Re:B & R concert - Does this....

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Andy_Euph, Jun 21, 2004.


Is the banding world too backward looking?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member the narrowmindedness of our institution and how unwilling to welcome change the band world is?

    Personally I think its very sad when people are unwilling to accept "new" music (Masquerade is 10 years old!). Music in general when its written is always different and breaking new ground, composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven all found it difficult to have some music accepted in there lifetime!

    In my eyes we need to become more open about the type of music we play, and the music world in general, people complain when banders are looked down on by orchestral players as part of the "cloth cap" image, but we do nothing to change there way of thinking, we become more backward and inward looking. I know that its important to remember our heritage, but our future musn't be sacrificed for this!

    I think we have to realise that these are no longer the haydays of the mid 20century but its the 21st century! and we need to move forward before we get stuck to far in the past and become extinct :?

    P.S. This is not a dig at anyone or owt like that, just an opinion of what seems to be happening :)
  2. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think the movement is backward looking. But maybe the greater public's perception of what we're about is. I'm sure the success of pieces like the Flor*l D*nce and Gr*undf*rce don't do a lot to help. :?
  3. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Don't mention that piece!!! That, Hornet's Nest and Lament of the Dandilions are horrible!! The TV show doesn't play the horrid linking passages!!
  4. Cornetto

    Cornetto Member

    Are you kidding??!!

    The British Brass Band movement is killing itself!! They are the most inward looking backward looking stubborn minded establishment that I have encountered. Noone seems to want to listen to us apart from those who have been brought up listening to it, and that number is rapidly decreasing.

    Not just the audiences that are in decline, no young players are coming through either. Even a band like Faireys is struggling to find decent young players in to fill the seats, they've just about soaked up all the young talent they can find so far, and theres not much more around.

    Needs to be a massive change, but my feeling is bands will be too stubborn to take it on, and the majority will keep on kidding themselves.
  5. Pete Meechan

    Pete Meechan Member

    Are you kidding?!!! Is it perhaps possible that your band is finding it difficult to fill the seats with young players, not due to the lack of young players, but due to the lack of young players wanting to play for your band?! In all fairness, I think that there are many young players coming 'through the ranks' as it were!!!

    Just to add to the opic of conversation -

    The British brass band movement, not too disimilar to the whole british music scene, is a backward thinking, conservative movement. Perhaps some young blood in places where it counts, could help this situation .
  6. Verbal Kint

    Verbal Kint New Member

    Woah!!! Hold your horses Pete, what young players that you know would give up an opportunity to play in top class banding like Fairies or indeed Brighouse. Most of us can only dream of being part of a concert with such repertoire as Masquerade and Aubade, even if the audience did walk out. My feeling is that the movement is in a state of change - there are 'younger' high profile people trying to move us forward, but too often get caught up trying to please the 'oldies' at the same time. Politics, politics, eh?
  7. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I agree that people tend to favour the old stuff.

    The folliwing is a transcript of today's ABC Classic FM playlist. I bring this up as evidence to a general trend of "sticking to the classics" worldwide.

    While it's a fairly varied program, there is little doubt that the emphasis is placed on the"Great" composers. but there is a reason these guys are so well thought of. In their day, they had high exposure. Today, new composers have to compete against other entertainment arenas such as TV and movies. So few composers get the attention and recognition that now makes Beethoven's name synonymous with good music (in some people's minds).

    there is nothing we can do about it. It's evolution. brass bands are a leftover from the pre-television days. However, i hope we don't go the way of the dodo. We gotta fight the good fight, and force ourselves to evolve into a genre that keeps them coming in.
  8. IckleSop

    IckleSop Active Member


    You know that youth bands are full of young talent, the range of talent is scary so much so the top players out there now better be watching themselves!
    i agree that the audiences are on a decline, yet most bands play at places like the bridgewater hall or some sort of theatre its hardly making it acessable to the wider audiences. Mostly the style of music doesnt affect the people watching seeing as thou most people do not know what a band is playing when going to watch.
  9. Paige

    Paige Member

    i agree majorly with pete meechan and icklesop. there is loads of young talent about, this is not sayin that all of them want to play for faireys, thats a slightly arrogent perspective i think. :shock:
  10. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    I think the main problem is as a movement, our players don't support each other.

