MD credentials

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by madandcrazytromboneguy, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. hey folks and folkesses

    as some of you may know, im starting to get involved with conducting bands, and i was wondering what you all think a young MD needs to be able to get into conducting properly.

    im currently in my last year of the Band Studies course and this course has helped me a great deal to develop my own stick technique and to be confident enough to stand infront of a band and direct them.

    i recently conducted in the 4th section at the manchester open championships at the uppermill civic hall and that was a great experience for me.

    ive also applied for the vacant position at 1 of yorkshires promising young bands and i feel that if i get this position, it will be 1 that i can really make my own and put in the work needed long term.

    do you think this is a good option for me to take on as a fairly new MD?

    is anyone on tmp a new MD themselves?, did you find it hard to get a position in the 1st place?

    hope to see your views on here soon

    cheers, CLIVE!
  2. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Hi Madandcrazy

    The first thing you need to learn is where the SHIFT key is on your computer. This will allow you to produce CVs (Curriculum Vitae) using the first person "I" rather than the sloppy "i"!!!!!

    Seriously, though, if you cannot express yourself on an internet forum, who will take you seriously in the bandroom? Bands need to maintain standards, and unless you can demonstrate that, you stand little chance of gaining their respect. Sorry to sound a bit fuddy duddy but you did ask....

    Good luck...

  3. i didnt ask to have sarcastic remarks put on about my typing, im on about the musical side of things, put it this way, a net forum, aint a brass band, now more musical remarks from now on please folks, cheers
  4. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    "Lover and Partner of tMP's Flowergirl",

    Alan was only trying to help you, as undoubtedly in your role as MD you will have to find/call on players to help out at gigs and to fill seats. Proper "Queen's English" may be OTT, but will show you have the right degree of professionalism in your career as a young aspiring MD.
  5. i understand that hbb, but tmp is different to when i have to take time in what i type, tmp is just casual unless its a proper advert or summin, i dont type like this when i have to type proper, i want to put you all in the know here, this is my casual typing, infact this is neater than my casual typing, my casual typing happens when i talk on msn msgr, i use what you people call txt type, i call it abbreviated type, but back to on the topic, is there anything MUSICAL that you people would like to comment on this, or was it a waste of time me trying to put a remotely interesting thread on here?
  6. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    All I would suggest is to have a good relationship with your band, but not overfriendly - that can cause lots of problems that don't occur when essentially the conductor does his job (turns up, gets results [both contest and player satisfaction/good concerts], gets money?).
  7. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Above all else, be approachable, particularly when faced with situations where you may not be able to understand why a particular player is struggling with his or her part. Whilst a good musical ear is always useful, a good ear for players wanting general help, advice and encouragement is invaluable.

    Also, I would suggest that whilst of course it's necessary to point out mistakes, with inexperienced players, I feel it's vital to also (a) instruct them how you want it played and (b) provide tips to help them correct their mistakes. Simply saying. 'That's wrong, go home and practice it' if your players don't know how to correct mistakes or don't understand why they're playing something wrong is a waste of time.

    Lastly, when your band, or sections thereof, play something well, make sure you let them know! Positive feedback from the MD can make a huge difference to the band's confidence levels! Particularly with a young and/or inexperienced band!

    I should add that I'm not assuming you don't know any of this already, so apologies if I'm rambling on about the bleedin' obvious! Just my personal take on the matter! Good luck! :)
  8. no dave thats more like the kind of messages im looking for on here, hbb your latest message was more constructive aswell, cheers :)

    from what ive experienced so far, ive tried to take a lot of those points made by you dave and it seems to suit the rehearsal but its a really fine line between having a fun and laid back and relaxed rehearsal and putting some discipline in there aswell, if you wanna get the best from them anyway
  9. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    You also need to be very thick...

    skinned. You'll just have to accept that, unless you are very lucky, you will not get on with all of the band all of the time. Some will disagree with your choices of programme, some will disagree with your interpretation. Some will think you are young and inexperienced and they didn't want you to get the job and you'll have to work hard to gain their respect. (A good contest win usually helps).

    Whatever you do, someone in the band will disagree. Some will tell you so, but if you've earned their respect, they'll do it in a good way. The ones to watch for are the ones who only say things in dark corners and who, perhaps because it is in their personality, will never take to you, but will smile to your face while twisting a dagger in your back. Most bands have them. I've never been a victim of this as far as I know, but I have seen it in action in bands and it is sometimes very hard for a younger person to cope with.

    I'm all in favour of young blood, as long as it does what I tell it to ;)
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    1: Know the music
    2: Know the music inside out
    3: Know the music better than your players.
    4: If you take a fee (and most do, even in the 4th section now) remember you are providing a service for which you are being paid, even if it's only a pittance. This means you have to be professional in your approach at all times. Treat your players with respect and be diplomatic but honest. Mike makes a good point about needing to win the players' respect; make sure that they know that if they disagree with you they can come and chat about it in the pub after but don't allow lengthy disagreements during rehearsal.
    5: "Keep the score in your head, not your head in the score" - Richard Strauss. I was reminded of this quite forcefully by James Gourlay and Roy Newsome at a conductors forum a few years ago!
    6: Did I mention that you need to know the music?
    7: Alan58's right about the typing - ask yourself how many members of your future band(s) may be tMPers, reading this and forming a judgement (rightly or wrongly) about your level of professionalism? People who have never met you only have what you type in this forum to go by.
    8: Don't underestimate how much of your time this will take up. For instance, a conscientious MD faced with a new test-piece would always check the parts against the score (hence the number of errata threads on here!) and this alone can take hours, before you even begin learning the score.

