Interesting differences.....

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alks, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. alks

    alks Member

    While spending many hours surfing the Internet about brass banding in the rest of the world you cannot help to notice the enthusiasm towards the medium, tending towards the positive side, while in the uk we are far more negative. Many posts on here at times can be very 'doom and gloom' in nature. Take a look at this pdf article for the Georgia Brass Symphony orcestra college band in the USA. Real enthusiasm here!.

    http://www.trombonelessons.com/brassguide.pdf

    or http://trombonelessons.com/gysobb.html

    The same enthusiasm can be seen world wide for brass bands on thier web sites.

    Q) Why in the uk do we tend towards the negative side...???.

    alks
     
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  3. Because the british are a bunch of surly old gits? ;)
     
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think one of the differences is that when we consider banding we do so with the background of more than a hundred years of tradition and history, which includes a number of less than savoury incidents, ill-feeling and upsets.

    In many other countries, they are still caught up with the excitement and enthusiasm concerning this new medium that offers them the chance to make music together. They are often eager to develop and explore new areas, whereas we can get too hung up with keeping the status quo. I know, talking to Roy Terry who has been much involved with the brass band movement in France, that this is very much the situation there, and you also find that player are very keen to go to har other bands, which is not necessarily the case over here.
     
  5. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Why doom and gloom in Britain? I think the main points have been highlighted by Mr Bale in a previous post.

    1) The 150+ years of tradition, social cohesion (which curiously has fractious rivalries, a bit of a contradiction!!) and probably the most damning doom and gloom is the realisation that banding is slipping away from mainstream public popularity by the minute/day/year. Historically the banding movement was socially popular with a large percentage of the public, it is now, like all other non-pop/rock/garbage, a specialist hobby primarily aimed at certain parts of the public. In other countries the movement, although still fairly old, does not have the baggage of knowing it was once immensly popular.

    2) Players (in Championship Section, and maybe in other sections, wouldn't want to comment) do not want to rehearse a piece of music which is similar to the pieces they have played a million times before and have to PAY to listen. After all, who exactly is giving the entertainment?? The audience or the performers. This is I admit naive, since, even with free tickets I think players will just want to socialize with other friends they have not seen for a while (A far more important, in my opinion, reason for contesting than the dire ritual we have to do every year like clockwork).

    3) Other countries have a central governing body which every (or most) band(s) subscribes to, or at least organises all the contests in which those bands compete. This therefore negate's the rivalry/fractious/in-fighting that inevitably or rather tediously dominates banding in this country. Politics is a major part of the complication!!

    4) Tradition has meant that certain bands have reputations that are (arguably) perpetuated by history or custom than by the standards of their playing. In this sense I am referring to one off performances in contests where audiences are encouraged to clap when bands come on, which ok, is always nice to feel appreciated, but if the audience is encouraged for a B+R (which they rarely do! :) ) or Black Dyke etc., then why are they not encouraged to do so for perceived lesser bands??? In other countries, "favourites" may have started to stand out from others but they are not as developed and established as in this country. The more "open" the contest to more bands, the more entertaining, sadly lacking in Britain. It is interesting to hear that (through contests) in other countries people are already commenting on shock results. Is it not better to have more bands being capable of winning than a few?? And then there is the over exuberant "Whooping" when certain bands play, which if they play an absolute stormer then fair enough, but not after every performance irrelevent of the standard of the performance. It is a shame that there is a fraction (a large one I have observed) that comment that they love band contests but then only listen to 4 (if that!!!) bands and then sprout rubbish when the "favourite" bands don't come anywhere. If these people truly support banding they should give equal clapping, whooping, spluttering, devil worshiping to all the bands irrelevent of their name or status in the banding movement.

    5) The popularity of "brass bands" goes beyond the "British model", though it took an Australian band to change how bands stood or sat in formation. Bands are popular in India and Pakistan because the perform important social functions, specifically weddings, where they march along the streets (in view of the public). The intensity of populous in India means that the bands there are used in most wedding rituals and therefore closer to the central or general lives of the general populous. Playing in carnivals and fetes, rememberence Sunday and other significant rituals mean a closer relationship with a public, contesting in a hall 40 to 340 miles away in a big hall does not.

    There are so many reasons why banding is still good in this country, but for every good point there is equally a negative i.e. 1) brilliant techincal and musical standards vs preoccupation with the perfect reproduction of pieces like technical studies on the contest stage rather than enjoying playing music. 2) Preoccupation with contesting when concerts are the more rewarding and reach more people.

    God I could go on and on...oh whoops...I already have!!!!! More than anything though, I played for a few weeks in a non-contesting band and for me, the difference in attitudes expressed by the players was incredible. Playing in this band, with a few kids with Downes Syndrome, out of tune, out of rhythm with each other, yet having a laugh and giggle about a wrong or split note puts things in perspective i.e. look how far banding has gone from the social gathering (almost perceived as amateur) 120 years ago, to, in some bands, rehearsals where players wince when one note is split. I think this non-contesting band showed what is good about banding in Britiain, rather than the Championship Section bands. It is about "banding together" rather than the perfect performance of individuals in the stressful contest context. Hopefully the countries assimulating the British model will think about doing some things a little different...
     
  6. critic

    critic Member

    interesting differences

    WHAT A SUPERB ARTICLE YOU HAVE SUMMED IT UP SO WELL WE ARE HAVING TO PUT UP WITH SO MUCH NEGATIVES WE FORGET WE SHOULD PLAY TO ENJOY THERE IS SO MUCH WE CAN GET OUT OF OUR MOVEMENT THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE CONTESTS BUT THE STANDARD COMES FROM THETOP SECTION AND I BELIEVE WE OFFER MUSIC MAKING WAY ABOVE THE GARBAGE WE GET THROWN AT US FROM OTHER MEDIUMS
     

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