Poor Efforts from Players

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Okiedokie of Oz, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    OK, this probably falls aunder a various assortment of banners that have popped up recently, so feel free to move it Mods, but I am curious how other people would handle this situation.

    As I've mentioned before, I have a rather small band, made up of mostly high school kids, in particular seniors. We are working for contest, and every so often we have a dud rehearsal because all of a sudden I have a bass section, 2 horns and 2 solo cornets all missing to do homework. I can deal with that.

    Part of our contests is the marching event. AS the band rehearses at NIGHT and most of the band members complained baout marching in the dark, the entire band nominated their own marching rehearsal time and selected Sunday mornings at 7 AM. There's daylight, and it's rather cool. It also allows you to go to church or work or whatever afterwards.

    However the problem is a lot of players don't turn up to these rehearsals, and most of them without apologising too. As a result, the drum major has had to work hard on organising positions and working out who is or isn't marching. We want to make a good effort, and also, with 20 players capable of marching, it makes it hard to get an even spread. As such the drum major decided we'd march with 3 ranks of 5, plus one of 3 for the percussion. 2 players would have to sit out, which works out great because we have 3 players who have dodgy attendances. However one is starting to pick his act up.

    Out of the other 2, one is a teenager, and the other a single parent taking his kids to contest. He appreciates being left out of the march (although is very apologetic at attendance). The drum major decided, to keep the teenager involved, he could march in front of the band with the banner.

    Tonight, at 9:00, I get a phonecall a phonecall from his mum, accusing me of punishing her boy with carrying the banner, and complaining that all the parents agree that the early morning rehearsals just aren't convenient. This mother I met for the first time, by the way, last night.

    Did we make a good decision keeping the boy involved? Is the mother whinging now because her boy has been singled out, or does he have a legitimate gripe??
  2. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    7 WHAT???!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. Bassment Jinx

    Bassment Jinx Member

    :lol: :D

    Let me get this right, the band nominated to go marching 7am on a sunday morning. ?!! There probably not awake enough to even think about effort! :lol:
  4. OMG, half our band is stumbling back from the club strip at that hour!!...Therefore Sunday rehearsal starts at 9:30 to allow time for hangover showers and an hour or so of sleep.

    We tried to switch our extra rehearsal from the Sunday to a friday night. I guess that never worked out because people were far too acustomed to reading their parts with red eyes.
  5. bruceg

    bruceg Active Member

    I think you were always going to lose in this situation :( Did the kid carrying the banner complain to his mum or did she decide of her own accord that he had been singled out? Even if he didn't actually complain to her, I know from bitter experience that the way a child tells a story can often result in a view of the situation that is very different from reality. They do have an unfortunate tendency to leave out key points like, for example, the conductor asked if I would do this and I said yes ;-)

    I think you did the best you could and were right to keep the kid involved but you're never gonna make everyone happy.
  6. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    What a small world Chris.The lady in question is my sister-I'll pass on your regards :?
  7. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    Nothing wrong with a bit of drill first thing in the morning :D
    If they dont turn up they're obviously not that inerested.
    Sack them!!!!
  8. Mrs Fruity

    Mrs Fruity Member

    Oh joy!!! Sunday 7am - why don't I live in Queensland? - you get a hat when you're in bands down there too, don't you? Mind you my husband would spend all of his time at the zoo - I think he's in love with old Stevo Irwin!!!!!! (or could it be Terri???)
  9. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Your sister is in Australia? Wow....

    And yes Mrs Fruity, you get 2 hats, and it's more likely that that MrFruity likes Terri over Steve.
  10. Despot

    Despot Member

    I always make a point of completely ignoring what parents have to say! The bit about other parents complaining is probably an invention or at best an exageration! I think you did the right thing.

    But 7AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :shock:
  11. I think where okie lives sacking a player means you probably won't find another of similar ability to replace them in the near future, or at all. - It's the same most anywhere in Australia except Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne etc... Geographically it's impossible to pull together a good band from outside where you live- you have to train the players in your own town because most of the time it's a hundred odd miles to the next musical centre and usually a good 700 miles to the nearest capital city.

    Correct me if I'm wrong okie.

    A wise teacher of mine once said to me that how you handle cranky Australian parents (they have a tendency to get very very hostile when things don't turn out for the kiddies - just go watch a junior soccer match!) will make or break your career as a conductor in a youth environment.
  12. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    The nail's been hit on the head.
  13. ted

    ted Member

    Hi Chris,
    I'm assuming that you are the bandmaster of the band, so if you're not then all the 'you's below refers to what the bandmaster should do.

    About the attendence at band, I have one trick which worked for my old band a few years ago. Have a record book out at each rehersal and allow people to write down in advance when they'll be unavailable for a particular rehersal. When someone misses a rehersal without writing it down in the book you have every right to tell them off (ring them during or after the rehersal and ask them where they are and why they're not at band). You're don't tell them off for taking a night off, you tell them off for not writing it in the book and letting the band down. This will deter a lot of people who decideds half an hour before band that they're too lazy to turn up.

    The trade off is that for those who are geniunely too busy to go to band, they'll write it in the book and you can't do anything about it. (unless they take time off too regularly then you can have a chat to them, the "you should consider if you can afford to be committed to this band" chat) But then you also have to understand that there are more important things in life than banding.

    So the policy is that people who need to can take a night off, but they'll have to go through the process of registering when they'll have a night off. This will deter lazy people from not turning up to band. The key to the success of this system is that it has to be enforced, if band members miss band without registering it in the book, you have to chase them up. Call them straight away and ask them where they are. If a member decides to disregard this system, boot them out. No one is irreplacible, dismissing an established lazy member out of the band opens up a gap for an eager youngster with lots of room for improvement to rise to the ocassion.

    As for the marching issue, I can understand why holding the banner can be considered as a punishment, those who don't like to stand out can find the experience humiliating. So if the kid doesn't want to hold the banner, don't make him or her. On this ocassion, you should have talked to the teenager and see how he/she feels about the situation. Communication is the key to organisation!

    p.s. The more professional you are about the running of your band, the greater the responsibility the member feels about their committment to the band.
  14. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Some fair points. We already have a similar system, called the "apology Board", a whiteboard with four weeks marked. If you know you are going to be away in advance, write it down, if it's last minute, please call me. That's all we're asking, a quick phone call.

    Also, fair call with the flag bearer. Not my decision, but in all essence, a logical option.
  15. Despot

    Despot Member

    I think it's the same anywhere outside the UK! You loose a player, you have to train a replacement from scratch. (Unless you've got the cash and numbers for a youth band) Sometimes you get lucky and a brass player moves to the area, but usually no.

    I think you have to be tough with parents, polite and as fair as you can, but tough! They don't care about what's good for the band, they only care about what's good for their child, even if it's to determent of the band! Stick to your guns, or you will not be respected.

    Personally, I'd get an even bigger sign, start at 6AM, and make the lad march twice as far....but that's me! :twisted: