Parents who both play in band(s) - how do you do it?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by flugelgal, Jul 24, 2010.


How do "banding" parents work around small children?

  1. One parent takes a banding break

    9 vote(s)
  2. Both parents take a banding break

    0 vote(s)
  3. Parents take turns in attending rehearsals

    1 vote(s)
  4. Family member babysits

    15 vote(s)
  5. Pay a babysitter

    3 vote(s)
  6. Other

    4 vote(s)
  1. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    This question is really directed at "band families". You know, two people both play in band(s) and suddenly there's an addition to the family and life is never the same again (in a good way!).

    We both play in the same band. The monster is nearly three months old, and highly unlikely to lie still and quiet during a rehearsal for two hours. I haven't played for nearly a year now because of him! Anyway, the question is - how do you cope with both of you going to rehearsals that are on the same night? We were thinking of taking turns when I'm ready to go back, but that would probably entail a sort of "job sharing" on a part for it to have minimal impact on the band. Family on either side aren't close enough - do people tend to take a break from banding and come back when little ones are a bit older, or go to less rehearsals and take turns etc? (Just realised a poll would be good so I'll add one if I can work out how!)
  2. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I was very fortunate with my first-born in that my MD was happy for her to come to band practice! She stayed in her pram right beside me on the cornet section and hardly uttered a sound! If she did get upset/needed fed/changed/wanted to play (not an instrument), I dealt with it - she always came first, and the band were very supportive. As she got older I paid a babysitter to look after her at home, but often took her to band jobs where I was rarely short of a willing babysitter. :D
    With the youngest I took a break - hubby was playing with a top flight band at the time and I didn't want him to miss out on this. I'm not saying that his band was any more important than mine - I still had my instrument and depped whenever needed. When I conducted a local band I was very lucky to have members of the committe who came along each practise who would look after the young man. I am very grateful for this! :D
    I can't say that it has been a doddle - there has been many a crossed sword when things clashed, but on the whole WE have been very fortunate! I know many in similar situations, and it will always be a bone of contention among partners, but compromise and respect between the two does help make things easier. ;)

  3. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    When my son was born - I moved bands to join Langley and my wife stayed at our old band (City of Birmingham). There is only one night that clashes, so I go twice a week and she goes once a week. There have not been very many clashes since then (14 months) but normally my band takes precedence.

    For things like the Areas and contests, grandparents have been essential.

    Not sure how we would be able to do it in the same band and give the required commitment, I think that would be tough - unless as you say you could arrange a job share.

    Good luck what ever you decide, on the plus side you band will be having an important new playing member in about 4 years ;-)
  4. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I've tried bringing him along and sitting him in the pram in the corridor outside the room where the band rehearses (at the time I was trying to listen in to a guest conductor taking the band), but he kept "joining in" and I felt he was interrupting stuff, so went for a walk with him instead.

    I'm scared of taking him into the room, even though I know he likes music (although he's definitely tone deaf, he loves my singing!) I think it would be a bit loud for him.

    Baritonedeaf - joining a different band is an option, but we both really love the band we play with! We're lucky enough to live in probably the only town in the country that actually has 2 bands of a similar standard.

    Jockinafrock - that's very lucky indeed to have built in babysitters coming along for you. What an awesome bunch!

    One of the things that worries me is that "Daddy" is 2nd man down in band and a very strong player, so if I go along in his stead, having not played for a year (and prior to that I was learning bass trom so haven't really played a higher pitched instrument for a year and a half), it's not going to be helpful for the band. They have a bass trombone that can actually play the instrument now, so it would either be a "job share" or sitting in the back row for me.
  5. joker66

    joker66 Member

    Grandparents and other family members looked after my first daughter when she was born, or she came to the band with us. I did take a break after the second daughter was born, however an offer to play in the Championship Section again resulted in grandparents and other family members helping out. We also had a very understanding band and if needed, one of us would attend whilst the other babysat.

    We have just "retired" from banding as we have found it increasingly difficult to continue playing whilst ensuring we spent sufficient time with the kids (age 6 and 9), and also supporting them in the increasing number of activities they are undertaking (and playing taxi driver to them). This was a very difficult decision to make but something had to give, with the kids and work taking priorities.

    I would hope that we can return to banding in the future, hopefully with the kids playing too!

  6. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I notice there are no comments from the fellas so far.... :tongue:
  7. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    I am glad to respond from the male perspective, it has never been a problem.
    As my 3 children were growing up, they came with us.
    There are many amazing people around banding, and never do they show their colours more, than with the kids.
    At Amington, Coleshill and Coventry CPA/City of Coventry bands, there were always supporters/ officials of the band who were more than happy to keep an eye on them whilst we played.
    Of course, I am talking about the days when adults trusted one-another when sharing a hobby, and we didn't ask the local shopkeeper for his/her CRB certificate before allowing them to serve our kids a 50p mix!.
    ' One big happy family' - surely?
  8. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    Cough cough!
  9. Supermouse

    Supermouse New Member

    My husband and I played in different bands until relatively recently. His band only rehearsed 1 night a week and mine did two....but nights did not coincide. Only very occasionally did we have a clash of engagements. This worked well for us as neither wanted a break from banding.
    (It's also difficult to alternate rehearsals if you sit on a single part. I am a horn player and other half is trombonist.)
  10. This bloke's perspective

    We have one boy of 5. My wife took a couple of years out in the early years, and I followed suit about 10 months later, we did find it difficult.

    Now, I am MD of two bands and play in another (all non-contesting) and the wife plays in a Championship section band. NONE of the rehearsals clash - until contest time. Baby sitters are then essential.

    We seldom have a jobs clash (between all 4 bands) so we each cover for each other. Seems to work for us, though it is more good luck than good judgement.

    It has worked for two years now, so long may it continue...
  11. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    We have a 2 1/2 year boy old with another on the way in January.

    I play 1st Eb Bass and my wife is a fantastic solo horn player - both in the same band. We are lucky to have one set of parents nearby who are supportive and look after him as much as they can. There are times when one of us (normally my wife) will miss the odd rehearsal to give her parents a "night off" as especially at the build up to areas it can all get a bit much for our son and for her parents.
    Thankfully there are a few young children in tow with the band at the moment so they are all never short of things to do.
    I could not imagine taking our boy to regular rehearsals (he is far too restless and nosy).
    The band is very supportive towards us and most of the time i think they appreciate that to have both parents in the same band can be very difficult to juggle - especilly if you want to see your child (children).

    I have always said if it gets too much that i would stop playing and let my wife keep going - she is such a good horn player that she would be the bigger loss to the band in my opinion.

    When our 1st was born my wife stepped doen to 2nd horn for Butlins and the area, then came back to solo horn and as our next is due in January, she will most likely do the same for next years area depending on how things go.

    I think so long as you explain things to the band/MD and offer options and compromise from your side, any sensible band would be understanding and appreciate your circumstances. You could do it with only one babysitter every few rehearsals: 1 - you go, 2 - your partner goes, 3 - you both go (babysitter). The other option could be to see if there are any other young parents in your band who you could possibly share babysitting duties with??
    Good luck :)
  12. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    It can be hard enough when only one parent attends band, when the other's work pattern is not conducive to the bander ever getting to a rehearsal on time. Sadly, not all of us have parents or others able to play baby sitter.
  13. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Geelong West Brass band had a Cresh and the Band paid for carer to look after all the Kids. That was some 10 years ago so don't know how long that lasted of if they still do it. But it's an answer.
  14. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    You'd be surprised, ours was born in December and managed to sit through a couple of area rehearsals. However in my case it has been a question of one of us (me) taking a break. I'm lucky enough that I feel I have achieved most banding things I want to achieve and am happy to get out of it for a while and focus on making sure I still have a career. Sure I'd love to get back into it, but I know how frustrated I get if I cannot commit enough time to playing.

    Congratulations... :clap: hope all is well.
  15. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Thanks Tim....all good thanks! Glad to see your's is doing well too :) ATB to the three of you.
  16. brassking

    brassking New Member

    Has anyone ever noticed that bands with families in there seems to be problems, for example more falling outs, obviously not every band is like this alot of my family used to play in the same brass band.
    But I have come into contact with one brass band and the majority of the people in that family are not very nice people and put people off joining that band!
    Anyone else had these problems??
  17. Euphjam

    Euphjam Member

    My wife and I have both played for the same band now for around 20 years.( we got together through the band ). We have 2 boys aged 9 and 6,and have somehow managed to continue playing almost uninterrupted for all tof this time. We have both sets of very understanding grandparents to thank for this and have never taken it for granted. We've hardly ever missed any engagements,and have been fortunate to compete at the nationals on a couple of occasions for a whole weekend with the kids always in good hands:D. i realise that we've been extremely lucky,and that not everyone is so fortunate:clap:. We've just found out that there's going to be a new addition to the family so hope the good will can stretch to 3.;)
  18. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Oops! Humblest apologies...! Thought Oli was perhaps short for Olive, but I should have read your post more closely anyway!
    Am I forgiven?
  19. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    We agreed that when we had our first child that my husband would give up band. Its incredibly difficult to arrange your life around brass bands, and sometimes a sacrifice has to be made. It wasn't universally received well (by some members of our band, and some family members who thought that it should be the woman who gives up everything when starting a family)...but it was our decision.

    We now have two children, and my husband has recently started playing again, for a different band, who rehearse on (mostly) different days from my band. There are obviously still issues when it comes to clashes of concerts and contests, but we work around these to the best of our ability (using babysitters, or bringing the kids along).
  20. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    We had this discussion a while back - and then I rendered it useless by retiring from banding!!

    My theory is that we probably will only have one child (getting old y'see!) , and I wouldn't want to miss it grow up because "Mummy and Daddy are at band again" so I would have stopped banding once I knew the pregnancy was well established. Now, I can say in total confidence that I will not be banding if baby Beaker ever decides to join us! As for Beaker - I will not put any pressure on him either way. If he wants to keep banding I will understand, if he wants to stay home and change nappies instead then he can!

    Rach x

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