Recruitment - A growing problem?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Charmed, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    I've just been 'musing' around the threads and realised how many bands have been advertising for players since the 1st Area (Yorkshire) took place, 66 from a rough count. And a lot of bands are not advertising for 1 player, but often 2 or more. This led me to ponder how bands manage for the Areas, where obviously you can't borrow. Our band too have had this problem. We had to sign someone just for the area. It must be really demoralising for bands to go to the area with a full band and then turn up at the next rehearsal with empty seats!

    How does the band keep motivated?
  2. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    I must admit to being a little shocked at seeing some bands advertise multiple vacancies a day or so after they competed at the Area. I guess there must be a bumber of factors involved, so I won't be making any judgements on individual bands as it's no business of mine, but it just seems to make a mockery of the whole 'no borrowed bands at the area' ruling - cos, in essence, bands get around it anyway.
  3. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    I agree with you Dyl up to a point. However, it does make it harder for the area, purely because you can't 'borrow'. The players you sign have to be available and not playing with another band. There must be a lot of players out there who don't play regularly with a band for the bands to be able to use them just for the area. Which makes me wonder what it is that makes these players not commit to one band. Is it the time factor? Or perhaps these players only enjoy contesting and not the rest of the years work that bands normally do. I have to hold my hand up to say that I would be quite happy just contesting, but realise the other has to be committed to if you want to be part of one band.
  4. persins

    persins Member

    It might be also the fact that the bands keep pestering them to fill the seat solely for the contest knowing that they cannot or will not commit for the remainder of the year. We have a number of players registered for us who are not part of the normal every-rehearsal practice. It helps to serve as a good dep list when certain players cannot make engagements. Obviously, should a player wish to transfer away, we do not just hold onto the registration for the sake of it!!
    We have had a few gaps in rehearsals since the regionals (including me for one) but that happens in general. I agree that it can be demoralising when all the momentum built up from having a full band disappears so quickly after the contest but it cannot just be viewed in isolation! Many other threads touch on this issue. It is very difficult to get 25 brass players plus percussion all together in rehearsals week in week out. You just have to manage as close to that as you can!
  5. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    For once we entered the Area's with no empry seats and not one borrowed player. It took flippin hard work and a lot of sweet talking but at loooooooooooooooooong last we have a complete team of our own
  6. imthemaddude

    imthemaddude Active Member

    For some players, the area is a good finshing point if they want to leave or a good new starting point for moving players around.
  7. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    We had to cast our net far and wide to fill seats for the area. We had players travelling from Kent, Cambridge, Peterborough and Lincoln. While they didn't have the time to committ to a band regularly they were happy to help us out for the 1 contest but now the contest is over we still have to try and fill those empty seats from somewhere
  8. i know that the way my former band hebden got their success was by their players constantly turning up to rehearsals twice a week. think every player there had a 90% or more on their attendance record and this dedication and success from it just keeps encouraging the players to turn up, theyve found a working formula and theyve stuck to it, a real credit to them all i.m.o.

    maybe bands and schools arent progressing younger players fast enough, maybe there isnt enough money being put in to develope these players at a faster rate.

    theres some awesome young talent out there, and maybe its becoming a little bit like football in the sense that when a big team/band spots a promising youth player, they snap them up quick and easy, coz they know that they will be the future of our band heritage that we all still love and enjoy.

    this backfires tho coz some players get moved up too quick, and if they dont make it, they dont become as good as everyone hopes, and also the lower section bands lose out, and so they have to bring up another player, or advertize for a more experienced 1.

    most of you know i have big ambitions for my future and you know 1 of them is to form a brass band, but the other, is for me to form a music learning centre for people of all ages, with a possible recognized qualification to acheive at the end of it all. perhaps something like this is whats needed to encourage people to keep playing and push for bands to acheive the 1st ultimate goal, of having a full band, turning up to full attended rehearsals and jobs.

    anyone wanna add to this or comment on my opinions here?
  9. MartinBen

    MartinBen Member

    Well this year was the first time for many years that I have not played at an Areas - simple reason being my new band decided not to contest and no-one asked me to dep for them - Section 3 or 4.

    Can't say I missed not playing though as I prefer to play concerts to an appreciative audience rather than practice the same piece ad-nausiem for weeks.

    Bands probably struggle to find players for contests for these very reasons.
  10. sooooper sop

    sooooper sop Member

    My band is extremly lucky, we sit a full band for a good 90% of rehersals, and I think that it shows in both our concert and contest work (although we had a dissapointing area!) I've always belived that bands start from the bottom i.e. youngsters in small groups learning the basics. We have 3 full bands (training, B band and the senior band) two of which contest regularly and a good proportion of all three bands taking part in solo contests.
    There is a shortage of players at the moment but if a few more bands relied on teaching as opposed to cheque books they could probably sit more players at rehearsals.
    Having said that I do sympathize with bands who are relying on deps, it's not easy to start a training regime and it take a number of years, but maybe if they looked at the medium to long term they might just help their player situation.
  11. Carrying on from the last thread, we have a training band which we struggle to get many players along to... We compete for their attention with a couple of other junior / youth bands, one of which isn't even particularly nearby, but the local Peri takes it... You need the local schools to send players to the local band IMO

    And so we still have empty seats in the main band...

    Since the Areas, our solo euph's been called to Japan for work, and will be away for some time. The drummers have gone back to gigging, and will turn out for the jobs they can make, but few rehearsals... We've stopped expecting one other who turns up so infrequently!

