should a conductor stay if you drop

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by eckyboy, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    Just wanted to know if a conuctor should stay on after a band drops a section or give him or her a year to bring the band back up.Should be topical with the areas coming up.
    Should the ship tighten and make sure the result happens the next year or carry on regardless.
  2. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member


    Unless we're talking of the Dyke or Grimey, then fine, sack the conductor, but in lower sections it's tit for tat so to speak!

    Let's just have fun and cut out all the crappy politics - play music, have a BIG drink, have a laff! :wink:
  3. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Depends on whether the conductor gets on with the band and vice-versa, and, despite results, whether the band thinks he/she's doing a good job. Certainly it shouldn't be dependent on contest results, etc.
  4. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Why blame the conductor for a bad result? There are any number of factors involved. He is only as good as the band that sits before him, and players within bands come and go for many various reasons. If the conductor, together with the band have achieved a promotion in the first place, then it is obviously a winning combination. Why sack the conductor if the opposite happens?
    Nothing in banding is black and white and everything depends on individual bands circumstances.

  5. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Although I'm on the conductors side on this topic, I don't think conductors should be starting out by saying ur only as good as the band ur stood in front of.

    In my experience, conducting is the art of teaching! :wink:

    A conductor should say right this is what I have to work with, how do I get the best from these players and improve them further. If players move seats or new ppl join or ppl leave, then the conductor should still be able to get the best out of the players.

    I don't mean offence Roger, and I'm sure the ppl at Wem Jubilee will testify ur a superb conductor, but some conductors wag the stick and tell ppl what to play instead of teaching and improving ppl sence of music and especially music drama - all music has a story to tell, a picture to paint, the conductor needs to make sure we're all using the same paint brush.

  6. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I think it depends on the circumstance. It could be that the conductor feels that he/she is hitting his/her head against a brick wall and not achieving anything with the band, and also the other way around. The band could feel that they are not learning/developing enough under the baton of that particular person and it's time to move on...

    On the other hand, they shouldn't go because of one freaky bad result.

    Does that make sense? :?

  7. markyboy

    markyboy Member

    I would have to agree with Dave that a conductor shouldn't have to be replaced just because a Band gets relegated.
    There are lots of other aspects to look at rather than contest results. A conductor may well have inherated some low placings from previous years which is not his or her fault.
    If everything else is going well and the band is making progress in the long term, stick with the person you have.
    A good example would be Billy Rushworth at Carlton Main. They were last at The 'Open' and were relegated, but stuck with him and won the Grand Shield and bounced back.
  8. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I'm in partial agreement here, a lot of what the players will play will depend on how the conductor interprets the music him/herself and requests of them, and how well they can beat time (to be easy to follow) and a variety of other factors ranging to whether the conductor can inspire the band to success or disgust/bore them to failure.

    A conductor is like the knowledgable spectator listening intently who hears everything, not just what the, say, euphoniums are doing (since most players will have a fair amount of concentration on the part in front of them).

    But as I said before, an MD/conductors place in a band must not be dependent on contest results.

    In a recent contest with my band, our conductor inspired us to play our best and worked us hard on small parts of the music, bringing th overall standard up. We went into the contest full of confidence and with a small chance of winning. We came 9th out of 11 (it turned out we were 3points off 3rd and we had some fairly harsh adjudication mind) ... but it's not as though we are not confident for the Areas, since our conductor was able to draw positives from the playing and we know we were capable of much more.

    I don't think a new conductor would have done us any good ...
  9. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    yeah, sack them, and have contracts taken out on them for destroying your lives forever!

    come on, have a break... there really are more important things in this world!
  10. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    On the flip side of the coin I personally think a band is only as good as their conductor and often that is what holds them back. :roll:
    You have to remember it's the effort that the players put in for free and not the well paid conductor(dont know what the going rate is or if some are free but its the marches etc that pay for them)
    eg;£200 for a 3 hour gala(enjoyable)-18-24 players
    £40 for 1 and 1/2 hours conductors fees(guessing at the rate or section)
    The band does 2 per month just to pay the conducror--(works out at £220 for an 8 hour shift)
    good rate of pay if you can get it-£1000 per week pro rata so I dont think I'm beimg nasty when saying conductors should de accountable for results(please inform me because my rates are maybe not correct)
    Im not meaning MD's rates but ordinary bands
  11. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Sometimes a band may lose only because of disagreements in interpretation, so are you gonna sack your maestro because he doesn't think exactly the same as the Big Guy???
  12. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Depends on the circumstances.

    If you get a bad placing based on the conductors interpretation and its only the 1st time he has been slated for that it could be a one off. If however he is consistently slated for it, thats a different matter.

    As others have stated the conductor may have inherited some bad results in the past. So therefore the band may need to go backwards to go forwards.

    If its a bad result and the band dont like the conductor, well then watch numbers at rehearsals drop and then make your decision.
  13. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Alec, the MU say the current rate is £150 per hour for conductors :wink: Although I don't think bands could afford that!

    A band has to be sensible enough to choose a conductor. If he is crap and cannot conduct to save himself then this reflects poorly on the band and that they think makes and is a good conductor. Remember the band hired him in the first place, so the band should know in advance what quality thier getting.

    A superb conductor can TEACH players to be better performers and overall musicians. Note the word teach. That is the word that fixes problems, thankfully us who are trained (if only a little) have had this word hammered down our throats :wink:

    A limitiation in the players ability does not mean that he/she will be a less than adequate player, it just means the conductor has to use his skill to get the best out of the player.

