One thing you could change?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by nethers, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    There are a number of threads bouncing around here right now questioning how brass bands do things (read all about 'cheating', adjudication issues, problems getting reliable players, poor audience turnout, low ticket prices) and more than one person has suggested that these aren't all problems in their own right, but rather symptoms that, fundamentally, brass bands are getting something wrong.

    I'm agreeing that something ain't right. To adapt someone else's quote, I believe the problem isn't that brass bands aren't what they used to be, the problem is that they ARE what they used to be.

    So the question I'm asking is:

    If you could change one thing about brass bands to solve our problems, what would it be?

    Try to give serious answers, I agree that performing naked may improve audiences for some bands, but you wouldn't want to see my lot :p
  2. CorelliClash

    CorelliClash New Member

    how about passing a law that means every child from the age of 5 upwards should either play a brass or percussion instrument?
  3. westoe_horn

    westoe_horn Member

    Totally agree with that.

    We are restricted by history in that we need 25 players in a band in order to play the majority of the music that has been written over the past 100+ years. It is this fixed line up, and the sound that comes from it, that makes a brass band unique but also is proving the downfall. How many bands are struggling along with 18-22 players at the moment?

    I think the important thing is that we need to be innovative and unique when it comes to new music and presentation. I think the emphasis needs to be on smaller ensembles, maybe like the path Wire Brass have decided to go down, 10/12/14 piece groups. This can all be linked to improving presentation, getting rid of our daft jackets etc., and not being afraid to try something different.
  4. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    I disagree with this part completely. It would be an immense honour for the majority of players to pull on the purple of Brighouse, the black and red of Dyke or the red and gold of Cory. DJs might look smart, but in my opinion the jackets (as long as the ladies are free to dress in black if they so wish) are one part of the tradition I would not change.
  5. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    While I agree with the comment on innovative presentation I fundamentally disagree that reducing our numbers is the way forward - a brass band with 10 players is not a brass band, its a brass ensemble.
  6. tromwinst

    tromwinst Member

    Having played for B&R it was an honour to wear their purple jacket.............however, you are talking about banders that will be older in their years. Try getting a the younger generation and teenagers to wear something like that. It's hard enough trying to get them to turn up to rehearsals twice a week and give the commitment required, as well as asking them to wear some smelly, old, out of date and sometimes quite hidious band uniforms.

    It is the younger ones we should be looking at, or even asking them?! I asked our lot at Dobx youth and the first thing they talked about was the uniform.

    I, however, have no problem with wearing the uniform and think they are a good way to promote which band you are and of course the tradition. But kids are not the same and if you want to keep your band running in the future you have to, in some cases, go with what the younger players want. Other wise shortly people won't have bands to play in. Other than the 10, 11 and 12 piece option mentioned in another post.
  7. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    If I could change one thing is bands these days require far too much committment from people. Peoples lives have changed. There is nothing more I would love is come back to playing, but time restriants, level bands are playing now, engagments lists are becoming so off putting.
  8. TheFopp

    TheFopp Member

    The honour is from playing with a fine group of musicians and not because of a particular colour jacket.

    It would be an honour to play with the LSO even though I've played with many amateur orchestras that wear the same uniform.
  9. tromwinst

    tromwinst Member

    And if you asked them what was most comfortable to play in, would they choose to wear tails??
  10. TheFopp

    TheFopp Member

    Probably not, but I doubt they'd want to wear a traditional band jacket either!
  11. tromwinst

    tromwinst Member

    Exactly my point.
    Thats something that needs to change which is what the thread is about?
  12. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    I personally love the jackets. Not going to lie about some of the colours though.... some are hideous, but most are okay!
  13. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm I think we may be getting bogged down in one area here....;)

    My choice? Well, personally I don't believe changing just one thing will solve the problems we have, or even begin to start solving them. But in the spirt of the thread I'd say we need an inclusive, national (ie GB & NI not just England, Wales, Scotland) governing body, that can generate some cohesive and forward thinking policies. Everything else follows on from that IMHO.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  14. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Perhaps we haven't yet identified exactly what the problems are. If these could be listed, and dealt with individually, then we may reveal some interesting suggestions.

    To think that one solution would put everything right is probably expecting too much; however, there are some pretty clever people out there (myself excluded, of course!), so who knows what exciting ideas may be put forward.
  15. it's a great thread. i would say what we need is more diversity. it's great to play the big test pieces, but it's also good to do the more cheesy gigs.

    let bands be different. some new formats of contest will liven things up. lots could be done.

    however, the first thing i'd do is drop the band grading, and allow bands to enter any level at the regionals they like. that way you'd loose the churn of players as you go up and down. that churn means people just leave.

    is that to radical?

  16. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    If I could only change one thing - the music. How about asking some of the modern classical composers to write a piece (possibly a test piece), rather than some of the brass band stalwarts?

    I am much more interested in what some of the modern "classical" composers make of the brass band medium, rather than hearing what latest variation on a technical challenge can be produced by the familiar brass band composers.

    If it could then be adjudicated by some non-brass band musicians then I think it would be a much more interesting result as well.
  17. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Agreed - but given the reception these guys have had from brass players (think of Prague, Maunsell Forts, Contest Music etc) I'm not surprised that composers in the wider musical world avoid brass bands.

    Most brass types want the same old stuff - tricky music with a tune, and 'contemporary' musical devices that were actually contemporary about 100 years ago. Cornets should carry most of the melody, horns should fill out the chords etc etc yawn.
  18. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    I know that you were hoping for serious responses and I also know that contesting can raise the calibre of a band - that a lot of people enjoy giving concerts - that the income from gigs brings in revenue for new music etc. but...... Despite it being very impractical I think that I'd enjoy playing in a rehearsal band. One where people of a similar mind get together once or twice a week just for the enjoyment of making music. Not a lot different from all the pianists who play at home for their own pleasure, they can challenge themselves musically and play what they enjoy without the need to get on a stage. No more muddy fields for fetes, giving up precious summer weekends or out in the cold playing Christmas carols.

    I could list loads more reasons for why it's impractical and, for the vast majority, undesireable and probably unsustainable but it would suit me (I think!).
  19. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    I think that's a reasonable response!
  20. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'd have gone for this, but given that Ian's beaten me to it. So...

    I think banding in Britain is massively straitjacketed by tradition and convention. Look at the success of the "new" band movements in countries like Switzerland and Norway, where there simply isn't this attitude of "we've done it this way since 1935, we're not changing now".

    So I would kick out at least 75% of the traditional hidebound formality that, in my opinion, holds banding back and puts younger players off sticking with it.

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