Poaching Musical Directors

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Sabrina_2, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. Sabrina_2

    Sabrina_2 New Member

    We all know about the term 'poaching' in regards to players - this is something we all experience from time to time. But what about poaching Musical Directors. This really winds me up.

    When you have a good, successful, relationship with your MD, there is always the fear about what would happen if, for whatever reason, they decided to leave the band. But how about when another band knows the MD is happy with their own band, but can afford to offer a lot more money for the MD to take them instead! And I mean a lot more money. The MD doesn't want to leave their band but when the prospect of earning quite a few thousand pounds a year more is offered to them, they have to consider it and inform their current band. This then puts the band in a very difficult position. Either they have to risk losing the MD because they can't afford to pay any more, or scrimp and scrape to increase the MD's pay.

    Why can't bands look for MDs that are not currently settled with a band. Why do they have to try and entice them away because they are in the fortunate position of having more money! :mad:
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Because the best ones, like the best football managers, are in demand. Plus, some people get part of their living from conducting - a small part in most cases, but the fact remains that it is paid employment. Who wouldn't consider another job offer if it came with an increase in pay/prestige?

    It's not entirely one-sided, I've heard of cases where incumbent MDs have been told that their services are no longer required and at the very next rehearsal a new man is in place, having been lined up in advance.

    The only way to reduce this, if not stop it, would be to register/transfer MDs like players - it's been suggested a few times before but I really don't know how practical or desirable this would be.
  3. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Not sure registering would work. Many top professional MD's conduct more than one band at say the areas for example. Surely by saying they can only sign for one band and as they are technically self employed would it be a restriction on their rights to work wherever / whenever they wanted?

    Also agree with Andy that the best will always be in demand. However we were talking after band last night with regard to 'poaching' of players. We all agreed that bottom line is if a player gets an offer from another band and they want to go they will go. Guess the same applies to MD's.
  4. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    I guess its the same with MD's as it is with players. If the MD is happy with his or her lot then they will resist any attempt to draw them away from their current position, if however there is a hint of uncertainty about the position they are in a tempting offer may just pull them away. We MD's are more at the mercy of bands than most players are, and some bands are particularly viscious at targetting their MDs
  5. Texus

    Texus Member

    Surely the issue is the same as with players. If people are happy and have a good relationship with the band, then moving to another wouldn't be tempting.
  6. smiler_38

    smiler_38 Member

    Does anyone else think that all this "Sponsorship" and buying in Players and MDs is spoiling the Spirit of Brass Banding?
  7. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Having spent a lot more time as an MD than as a player in recent years, I'd have to say that though of course, money is important - it isn't the be all and end all of any reason I'd stay with a band. There are other important considerations too you know!

    The additional factors I would most certainly consider are;
    • the relationship I had with band and the amount of enjoyment I felt personally from conducting and engaging with them
    • the rate of progression of the band (both actual progress measured in results and performances, and apparant progress where I determined how I felt the band could progress)
    • loc├íle: the location of the band relative to where I live/need to be so I could continue to function in the other aspects of my life. No good taking on a band so far away from where I live that I never saw my family.
    • which contests and concerts / events the band looked to attend
    • the scope of responsibility the band associated with the MD position (ie if the MD role had a say in all things musical or not)
    So... it's not just about the money.
  8. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Certainly not. The commitment and reliability of the band also plays a big part. No MD will want to spend his time directing empty chairs or searching around for players for important concerts and contests; under those circumstances any conductor wanting to develop and progress will sooner or later start to look around for a band whose hunger for success and musical satisfaction matches his own.
  9. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Also MD's do progress as do players/bands. An MD could start his 'career' directing a lower section band. Once he/she has a proven record they may be offered to opportunity to conduct a higher section band. What is wrong with that?
  10. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Oh - not a cookery thread...;)

    Perhaps a mutually agreed notice period/payment in lieu of notice might help bands in the short term? (Although that would depend on what contract, if any, there is between band and MD, and might just cause more problems...)
  11. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I think Chunky has pretty much hit the nail on the head here. Unless you get into the very upper echelons of banding any MD's fee is likely to be a secondary income, so the enjoyment, potential, commmitment and achievements of a band all come into play. Basically, if an MD isn't enjoying themselves where they are, they will be a potential "poachee". Just like nearly all players I know - you won't wrestle them away from their current bands if they are happy, no matter how much you try.