Rehearsal Absentees

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by andy_pandy, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. andy_pandy

    andy_pandy New Member

    Do all bands have problems with 'serial' absentees from rehearsals?

    In concert season you don't notice it so much, however when into contesting rehearsals and prep especially for the area is there always one seat 9 times out of 10 empty ??
    Players that always make rehearsals (and conductors..) frustrated with certain seats coming and going as they please, and pieces being incomplete with out them.

    But what can you do if their 'excuse' or 'apologies' cannot be questioned or is just accepted?
  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    It of course depends on the band, on the player and on how easily they can be replaced.

    If a player isn't able to fully commit and the band takes that player on in full knowledge of this, then are both at fault or neither?

    If the player isn't going to be fully committed during contest season and the band wants to use a different player who is going to have much better attendance, is the first player going to accept that?

    At what point does a band decide that they're better with the seat permanently empty so that they can advertise it and (hopefully) get a regularly attending replacement in? How often does the player have to miss before this is preferable? (ignoring the in's and out's of whether it's ever right to ask a player to leave, and/or how it's done).

    A lot of bands have these kinds of issues - if you're a player in one of those bands, it's really up to you whether you're happy with how the band handles it or not. If you aren't and the band isn't receptive to your arguments, it's simply up to you to decide whether to accept it and get on with it or leave and find another band that aligns more closely with the way you'd like to see things done.
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  3. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    No, not all bands do (or at least not for very long!) but it very much depends on the culture and collective choices of each individual band.

    There are as many different approaches to this as reasons for missing rehearsals, no one-size-fits-all solution. I believe its up to the band members collectively to decide what level of commitment/absence is acceptable, and what to do about players that can't or won't meet that level (and its up to individuals to decided whether or not they want to be in a band that either demands more or accepts less than they are personally willing and able to give)
    andy_pandy, Jack E and 2nd tenor like this.
  4. andy_pandy

    andy_pandy New Member

    Thanks for your responses just thought I would put it out there for discussion.

    It seems over the years my band takes a more and more lax approach to it. But its very frustrating for players who make an effort and still get chastised when they cant help but miss a rehearsal.

    Just my own ramblings!
  5. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Armed with the responses so far perhaps you might like to have a (private) conversation with whoever is handing out the chastisement and then sound out your Band's Committee in search of a better and more equitable way forward. To my way of thinking Accidental's skilfully succinct post is 'spot on'.

    Across much of life I've found that when the guilty are sought but can't be found, or can't be challenged, then some innocent third party or softer target ends up taking the flack; the boss feels the need to be seen to be doing something and maybe exert some control (chastise) on those she/he still can too. Obviously my last comment is a generalism and I've no knowledge of or connection to the OP's Band.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  6. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    As an MD I find last minute drop outs or even worse those that just don’t turn up without notice incredibly frustrating. I appreciate that for most (the “Pro’s” at the top levels are a different kettle of fish) this is a pure hobby which we contribute time and money to, and that sometimes things happen which means that people can’t attend – babysitter issues, illness, car breakdown or an accident en route, etc. Sometimes a message cant get through – but I still appreciate an “after the event” message – sorry I didn’t make it, there was a big accident on the way, or I had a call to say that a relative had been taken to hospital, or I had a thumping migraine, slept all day and didn’t wake up until 9pm – that sort of thing.

    Some people do make a habit of it – its bad enough during “ordinary” practices but if youre on the lead up to the area, the MD will often have planned out exactly what he needs to sort, and inevitably the no-show will have a key part somewhere. I also don’t particularly like after the event messages when theyre of the “Sorry I didn’t make it tonight, we had gone out for the day and lost track of time” type – it shows lack of respect both for the MD and their banding colleagues. Especially if it happens more than once.

    I’ve only ever replaced 2 players – and in both cases probably made more excuses for them and cut them more slack until I became aware of the mutterings of others in their section (Sharon away again….? Tut….). I’ve also had a moan to the missus over certain “excuses” but I certainly wouldn’t do it in front of the main band and I definitely wouldn’t have a go at a player over a one-off or a completely genuine reason.
  7. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I think it really helpful to have an MD's view, a start to airing some of the issue(s) from their perspective. Maybe the OP's comments are an encouragement to MD's in that many players too are upset and/or frustrated when their team mates don't show up for rehearsals.

    What individuals can manage to do does, for numerous reasons, vary a lot and likewise what they feel able to commit to. That's life so as well as demanding that others show respect for and commitment to common goals - or maybe majority agreed goals where individuals were possibly outvoted or carried along by others - it's unreasonable not to temper that with some understanding of individual circumstances and preferences. Of course each band and community is unique in some way but I wonder what an MD's perspective is on building a band (how to), in a sustainable way, so that it gives long term pleasure to (as near as is humanly possible) each and every one of its members. Is that task or aim one that's impossible to achieve?

    As with all conflicts a good point to start in their resolution is in trying to understand the other person's point of view and perspective. 'Why don't my team mates show up for rehearsals' could be a search for understanding or, alternatively, a demand. Better, IMHO, if it's a search for understanding which can then provide some common foundation for a way forward.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  8. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    It's a difficult one. When I first joined my current band attendance must have been a long term problem as a week later the conductor resigned over it. (3 weeks before the Areas). The new conductor came in, changed the practice night (there is only one a week) and brought some players with him as so often happens. Now the attendance is very good and reliable. Absences are only due to working hours or booked holidays for the most part. I'm wondering if it is because most of us travel a fair distance, (average of 50 mile round trips) and so car share where we can. This means you tend not to back out as you'd be letting someone down as well as your band. A possible factor?
    Catherine81 and 2nd tenor like this.
  9. GER

    GER Member

    I think some people are just like that, it's a hobby so is low on list of priorities. I appreciate it's frustrating for the MD but our MD has cut practices short on several occasions, due to low attendance, which I and other regular attendees do not think is the answer, if you start upsetting your 'regulars' then they may start going elsewhere which compounds the problem.
    How does everybody else feel about this? is it a regular occurrence? Would appreciate everybody's opinions/comments
  10. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I would have thought making the people who've actually turned up suffer poor and/or short rehearsals is just about the worst thing to do in a band with attendance issues!
    Surely a more positive approach would be to make the rehearsals as stimulating and productive as possible for the people who are actually there so they're not put off from turning up too.
  11. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I still think that, at some point, an MD has no option but to talk to a persistent offender, in private, and make clear to them that their selfish behaviour - for that is what it is - is causing far more trouble than their occasional presence is worth.

    I'm drawing a clear line here between people who - for example - <i>cannot</i> attend all practises, or all concerts, because they work shifts, but who keep the MD informed, and really give their best every time they can turn up, as compared with people who never let the MD know in advance, never have a valid reason for non-attendance, etc, etc, - and there simply is no excuse for that.

    I can well believe that, for some people, their current life circumstances make it extremely difficult for them to make a regular commitment to a band - or even to regular practise - such as, for example, parents looking after very small children, or a student studying for a PhD. But surely the sensible thing for them to do is to accept the reality; that they cannot spare the time, attention and energy to contribute to a band at the moment, so the only fair approach is to admit it, and pull out.

    With many such situations, they will change over time, and they may well be able to rejoin the band, and have the time and energy to give it the commitment it needs - and to be able to do it with enjoyment, rather than constantly juggling a dozen things at once trying to fit everything in.

    When my sister and her husband had two boys under the age of three, and I asked her how she coped, she said "You just have to be ruthless; caring for the boys, feeding them, and making sure they have clean clothes is vital - dusting can wait!"
  12. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I do 'see' the above point and yes comiment and delivery are important features required from band members but the above route seems a bit binary to me, an all or nothing approach - sorry if I've misunderstood.