    Conductors deserve every penny they earn, it may look like stick wagging (mind u for some, that's all it is!) but it's a very unqiue skill to do properly. Aside from the fact of baton technique which I think is important (although not at the forefront of modern-day conducting) but u need a good level of communication, the ability to keep ur cool, having to repeat things time and time again, interpreting the music (which is the hardest of all!!!)

    Anybody who belives the conductor is only as good as the band infront him/her, needs to rethink the role of a conductor. And that is a definate fact.

    Of course u do get bad conductors, but it is the BANDS job to find a good conductor from the outset, don't go getting a conductor and if it doesn't work for the band and then blame the conductor, chance are he's a fab conductor, maybe he is crap - but not everyone can conduct.

    Anyhow, lets just enjoy music without all this competition and single-mindedness about being the best band, it really does ma head in when ppl just want to be the best all the time...........................There is simply no room for that attitude in my books.

  14. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Why not, in my opinion I think it's true!
    Hypothetical situation number 1: A third section band engage the services of James Gourlay (or any other big name conductor) to take them to the areas. That band come last, because none of the band can triple tongue. Who's fault is it, the Band's or the MD's?

    Hypothetical situation number 2: Black Dyke engage an unknown third section conductor to take them to the areas. They win. Who takes the credit. The Band or the MD.

    The players sat before you make an awful lot of difference to the end results and as I said before, everything depends on the individual bands circumstances.

    You say that "In my experience, conducting is the art of teaching!" I couldn't agree more, but again this will depend on the quality of the players sat before you. I don't think the Black Dyke players would need much instruction on the art of triple tounging!

    A conductor who just 'wags the stick' would probably be 'rumbled' on the first couple of rehearsals, so if the band hadn't replaced him/her before the contest they've only got themselve to blame.

    At the end of the day, whether you're a conductor or a player, does it really matter whether you win or lose? There's a lot more to banding than contest results.
    We've all got different opinions on the issue and as I said before, nothing in banding is black and white, especially if it involves an adjudicators opinion!
    If, at the end of the day we've performed to the best of our ability and learnt something from the experience, and together improved the standard of the bands we so proudly represent I think we can all go home with a clear conscience.

  15. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    While I agree with you that not-quite-so-good performers will degrade the sound of the band, it can be fixed, IMHO.

    As for double and tripple toungueing, it can be learn't very easily. So for scenario no.1 the MD is to blame ;) if the player can't triple tongue, it is up to the conductor to enforce that nessesary practice is done to achieve tripple tongueing. Bad playing will always stay bad if the conductor just says 'ah well ye canny play that bit, we'll get someone else to play or 'just bluff it' - not in my view a conductors role. So the player can't tripple tongue, the piece needs tripple tongueing, the conductor has to make sure everyone can play thier part, it is upto the player to take heed of what the conductor is teaching or 'putting across'

    As for ur scenario no.2 I'd say joint effort! :wink: of course with bands like the Dyke, it's a bit on the other end of the scale, but yea, I say double effort.

    You'll probably say why is loseing not a double effort......why is it not a double effort?: because loseing (or at least not coming first) say that something was missing, either the performance or the interpretation or it was just played really crap, either way these are thing conductors solve.

    I don't think, however, if a band doesn't win they should blame the conductor, like I said before it's just fun for us lot, there's no need to take it so seriuosly, ppl losing their jobs as MD.

    Let's have fun making music, have all BB musicians lost the plot when it comes to music-making - it's not about being the best, it's being different that counts!! :wink:

    Edit: Quote removed (RT)
  16. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    I thought that one of the best aspects of playing in a band was that of being part of a team.
    Surely if all are committed to working for a contest, which the conductor must be too to put on those extra rehearsals and still make them enjoyable and a learning experience, then a person to blame should not be sort out.

    Would you sack the key player who on the day messed up a bit? I think not.
  17. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    Don't you think this attitude of bad results=sack conductor is just the same as the problems facing football. A TEAM (yep - teamwork ie working together for a common goal) of 11 players go out and kick a ball around as if they have never played before or are all nursing monumental hangovers (this I'm sure most bands will relate to!) and the fans cry SACK THE MANAGER - Why doesn't anyone shout SACK THE PLAYERS, if they'd played better no-one would be calling for the heads of anyone.

    With regards to payment very few bands could afford to pay a conductor what he is worth and don't forget that most conductors don't just turn up and wag the stick, they "practise" :? (not sure if that's the right word) score studying etc before turning up for rehearsal only to find that players haven't taken their instruments out of the case since the last rehearsal. "But, like the Murphy's I'm not bitter!!"
  18. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Exactly! It depends on the quality of players you have before you.

  19. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    lol, u trying to corner me, Roger! :wink: :wink:

    Let's agree to disagree, although I agree with u a little!

  20. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    "Alec, the MU say the current rate is £150 per hour for conductors Although I don't think bands could afford that!"

    How many bands pay that much?
    I think my figures were more appropriate for a run of the mill conductor and overpriced I'd say.They go on about poor attendance but wouldnt be there themselves if they were asked to come free which in my mind means they carry the can.
    James if its not about winning then why rehearse at all.complete week before etc.Ive seen youre face when youve had a poor result so dont pretend you play for the pure fun of it :(