations in my short life and as a generalisation when you go to small villages they don't like outsiders, you have to remember some of these people have lived there all there lives, know everyone and everyone's business and it does take a while for them to get to know you. This isn't just brass bands but life general. I didn't realise how insular Buxton (my hometown) when I go in the local pub wondering why an outsider is doing in there pub.

    I don't play anymore but it isn't easy walking into a new band not knowing anyone and adjusting to how they do things
  17. second_horn

    second_horn Member

    Thanks Mello, I know that us second horns (and baritones) get some stick, but someone's gotta do it.....Even in the Championship section bands! (It's Mrs 2nd horn actually!)
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  18. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    Apologies Mrs 2nd offence intended ! I assure you I for one do not give any stick to any secondary players ...many are great players ....I remember a Mr jack Johnson , Jack Phillips, and Tommy Dowers of CWS Mcr being real quality, and as they said , they were specialists without a doubt.
  19. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Playing back row cornet is a specialist job and requires focussed practice in the lower register. A skilled back row is a great asset to any band. I reckon it's a mistake to put the less able players in those chairs. 4th Man and Rep are great parts for training up a promising youngster (IMHO) !

    ~ Mr Wilx
  20. Coverhead

    Coverhead Member

    I've been very lucky to be involved with 2 bands with great social atmospheres.

    I was with the first one for 13 years (age 11 - 24) and we always tried to make new players as welcome as possible. Occasionally small cliques did form, nothing too serious though (I guess it's just human nature!) But on the whole it felt to me like an extended family, whoever was in it at any given time.

    The real luck struck when I decided to move to the Netherlands last year. I looked on a few websites to see if there were any vacancies in the area, only found one - the (then) 3-time-in-a-row national champions!! I got in touch with the chairman who invited me along for a rehearsal (which, for that night, was done entirely in English) I've been there ever since, winning a 4th national title and competing in my first Europeans, all the while feeling part of a fantastic group of people. If it weren't for them I would've really struggled to adapt over here and probably would've moved back after a few months!

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