    IMHO there is more to being in a band than attending particular rehearsals and playing in particular contests or even 'just' concerts - I'm not saying that those things aren't important or that players shouldn't volunteer to stand back when they can't commit to some event. It will vary between bands and individuals but band membership is also about belonging to a group that also has a social and intersupportive aspect. I view my fellow band members as friends as well as players, and when friends are going through difficulties my typical action is to (try to) be supportive.

    Life changes for us all and at times we can't commit to the full range of things that our band wants to do - the practicality of that range of things is a separerate but associated issue. Serious illness, elder care commitments, long hours at work and long periods spent working away from home happen and likewise childbirth and being effectively housebound with little children can stop band attendance too; those in such situations still need the support of their friends and may well value the chance of an occasional blow and later return to their familiar band. There are many long term factors for both player and band to be considered and then managed.

    Of course for a contest an able and committed team needs to be in place but, IMHO and outside of such events, a band (as an organisation) isn't limited in numbers to those twenty seven or so players and should seek to retain both past (dormant) or now part time members with a view to recognising their earlier contributions and a hope - whether it be to their old or some other seat - for their full time return at some future date.

    I wouldn't want to divert the thread too far away from the original post, but rather answer Jack's point. Commitment is a two way street, and taking a broad long-term view of events and your band's future has its merits.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  13. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Second Tenor: if my post came across as though I saw it as an "all or nothing" situation, where anyone who couldn't make a 100% commitment should clear off, I apologise; that was not my intention at all.

    I'm sure that many people are in the same situation as some of my friends - who have commitments with childcare, shift work, and so on - but who still make a valuable contribution to the band, and who always have the courtesy to keep the MD informed when they will not be able to attend.

    But, equally, I've known people who have been stalwart players in their band for decades, who have realised that their non-band commitments are such that they can no longer play an active role in the band - and, rather than continually miss out on personal practises, and be unable to attend band practises and concerts, they are sensible enough to admit it, and pull out.

    I'd be the last one to turn my back on anyone who made such a decision; I had to make a similar choice when I realised I no longer had the staying power to keep working as a steam loco fireman. It was a wrench to walk away, as I'd put decades of study and practise into developing the knowledge and the skills to do the job well, but I knew that, physically, I wasn't up to it any more.

    I hope this makes it clear, and that I did not cause you (or anyone) any offence.

    Jack E.
    2nd tenor likes this.
  14. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    A different perspective would be to look at the problem from a players point of view and the reasons behind missing rehearsals

    A while ago I used to play for two bands but when life hit a rocky patch rehearsals suddenly became low on my priorities and I would go missing for weeks on end. From one band I received texts asking if everything was ok and telling me I was missed. The first contact from the other was to demand the jacket back

    With a little friendly encouragement I started playing again for the first band and now rarely miss a rehearsal
  15. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I hope life is running more smoothly now. :)
  16. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    Thanks Mesmerist, life is good now but I still can't seem to escape the backrow - just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!
    2nd tenor and Mesmerist like this.
  17. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Ha ha. Tell them you want to go to the dark side and pick up a baritone :)
    mikelyons likes this.
  18. David Evans

    David Evans Active Member

    Oh Mesmerist, you know how to wound. Perhaps in future we should refer to it as a Hornbostel-Sachs classification 423.232, a semi-conical valved aerophone sounded by lip movement.
    Now that will impress the back row.
    mikelyons and Mesmerist like this.
  19. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Never mind David I have a supply of baritone sized plasters to soothe the wounds.

    Nothing impresses the back row. Nothing. Actually *squeals a little in excitement* we got 2 "too loud"s last night AND...wait for the solo cornets - "COPY THE BACKROW" as we nailed the required style in Renaissance. I melted with happiness. Dated the moment on my part too.
    Slider1, mikelyons and toptutti like this.
  20. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    So many long words, I have enough trouble with my ABC's when keeping the pad in order
    mikelyons and Euphonium Lite like this.

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