    It would help us enormously if people played for their "local" town band rather than driving off miles to the many other yorkshire bands. There are players in the locality, they just don't come...

    I started a thread about rehearsal nights - I think it's impeding our recruitment, as we rehearse on a Friday night - but if we switch, a couple of existing players wouldn't be able to come anymore.

    It's all very frustrating!
  12. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    The main advantage of training your own players is that you can breed loyalty to the band and that involves turning up for everything. Having said that then your main band has to lead by example, because kids can spot double standards a mile off. So they start missing rehearsals for 'revision'. Why shouldn't they when the adults in their band miss for 'work' and 'holidays' etc. Adults players sometimes miss the point when they say that work is more important than schoolwork.

    I can see a time when a lot of bands will only have one rehearsal a week, in order to make that rehearsal fully attended. Anybody know any bands that already do this? Marple, Timperley spring to mind. This may attract the players that have gone into retirement because they cant give full committment.
  13. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Down here in this part of Somerset, the band I contest with can't even get a full band with players from 2 or 3 other bands helping out! After the contest we all go back to our own bands. Then we rarely get more than 14 at rehearsal. There just aren't the players out there.
  14. I know what you mean, but if you do HAVE to miss it, you don't play with the band for two weeks! Missing one rehearsal now is 'only' 50%!
  15. Hornblower RN

    Hornblower RN Member

    For the Porthcawl contest in February we (Ammanford) had to borrow 2 players to fill up the band. Because we couldn't fill these seats along with another 1 or 2 for the areas the decision was taken not to enter. The final result is that we are now down to a band of about a dozen players with many excellent key players gone to join competing bands. It really is one hell of a problem to recruit players nowadays.
  16. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    It's not always easy to have a training band though, we have tried, but without spare instruments there's not much you can do. And before anyone states 'Lottery' funding, been there done that, 4 times! Not a bean has come our way, whereas the two other local bands, one now defunct, and one barely surviving, both have received enormous amounts for instruments, band room etc.

    And on top of that, we have had quite a few players that started as 'junior' players in our band (when we were a third section band), but soon moved on to the 'better' bands once they were competent enough, and these are players that have been or still are at the top of the game.
  17. Liz Courts

    Liz Courts Active Member

    Lympstone are lucky - we have too many players! But it's always hard having to tell someone that they aren't needed for a contest...with five horns and a lot of cornets it's unavoidable!

    However, with just the one percussionist and some multi-talented members, we were able to shuffle the band around a bit for the area, with one of the five basses moving to the percussion section, along with our flugal horn player, and a solo cornet filling the flugal position. One of the back row cornet players convenietly couldn't make the contest, and the spare second horn players willingly became members of the audience! :)

    With St Agnes though, it's a different story! They've managed to get a full band together for the CBBA contest in April, but a few of the players won't be seen again until they're needed for any summer concerts! They are lucky though to have a lot of registered members that have been with the band for a long time, but with so many work and family commitments, they are unable to attend regularly.
  18. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    We haven't always had a full team at Emley,

    I've been with the band for 3 years now, When I started we had two front row cornets, three back row and it wasnt' too bad other than two basses round the rest of the band!

    We had a period of two years where we never had a full cornet team, the best it's been was three front, sop rep and two back! But with lots of advertising and 2MD's profile on tMP we've got people down for rehearsals and they've enjoyed it and stayed. We've had players leave for higher section bands (2 top euph's a top man) which breaks the bulding process, you come to realise over time that everything moves on, you have to smile and get back on with it.

    We dont' have full rehearsals all the time, although we constantly push for these. One of our team travels from Harrogate to rehearsals, he was a member with the band when it was a once a week team (still not having a full band back then!) so he comes once a week, which means you're garunteed not to have a full rehearsal at least half the time, But all the new players have had to join on a two rehearsal basis, although work, illness and holidays still mean it's unlikely to have a full band that often!

    All you can do is keep recruiting hard, by every means possible, don't write off any ideas. And keep a freindly and welcoming atmosphere so when you do get folk in they stay!! I've not joined (or even helped out bands) because i've felt so UNwelcome!

    It's a tough business recruiting and keeping players, and them getting them to two rehearsals a week, you have to keep taking deep breaths and starting again!

    Good luck to everyone recruiting at the moment, i know we'd like some next time someone next time someone moves on!
  19. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    charge subs, organise fundraising within the parents of the training band. This is usually not an issue with parents - particularly if you charge per month, which makes it easier to collect! After all, the other groups kids go to aren't free -why should musical education and a free instrument be for nothing?

    A suggestion for senior bands also! pay subs and do less jobs.
  20. small subs per player, and some fund raising events for the bands i think would be a great help, i have to say that i will be arranging for my new band to have subs, small, but very significant, it will cover costs of hiring the bandroom, building up general band funds, and putting money towards music and equipment.

    the once a week policy i think could be good for getting full attendances, but do you feel that a band suffers from it where as twice a week, the band would gel quicker and play better as a unit?

    the advantage i will have is that we are starting from scratch, where as bands that have rehea rsed on 2 certain nights per week for a long time, they like tradition, they dont like change, and when a player makes sure that they reserve those 2 nights a week for band, its understandable that they dont want a band to change nights. but i think you would just have to go with the overall majority votes from all the people involved with your band.

    fact is, theres no easy ways to solve all the problems!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2006

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