    Let's be honest here, how many people on here regularly go see a band concert? i.e seeing another band every 4-8 weeks or so. I would suggest the vast majority of registered players in this country do not. Let's be honest, many players 30+ (who are the next generation of banders) would rather in be in a pub or out on the town...there is no problem with this of course but then the finger cannot be pointed at the public for showing lack of interest. Nor can we moan we we turn up to do a job with a band and 50%+ of the seats are empty. I helped promote a concert on Saturday night with YBS. Now we virtually filled that hall but in 30 years 80% of that audience will probably not be alive..sounds extreme but it's true. Discounting the band themselves and the choir who contriubted a few songs, there were probably about 15 people there under the age of 30. Not even the very best band in the world at present could attract younger players to watch, let alone the general non-banding public.

    Unless we go to see concerts ourselves and break the stereo type of 60+ age group attending, then we are digging our own grave in reality. It's like I have said on another thread, how can be expect the public to be interested and take us seriously when we do not ourselves?
  11. Pete Meechan

    Pete Meechan Member

    Ah, Verbal- or should that be Keyser Soze? What I trying to say was that it is quite possible that not all young players would want to play for one band.

    I'm sure that many of the young players that I know would jump at the oppurtunity to play for a band such as Dyke or one of he other 'name bands'.
  12. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    I totally agree Pete, there are some fantastic players out there but personally if I was one of them I would want to stay away from bands like Fairies, as the attitude seems to be all wrong, like a we are better than you and win at all costs attitude...playing should be fun and for the majority of people, a hobby!
  13. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Well the Idea of a competition is to Win....
    you dont go there just to make up the per usual you have to look at a sporting thought...second is nothing , winning is everything , yes you are not going to win all the time , but the time , effort , rehersals you would like something at the end of it all, you dont enter the FA Cup just to pick up a runners up medal.
    there are hundreds of young players out there , who play for Britains top youth bands and groups , I think the Bands need the players more than the players need the bands ( politics , threat of the sack because of lack of experience etc.)
    It's funny but I would hazzard a guess here but all the bands who seem to struggle for players at the moment , do not have a recognised youth band or youth policy.
    you have to take your hat off to bands like Sellers , Dobross and other bands who are trying to safeguard the future...
  14. Lucky Beaver

    Lucky Beaver Member

    I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I have to admit to going to very few brass band or general live music concerts but mostly due to lack of time rather than the enjoyment factor.

    Also, whilst I personally applaude B&R for what they tried to do at the weekend, I think the top bands have a certain reponsibility to protect the kind of audiences that lower section bands need to survive. As someone playing at the B&R concert said on the other thread, he'd have much rather have been playing to a handful of people wanting to hear their programme rather than a sell-out crowd disappointed with what they were being given. We have to give the audience what they want or risk losing them. The 'Blue Rinse Brigade' wanting to hear the Floral Dance is the bread and butter of a lot of bands outside of the big names. While we are trying to alter our programmes to include less lollipops and include a few larger-scale pieces (not by B&R standards of course :wink: ), we will still endeavour to keep the programme light. There is plenty of decent music out there (original or arrangement) for audiences to enjoy without having to resort to the likes of the Floral Dance. Surely by introducing audiences to new works of any description, we are doing something for the progression of the movement?

    It's all about telling the punters what they are going to get and letting them make an informed decision before they buy tickets. That way B&R would get to play contemporary music to a receptive audience and people who don't fancy their programme can go elsewhere and find something suitable. The playing might not be to the same standard but if they know what they're getting, there can be no complaints. I'd settle for playing to a contented audience everytime (preferably a big one :D )

    P.S. Sorry to single out B&R and the Floral Dance...just examples to make my point 8)
  15. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    I just heard an interesting programme on R4 about choral societies (no honest, keep reading!). I think I'm quoting right - 170 new pieces were commissioned by amateur choral groups in the UK last year. How many new commissions did bands give out?
  16. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    there is loads of financial help out there from arts councils for commissioned works , they are especially receptive if it not a test piece...
  17. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I am in complete disagreement on a personal level with the remark that we do not support each other.