    Best of luck.

    Oh and make sure you know the music (I think I may have mentioned this)
  11. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    yep I agree with most of that
    You also need 50% motivation, 50% ability, 50% patience and diplomacy! (I never was good at maths):oops:
    Also you need to be clever.:clap: ............ clever enough to ask for help off an experienced MD.
    I still get a pro MD (who happens to be a good friend) in just before a contest, say a week to 2 weeks before. He knows how I work and I know how he works. The band also respect him and respond very well

    Good luck:tup
  12. dickyg

    dickyg Member

    In addition to all of the excellent advice so far,
    Know your players!!
    Know who you can say what too!
    i.e. every person around the stand is different. Some will want/need you to motivate them in one particular way and for others this will do the opposite.
    Recognise that you cannot please everyone, only the majority (and some people you will never please)
    Be brave enough to say that musical decisions are your decisions and only yours.
    Take advice on interpretation but make up your own mind and stick to it.Bands will respect you more for that than changing your mind every rehearsal.
    Watch the people at the top and learn.
    Don't ever get landed with the job of booking players it is not your job!!!
    Always remember that bands with couples/familys - you upset one, you upset them all

    Good luck - its great fun when it goes well
  13. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    You need the respect of the players round the stand. You only get that by leading them in a manner that shows you respect them and that shows you know what you're talking about. Players will see through a fake in seconds and will not take kindly to being treated with anything other than respect.
    If you don't know your stuff, or you don't know how to get what you're trying to get the players to achieve across to the players then you're on a hiding to nothing.
    The bottom line is that players will only respond in a positive way to someone who they know know's what they're talking about, who can communicate it to them properly and who can lead them in a positive manner and still remain approachable and friendly.
    From past experience, leadership through sarcasm and cutting/insulting remarks doesn't work,
    Leadership with lack of people skills doesn't work,
    Leadership with lack of knowledge doesn't work.
    It's a really tough job and in my view it takes a certain kind of person to be able to pull it off. I couldn't do it cos musically I'm El thicko.
  14. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Absolutely! In my early days of conducting, people skills were definitely lacking! I believe I've learned now, but I learned the hard way. (having the p*ss ripped out of me by a well known euphonium soloist/conductor on a brass band conductors' course some years back. I don't mention his name, simply through not wishing to appear to 'name drop'! We did have a pleasant chat about it, afterwards though! And of course... he was right! ;))
  15. persins

    persins Member

    I think that to be successful, you have to have a great deal of knowledge about what you want from the music. You have to have the courage of your convictions to demonstrate to the band that you are in control of the musical interpretations.
    You must also have a good working relationship with the band and know how to motivate the players within it. I believe that it is important to have a slight professional distance from the band but still be close enough to be approachable. As mentioned before, everybody responds differently so it is important that you know how to get the best out of each of the players.
    You must also know the ability of the band too in order to develop realistic expectations. This may also impact your general rehearsal style. You might want to really push a higher section band and insist on a much higher level of discipline within the band room where as a lower section band might benefit from more encouragement and a more relaxed style.
    It really is all about matching the expectations to the ability and working to achieve the same goals.
  16. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Don't have any favourites in the band and treat everyone with the same patience and respect. If you have friends, relations, or partners in the band, if you treat them more favourably then you'll lose the band as a whole.

    Be prepared to listen to the band's opinion, you don't have to implement those ideas but a willingness to listen will be aprreciated.

    Have good communication skills

    If you are taking a 4th section band, don't ram down their throats the fact that you may have played for a higher section band or that you are a better player than them you'll only come across as arrogant and no-one likes a show-off!
  17. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I can't really add much to what has already been said. One thing I was always taught was make sure you know what you want and know how to get it. No point going inot a rehearsal not knowing how you want a particular passage to go, or how fast you want something. Admittedly it's easier once you know the band you are conducting, and of course I'm not saying don't be open to suggestions. but also let them know who's in control. As has been said, you can't do that if you haven't got their respect and you don't know the music.
  18. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Couldn't agree more. One thing that is crucial if/when you are appointed to direct a band is that you and the band agree on the overall direction. If they want a laugh and a joke and no pressure, and you want to be in the top section in 5 years, sparks will fly fairly soon.
  19. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Some good advice all round here, but one thing I don't think anyone has mentioned (apologies if it is there & I've missed it :oops: ): Try and make sure you plan your rehearsals to ensure that everyone - including the percussion - is kept reasonably well occupied. There is nothing worse, particularly for younger or less experienced players, to sit twiddling their thumbs for ages while three or four players are sorting out a tricky passage. Also worth considering is starting at the end of a piece and working towards the start a section at a time. Doing this means that the band is coming to familiar music that they have already looked at each time, which can help build confidence.

    As others have said, it's important to get to know your players, and particularly who can cope with what level of exposure in a practice: no point in asking someone to play their part on their own if it's going to be too much of an ordeal for them. Better to look and find a group who have the same rhythms etc - even if it may seem an odd combination of instruments - and get them to play the passage together. I've been in practices when we've done this, even if the passages occur at different places and in different keys - you can still drill the rhythms, even if it sounds a little odd!
  20. thanks guys some interesting stuff there. i'll try to put some of this into practice when i eventually get a md position.

    if theres anything else that people would like to add then please do.