Professional Conductors

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MRSH, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    I am considering asking a professional conductor (no-one in mind particularly at this point in time) to my band for a rehearsal or two.

    If your band were to ask a professional conductor to take a rehearsal - or even a weekend of rehearsals - what kind of 'fee' would you expect to pay?

    I know there will be a lot of "it depends....." answers but I'm only looking for an indicative ballpark figure.

  2. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Hmmm! Very subjective this...

    You got it in one when you said it all depends... on how long you want them for/how far they've got to travel/what you want them to do/do you want a 'name' etc..

    There are loads of good pros out there (you've probably got someone in mind already) but you've got to look realistically at what you can afford. Are players contributing? Does the pro need accomodation?

    Brush up on your haggling skills and have clear expectations from the start - you're 'employing' them so be clear about what you want from their input; but also make sure you use the knowledge you've been given. Bear in mind also that some pros charge different fees to bands that will use them regularly, and a different fee to 'one-offs'. Got a lot o' respect for bands that can see the benefits of getting a fresh face in to wag the stick - Garry Cutt and David Hirst are my faves, but equally as good are less well known names. Maybe other tmp ers can give accounts of their own experiences with pros? (Oops! That doesn't sound good, does it?)

    Hope you have a wonderful time whoever you get! :D
  3. ballyhorn

    ballyhorn Member

    Be careful who you choose as some of the professional conductors are not really into the nuts and bolts of playing ...some want to just come in and put the panache into the piece...So I would look for a conductor who is maybe a resident at a top band who does most of the work in the bandroom. A lower section band would really see the difference after a few rehearsals...well worth it and remember if you want the best they usually cost...Alan Lawton was one of the best for training a band and Gary Cutt to name a couple...might be a bit far for them though..good luck.
  4. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member


    I'd echo Bally's comments - you'll notice a massive difference.

    We get Peter Parkes to work with the band. For those of us of a certain age he's still right up there with the best ever and whilst not getting into too much detail on any piece he'll have your band sounding better after half an hour, which is surely the point of a band. Definitely recommend him.

    We recently had another local championship section band conductor cover a rehearsal for us - it was great. I wouldn't say he was any better or worse than our MD but asked for different things in pieces we were used to playing in certain ways. It kept the band on it's toes for the evening and helped freshen things up whilst challenging a few of us around the stand. Often local MD's are not considered due to rivalry or one thing or another - it's a cost effective way of changing a rehearsal
  5. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    As mentioned, Garry Cutt, Alan Lawton, Peter Parkes etc but we've also had great results with Gareth Pritchard, and for me one of the best is Les Beevers! He somehow gains instant respect!

    Of the younger generation we've enjoyed John Doyle and John Ward got very good results. In very different ways!

    We had 4 rehearsals with different conductors a while ago whilst our MD was on Holiday. A breath of fresh air!
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  6. Kinrao

    Kinrao Member

    If you're going to get a professional in make sure that what he/she will deliver is going to be more than what you already have in your band room.

    When you contact a pro have in mind how many rehearsals you want them to take and what budget you have allocated for the project. the pro'll be able to tell you almost immediately if they'll be able to fit in with your budget.

    As far as a fee goes - these differ wildly depending on who you go to, if your need to get a pro in is to gee the band up to a better performance and put some interpretation in, there are a some who'll do a similar job than the top names for a fraction of the cost.

    Ask around some secretary's who you know have embarked on a similar project in the same sections as you.

    To keep costs down you might want to have a weekend where the pro does sectionals and a couple of full band rehearsals.

    Good Luck
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Do you have anything in mind that you're trying to address Matt?

    Personally, I'd agree that it's likely you'd gain more benefit from a Band Trainer of the highest level - putting my rose tints on a minute probably the best person I ever worked with for getting the notes in the right place was Derek Broadbent - as opposed to looking at someone who'd (superficially at least) normally just come in to shape and polish a performance.

    As has been said, fees can differ so there's no real answer.....some people can often be open to negotiation more than others depending what it is you're asking them to do and what you can offer them in return.
  8. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Well, I be looking forward to it, whoever the person might be! Good idea, Matthew.
  9. mozart

    mozart Member

    Try C Brian Buckley,his musicianship and attention to detail are second to none


    The highlight of my banding career was 2 hours at Holme Silver Band when David King took a practice, words cannot describe this man,in those two hours we rose 3 sections,even the hymnn tune at the start was 50 times better than we had ever played.I threw a sickie at work and lost about 100 quid in wages so I did nt miss it !It was pure magic for 2 hours and ill never forget that night..the mans a god !
  11. ballyhorn

    ballyhorn Member

    OK come on are Andrew aren't you?????
  12. BrotherBone

    BrotherBone Member

    One of the best people Ive ever been conducted by for putting the nuts and bolts together, ensuring bands do basic things and ensuring alot of uniformity across the band is Phillip McCann. Tells it like it is and picks up on everything... Whether you love him or hate him, he's one of the best for me in terms of putting good solid foundations in everyones playing. In terms of musicality i'd probably say Russell Gray is one of the most musical conductors I've played under. He can find things in the music that if anyone else attempted to make something they'd just fall flat on their face. All depends on what you're looking for i guess but those two would be my suggestions for the two different camps.
  13. David Pegram

    David Pegram Member

    We've done it for the last couple of years.Had 1 in full time band didn't respond. Brought 1 in before contests great results band reaction great.Pay what ever they want well worth it. Good luck
  14. Ali

    Ali Member

    I don't like the idea of pro and resident conductors. It very rarely seems to work. It can only work if the Pro has a little bag of magic dust that actually enhances the performance and im afraid that there are really only a handful out there at the moment. One of the best in business for band training (in my honest opinion) has got to be Mike Fowles. Im actually quite surprised that he hasn't already been mentioned. If you need anyone to work you hard and bash the notes then he is the one. Having worked with him at Fodens and Leyland in the past, I cant think of many better!
  15. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Totally agree, I was lucky enough to do a contest with Enderby when he was conducting. He spent the first 40 minutes of his first rehearsal working on hymn tunes to get the sound something like what he wanted. The difference was amazing and the time passed really quickly.

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