    1) We all discuss our issues here and help each other out. Is this not support?
    2) We all make efforts to attend many contests whether we're playing or watching. Is this not support?
    3) We are all passionate enough about our hobby that we tell anyone who'll listen about how good brass bands are, and if they are a musician from another group, we'll try to bring them around. this adds potential recruits to bands, whether they be our band or elsewhere's. Isthis not support?

    Some people do not have the resources to attend every concert. Whether the reasons be personal, medical, financial, transportational, there'll always be something to ruin a 100% track record.

    OK, so some of us may not be as active in their support as others. But we do try.

    I do agree witht he comment about playing to 1/2 a crowd of happy people, over a packed crowd of disappointed people. We are principally entertainers. Our job is to inspire, entertain, MAKE THE AUDIENCE HAPPY!! While a band of Brighouse's calibre is capable of playing music of a different standard, who says the music has to all be hard core? At some stage we have to draw the line between what we want to play (exciting runs, and quadruple tongueing and so forth) and what we're wanted to play. We can toe the line, or jump over briefly, but like fishing, every so often you have to let the fish think it's won.

    I still say B&R had a good idea with their concert. I still say that that type of music should be played. I jst feel that perhaps the feature wall shouldn't be so bright-a yellow, but mixed with something else. (Sorry, building a house...the metaphor relates to me)
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As has been said before, this is an area where, at least in the UK, we do not seem to score very highly in comparison with our overseas comrades. At the Europeans, many of the players were to be found in the hall listening to and then cheering their rivals on the day. Even in a concert situation where new repertoire is being presented, there does not tend to be a lot of support from bandsmen, and what better opportunity could there be not only to go along yourself but also to take a non-banding friend along so they can see what bands can do?

    One of the encouraging things about the recent concerts I've attended at the RCM and the RAM in London, has been that the audiences, although not huge, have included a cross-section of musicians from across the board, many of whom admitted to having been favourably impressed by what they heard.

    Another way to interest more of the "serious" musical public is to try to encourage more contemporary composers to write for band, even if this involves a financial outlay. You could then present works by composers we know well, such as Philips Sparke and Wilby alongside a premiere by MacMillan, Maxwell Davies or Hoddinott, whose names would draw an audience. (I recall attending the premier of a Maxwell Davies piece by the English Brass Ensemble in a lunchtime concert, and it drew a large number of non-brass enthusiasts in just this way).
  19. cornetchap

    cornetchap Member

    I've not read through all the responses on this subject so forgive me if I go over something that someone else has already said, but...

    the comments I read on the thread about B&R's concert made statements about the ignorance of the people who stood up and walked out of the concert and that they were "closed" to new music.

    Whilst I agree that walking out in the middle of a piece and/or talking through a piece is not only ignorant but downright rude, may I also suggest that those who showed disapproval at the concert were not ignorant or closed. They simply made an informed decision about what they found musically acceptable in a brass band concert. After all, they paid money and turned up to listen. Having listened they found the music didn't suit them and left. Next time they see such a concert advertised they are unlikely to go.

    This could be applied to films, books, plays, whatever. I recently read part of a book by Charlie Higson. I stopped reading it when I got to a point that didn't agree with me and will not read another Higson book as a result. That's an informed choice that I've made myself.

    How many of you might look at a brass band concert programme and say, "Humph, I'm not going to that they're just churning out the same old rubbish"? Is this not displaying a similar attitude to those who found they disliked pieces like Audabe?

    Composers will always find people who like their music and those that don't, same as writers, playwrites and artists. Don't knock people for not liking something that you do and voting with their feet. (Only knock them if they do it inappropriately :) )
  20. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member

    At last!!

    Well said Greg