Playing and Conducting - Can you do both?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Andy_Euph, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    I was just wondering what the general consensus was on whether you can conduct a band while playing somewhere else? I'd love to look for a conducting job but I worry that doing so will mean I have to stop playing, has/does anyone do both or do people tend to chose one over another?
  2. Di B

    Di B Member

    A lot of people do both but usually have one take precedent over the other.

    For example, if both bands have a contest on the same day, would you play or conduct?

    Whichever preference you have, make it known to both bands. That said, unless you give conducting most commitment you will find that bands will be less likely to appoint you as an MD as a part timer isn't in most bands interests.

    If you are new to conducting why not ask some of the MD's you know if you could take a rehearsal when they are absent one night? That way, you can gain valuable experience and confidence.

    Good luck :)
  3. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I had a Conductor at Geelong West Brass (Wally Pope) who was a Tuba Player at Footscray and Yarraville in Melbourne, He conducted us in B Grade and went on to Play in the A Grade comp, One of the Best conductors I played under , Good on ya Wally.
  4. MattB

    MattB Member

    As someone with experience Andy it's REALLY difficult to do both. Circumstances do play their part though. I've got 2 young kids, and if I was single then I'm certain I'd be doing both as I'd have time. However as DI said, on contest days it makes it either a mad dash and panic, or choice between the two. Also, would one band accept you missing the final rehearsals to go to the other? I know mine didn't!!

    Having tried it and failed to do both, my advice would be take the conducting role. If the right band comes up, it may never do again, whereas bands change their players on a regular basis and I doubt you'd have trouble finding a seat.

    What's your heart telling you to do? Don't decide on one over the other if you're not 100% certain. I've just left Littleborough after 6 years as MD to return to playing. It took MONTHS to fully decide it was the right thing!

    All the best.

  5. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    My father manages to hit things hard (Player), Drink beer (Supporter) and say things (Conductor).
  6. Blagger

    Blagger Member

    I'd agree with that. I gave up playing for a while to take over as MD of my present band. There is no way I could have continued playing with another - but the big factor is your personal situation - I have a young son = no time;)
    Anyhow you need to ask yourself where you see your future in banding at the moment - it took me 9 months to realise that I missed playing but I haven't ruled it out in the future.
  7. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I've just started doing both and have had to make the decision to give conducting priority over playing. Fortunately the band I conduct don't contest, and the band I play for will accept my non-attendance at many rehearsals and jobs. I'm sure it would become much more difficult trying to do this in higher section contesting bands. Interestingly, I think conducting has actually helped my playing as I'm more aware of how my part fits into the overall musical picture.
  8. flugtastic

    flugtastic Member

    why dont you see if there is a non contesting band in need of a conductor? just an idea:)
  9. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    have to agree with flugtastic on that one, less pressure to win contests or beat rivals in a non-contesting band making it an easier starting option for new conductors
  10. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Cheers for the replies, some interesting reading.

    I have some conducting experience, I did it as an elective for my degree, so the thought of getting up in front of a band isn't a daunting one. I've noticed that a couple of replies seem to be on my same wavelength regarding which I enjoy more. When I was conducting regularly I got my pleasure out of conducting rather than playing, but as some people have pointed out its a huge decision to give up playing.

    Anyway, food for thought :p...thanks for the replies:tup
  11. It's difficult, but possible. You need to make a good time schedule the last week before a contest. Last sunday on the belgian nationals I conducted my band twice (Oceans and Voyage of Discovery) and played with Willebroek (Vienna Nights). Wake up early and do some warming ups, just in case the band has an early draw. In the evening you're completely empty and very tired.... but if they win both you quickly recover!
  12. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    sexy picture bert!

    Do both griff, in true boc fashion.
  13. perhaps try and find 1 band who has 1 rehearsal a week and the other either 1 or 2, then its slightly easier

    2 rehearsals playing and 2 rehearsals conducting per week, is surely only do-able if your circumstances allow it

    perhaps if it were a case of you play in the A band and conduct the B band or youth/junior band where its all of the same organisation, that COULD make things easier

    I play twice a week with huddersfield brass, but im also a long term member of the halifax taekwondo club and thats another 2 nights taken up per week. i'd love to conduct a band but i just dont think it would be practical for me right now with my commitments

    as has already been said, see how much time youve got available per week, and if its do-able for yourself, go for it, if not, think if re-arranging your commitments is an option, if it isnt, stick with your current situation
  14. les

    les Member

    I believe I successfully do both, but I am probably the exception to the rule!

    I play when required, and conduct full time...But the playing side is still important, luckily I dont require many rehearsals to be able to do a job.


    MD Ecclesborough Band :)
  15. eanto

    eanto Member

    I reckon you can do both, conduct and play, but it's probably important to establish your priorities to all parties. What happens at conflicting events? A pecking order needs to be identified.
  16. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Top notch advice, in my opinion.

    When I've played in bands conducted by a player from another band there was always, eventually, a conflict of interest. These could usually be resolved amicably if one band was prepared to be flexible but it sometimes depended entirely on the personalities or bands concerned. For instance a 3rd/4th section band is hardly going to prevent their conductor going to a final rehearsal at Cory, or Fodens, but might object if it's another 3rd/4th section band.

    That said, if you feel you can make the time to do both at the moment, have a go before you fill that time with other stuff! Like MattB I've got 2 kids and I can't imagine being involved with 2 bands, there just aren't enough hours in the day! Make sure you make clear at the outset how you intend to resolve conflicts though, and if you're going to give one band priority over the other it's only fair to tell them both.
  17. les

    les Member

    I would not except a playing gig if they conflicted - My main priority is conducting, but I love to be able to help out too. I have been around the circuit long enough to be able to help out bands at any level without attending rehearsal after rehearsal. I guess they call it experience!

    So my pecking order is conducting then playing, but not just conducting or just playing if I can help it. Those that know me will understand what I mean! :D

    MD Eccles Borough Band
  18. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    I have done both in the past. Conducting a band once a week and playing in a band rehearsing twice a week.

    You have to be disciplined and ensure all parties are getting the best out of you!

    Also an understanding wife / partner helps too!

    The agreement I had with the 2 bands re engagements was if there was ever a clash whichever one was in my diary first was who I committed to for that time / date.

    Contests were never an issue as the bands I have conducted were non-contesting.

    Hope this helps.
  19. ryansonel

    ryansonel New Member

    It is possible. I used to conduct but playing took preference. I remember one time I played and conducted in the same section. Was very difficult to juggle things and was all down to the luck of the draw. Fortunately the band I conducted were drawn 1st and the band I played with were drawn number 9, so it gave me time to get changed and adjust muy thinking from full score to single part. I would go for it providing rehearsals do not clash as well as engagements. Best of luck
  20. I have always wanted to try both! but then I realised if I did that my life would be be overtaken by Brass bands!!

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