NABBC to launch conductors competition

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by Band_Beefcake, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Band_Beefcake

    Band_Beefcake Member

    NABBC to launch Conducting Competition

    The National Association of Brass Band Conductors is delighted to announce the reestablishment of the NABBC Conducting competition, in what is hoped to become an annual event. Coinciding with the AGM of the organisation to be held at Berties Bistro, Elland (Venue for the popular Pogson Bray Entertainment contest) on Sunday the 19th of June, 12 chosen finalists will get the opportunity to rehearse part of one of the three selected pieces – these being;

    Essay (Gregson)
    Traversada (Waespi)
    Tallis Variations (Sparke)
    An adjudication panel headed by NABBC president Russell Gray alongside the Musical Director of the Rambert Ballet Company Paul Hoskins, shall select 6 finalists to go through to the evening where they shall get a short rehearsal on a single concert item before presenting this as part of a concert that evening. Amongst other prizes, in a “winner take all” prize pot, the winning conductor will get the opportunity to work, in both rehearsal and concert, with some of the finest bands in the country including;
    The Fodens Band
    Carlton Main Band
    Reg Vardy Band
    Whitburn Band

    Applicants must be over 18 and be an active conductor of an ensemble, though they cannot make their living professionally out of conducting. They must have the ability to make their own way to the venue and provide own scores for the first round of the competition. They must also be willing to submit a CV of conducting experience as well as a short video clip (5 minutes) of them rehearsing an ensemble.
    Speaking of the competition NABBC president, Russell Gray, said the following
    "I'm delighted that the NABBC is re-establishing this competition. It is so important that talented conductors are given the opportunity to stand in front of leading bands.
    This event will provide that opportunity.”
    Anyone interested can contact for a full entry pack
  2. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Midwest, USA
    I know this was posted months ago, but it is very interesting to me. How do you judge conducting? Once, when conducting our Community Band, we were playing Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever and a girl, about four years old, stood next to me and "pretended" to be directing the band. Her mother was a bit concerned she was bothering either the band or me. I picked her up and moved her arm in time (not that the band needed me to play that march anyway). A picture made its way to the local newspaper.

    Was I doing a bad job of conducting? I have an undergraduate degree in music with completed courses in conducting, advanced conduction, performance conducting, etc. Postgraduate I took two more classes in conducting and they taught things completely differently. One style emphasized staying within the body and to be seen as little as possible by the audience and the other was just the opposite -- use everything you have to lead the band or orchestra.

    In seems, the best conductors show their stuff in the rehearsal hall, not on the podium during a concert. I am sure there were judging guidelines to follow and work toward. But conducting is at least somewhat a personal style.
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Your thread necromancy is forgiven for a decent question. Damned if I know. I actually entered a couple of these NABBC competitions years ago and got very little out of them - you got 30 minutes to rehearse a band you'd never met, with no idea where they were up to in terms of playing standard, so you'd lose at least 5/6 minutes working out what point they'd reached and what needed working on. I could never quite work out what you could judge in 25 minutes rehearsal time. I got few pointers on how to talk to a band, but very little that I could honestly say I feel made me into a better conductor.

    Conducting is an intensively subjective and contextual process. Much depends on your ensemble, what stage they're at in learning a piece, and what the intended performance context is. Demanding detailed work that is right for a championship band rehearsal can be a demoralising waste of everyone's time in a 3rd/4th section band. And while you can potentially judge some basic technique and mannerisms in half an hour, a lot of the stuff that is fundamental to being any sort of ensemble director simply can't be judged over that time span. Stuff like how you plan and schedule rehearsals, how you push and/or support and motivate players over a longer term, repertoire knowledge and selection, people skills, time management - all impossible to assess through watching someone spend 30 minutes rehearsing an ensemble they've only just met.

    How do you judge conducting? Put someone in front of an ensemble for a month and then ask the players. If you don't know what you're doing you can't fool people for long!
  4. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Midwest, USA
    You and I agree. You made my point more clearly than I did. I guess you cannot fault NABBC for doing something to help MDs and conductors. Knowing nothing about NABBC, I think a contest in not the best vehicle in which to evaluate and expand skills. Master classes and such things would be better.

    I community band I played in a few years back was directed by the local 8th grade band director. It was an adult band. The problem was, he treated us like 8th graders. He would show fingerings to people (and eyes would roll) and a community band usually plays lighter music and marches. He had us playing complex big band and jazz pieces which nobody like to play. This fine collection of adults would rather play Cartoon Carnival than MacArthur's Park. The band got frustrated by his continued selection of his own arrangements (jazz of course).

    Does NABBC offer master type courses?
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