Is it time for 60 Seconds?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ploughboy, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Evening good folk,

    I've spent a good deal of time at the Nationals this weekend and thinking about contesting (yes I am a geek before you ask). I believe we need to add on stage warm up time on the contest stage. Looking at the amount of time that our percussionists need to arrange and set up, then we could allow each band a 60 second window to loosen the lips, blow a few notes etc . . .

    A good friend of mine who conducts a North East band, had some help from an Orchestral player for the area contest earlier this year. The Chap started warming up back stage and had to be asked not to, speaking with my mate he explained he couldn't play there, so the player said oh, I wait and warm on stage then?? Nope! you start when my hand comes down was the reply. Is this part of the reason we are looked at as "old fashioned".

    So, What harm would 60 Seconds do? I don't believe it would slow down a contest. From a personal perspective, I wouldn't mind the band playing whilst I was setting my section up. Or I would like the opportunity to play a few loosening phrases to get a little loose on stage. How many 2nd section bands like mine would like the opportunity to play for 60 secs before starting Resurgam next year?

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  2. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Its a good point Garry. Every orchestra or theatre job I've been to the musicians always warm up in full earshot of the audience. I'm not sure about it in a contest environment though. The adjudicator may still be collating his thoughts about the previous band and wouldn't necessarily like the interruption.
  3. nethers

    nethers Member

    We tend not to in concerts as well, so maybe that is why this hasn't been fought hard for much before.

    True, orchestras do, but that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea for us to.

    But in contests, which is a fairly 'orchestral' setting (a major work, for the ear not the eye etc.) I think there could be a valid argument to improve the listening experience.

    Perhaps a contest organiser will be brave enough to give it a try?
  4. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member


    Completely agree. At the areas (well certainly Bradford) you can be 3 or 4 hours between blowing a note and going on stage. EG - This year we had the dreaded last draw in the Championship section. We did not go on stage till after 11pm. But we could only use the reheasral room in the hotel next to the hall (can't remember the name) till about 7pm! (not through poor booking, but they didn't want playing after this point) With nowhere to warm up backstage, what are you meant to do?? (PS this is by no means an excuse for a poor result - we were still not good enough!!).

    Our timp player (new to brass banding at the time) was shocked when he was told off for double checking the tuning of the timps onstage! Quite a logical thing to do you would assume?! Can you imagine an orchestra starting playing someone elses instruments without checking tuning etc?!

    All other groups seem to warm up on stage before playing. Why shouldn't bands? Why don't we do it at the start of our own concerts?

    Surely the idea of contests is to hear how well bands can play a piece of music/pieces of music, not make it as difficult as possible for each band to do their best :-?.

    I know the rules are the same for each band in each contest, and there will be a plethora of 'conspiracy theorys' bounded around after results and the adjudicator was listening for an Eb from the 2nd Baritone as a signal during warm up etc etc

    As a "compromise" what about alowing the waiting band the chance to warm up and blow while the previously band dismantles and gets off the stage?

    Good post ploughboy, although i'll be surprised if anything changes.....sadly!
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Active Member

    It would be the death of closed adjudication, that's for certain. So bring it on...
  6. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    You'd have to overcome the natural suspicious nature of the brass band conspiracy theorist, but I think it's an excellent idea. Warm the instruments, a final check on tuning, and the band get to hear the acoustic of the hall. It probably wouldn't even take a whole minute. It won't happen though, because Oldpit Colliery will tune to A=446 and the masses will take that as proof of a rigged contest.
  7. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Does anyone think it is worth doing a poll on this?

    Who wants it?
    Who does not want it?
    Who is not bothered either way?
  8. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    why not play a hymn tune or something?

    In wind- and fanfare band contests ove rhere, all bands always get to play a "warm up piece" before their main contest piece. They are not judged are adjudicated on the warm-up piece.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Active Member

    But you wouldn't want to make a bad impression in it, would you?
  10. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    My thoughts were something that we could fit in during the usual set up time, so as not to prolong the contest. If you say a hymn - how many verses, short or long, slow or fast? it could be more complicated than needs to be. One chap with a stop watch telling the band when to begin and end their minute, If you insist on ignoring him/her and going over time, you get a penelty point!

    Surely there must be a forward thinking contest that will take this and give it a try. Butlins?
  11. stevetrom

    stevetrom Active Member

    Why not simply allow players to warm up until the percussion is ready (and tuned).

    No group/ensemble playing should be allowed just to ensure this does not become part of the performance (Band A always 'warm up' with a certain Hymn tune/section from the piece)
  12. Lucky Beaver

    Lucky Beaver Member

    The warm up facilities for the lower section finals are brilliant so I'd be more in favour of other venues trying to match up to that standard rather than encouraging warming up on stage.

    I guess bands could be 'allowed' 60 seconds if they wanted to take that risk but I would've thought tuning up on stage is only going to help the adjudicators spot any issues in advance of the performance.

    If the players are allowed to warm up on stage, MDs are going to want to start doing push ups and thrusts to get themselves prepared :eek: Or was that going to be your next question, Garry ;)
  13. worzel

    worzel Member

    There could still be give aways arranged in the warm up, I guess. Maybe the adjudicators tent should be on a platform that's lowered into a sound proof chamber while the band warms up.
  14. worzel

    worzel Member

    What about being allowed a quick blow before coming out on stage after the other band has finished.
  15. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I'm too old and slow to 'pull' anything whilst conducting!

    I wouldn't alter any tuning that close to the performance, but just to get the lips loose and tounge working would be good, I don't disagree with the "no hymn" suggestion earlier either. Just a chance to play a few scales etc.

    The Scottish Open venue at Perth has brilliant warm up facilities too.
  16. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Its not always easy to do given the limitations of some of the venues - and the budgets that the organiser's have at their disposal.

    I have played at a contest where they did this - but for the life of me I can't remember where (Weston??). It seems like an entirely sensible idea to me.

    ...or lowered into a snake pit (depending on your personal point of view ;))
  17. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I am firmly in the camp that all adjudicators are honest, and there to do a good job. The differences in our opinions are all that seperates us. Contests could be all open for me, but that is another debate. .
  18. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    It wasn't a serious suggestion Garry! :p

    (well not entirely anyway....)
  19. delboy822

    delboy822 Member

    What annoys me the most is when you have these excellent warm up facilities where you can play as loud as you like etc... and then you have a 10min wait in a freezing corridor before you get to the stage....
  20. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    And what about us poor sods who always get landed with the job of setting the seats up on the stage cos so and so needs this stand and so and so wants their chair x inches from this person's chair etc? I know some contests have people to do that for them but its not foolproof as I discovered this weekend at Harrogate when I argued about where our horns sit and they kept moving the chairs and telling me "well your md said....". I sometimes don't see my instrument for 10 minutes before we play often because the stage setters get taken with the percussion to hide at the side of the stage when the band before is on.

    So personally, I'd quite like a chance to warm-up on stage (especially when my first entry in the piece is solo and marked piano......). ;)

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