Should the conductor be on the committee?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by grandmothersclock, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. I have a question about this. Our conductor is on the very small and unelected commitee which causes me a few concerns. If i had a problem with the conductor how would i deal with it because i cant approach the committee? The conductor is an employee of the band,should he even be allowed to sit on the committee? Isnt the committee there to act in the best interest of the band? Shouldn't it be an elected group?
    As you can probably tell, I'm a frustrated bunny!!!!:confused:
    Advise please!!!
  2. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    Our band has a constitution which demands an elected committee of 7 with certain positions (i.e Chairperson, Contest sec etc) and a couple of general members. It most definitely does not include the MD although he can be invited into certain discussions if felt necessary.
  3. eanto

    eanto Member

    Totally agree. The conductor should be a paid employee of the band I think. Are you sure your bands not the Zimbabwe emsemble?
  4. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    How long has your band operated like this? What happens if you have a problem with decisions that the committee might make as you seem to have no way of changing things?
    As the MD is an employee and has a lot of influence and input into how a band functions I think it is a good idea if he/she is invited to meetings and allowed to speak but not vote. Our MD is in charge of music selection and where people sit and what instruments they play but changes are discussed with some committee people first I think.
    If all the other players in your band are content with the situation as it is you may have difficulty in altering things.
  5. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    An even worse situation is where the MD is the sister-in-law of the Chairman, Secretary, and daughter-in -aw of the President, and wife of the Principle Cornet.

    Glad I left that Band and their Committee!

  6. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    It's a bit myopic this thread.

    The simple answer is whatever works for your band.

    I'm on the committee of my band and do more than just wag a stick, which works for us (at least no-one has posted a thinly veiled complaint on a website about me) but I would assume it doesn't work for all situations and standards of band.
  7. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Well, with my band we have a big committee of about 12 - 14 members! I dont think that the MD should be on the committee, because, as other people have said, he/she is an employee of the band. However, the MD could be invited to the committee meetings, as such. This does'nt happen in my band, but as stated before, the MD is an employee of the band and should be treated as such.
  8. Al

    Al Member

    I've never been in a band yet where the conductor hasn't been on the committee.

    Some bands run on the lines of 30+ people hanging onto one person's every word.

    IYOUNG Member

    I to find this topic a little baffling,

    Surely anyone who is prepared to help take a band forward in anyway is worth having on your ''committee'' (horrible word)?

    Just because they happen to be MD does that make them unhelpful, difficult to work with, untrustworthy? unable to engage in helpful debate about the band without being influenced by their fee paying status? of course it doesn't.

    To me this is extremely short sighted and terribly old fashioned

    The success of a band depends on everyone pulling together and making it work, yes the MD might express views (some musical , some not) that not everyone agrees with just like any other member but thats just a democracy, if that happens most people can handle such things in a proper manner and carry on. If you really can't agree then clearly perhaps the MD isn't right for that happens
  10. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    As MD I'm invited to attend all committe meetings, however, I do not have a vote and to me that is correct - as someone pointed out in an earlier post I'm a paid "employee" of the band but the committee do expect my input on all discussions.
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I think it only right for the politics of the thing that the MD should be invited to committee meetings as a matter of course, but he should not be a part of the committee. As has been said, the MD is an employee of the band and should report at meetings. Also, he or she should have input into the music side of things - programmes and players etc. but the MD should not have a vote and should not be an executive member of the committee. All too often this kind of situation is fine when things are fine, but go very sour when there is a problem. It is all too frequent on tMP that we see bust ups between a band and its MD and all too often problems are worsened when the MD is on the committee.
  12. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member

    The general workforce in all walks of life are paid
    The MD is another of this workforce - albeit at a senior manager level
    So why shouldn't they be able to vote if that is what is required?

    By excluding your MD from voting you are simply saying you can make suggestions but can't have a say if we adopt short sighted
  13. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    There's nothing wrong with them being at committee meetings, but I don't think they are in quite the same position as other members of the band. At Old Hall, there was a different situation where the whole band was the committee, including the MD. However, to make a loose analogy, you wouldn't want the head of the school being a voting member on the governing body. If there was a disagreement on something that would allow the head (or the MD) to scupper the vote that could lead to arguments. If a band's committee and MD are at loggerheads, then it's time for both to consider their positions, don't you think.

    I'm not saying the MD shouldn't have a voice, he/she can put his/her point to the committee, but if the committee disagree with him/her, then he should not be able to influence the voting in that way.

    Can we take it as read that from now on, if I type him I mean him or her. Putting all these gender things in is a pain in the bum and very cumbersome!
  14. Flugelgeoff

    Flugelgeoff Member

    Firstly not all conductors are paid employees. Our band could not afford to pay a conductor since it is relatively new. However the conductor should definitely be associated to the committee since their input on music is invaluable. Assuming you have the right person this should not cause issues. Sometimes I get saddened by cynical supposed problems in the brass band movement. Surely everyone in the band should have the same positive motives. If not why be in the band?
  15. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member

    Well said
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    This seems a well balanced way of dealing with the situation! MD maintains his advisory position but does not have a direct judicial role. Personnel issues with conductors have to be dealt with separately so both points of view can be represented.
  17. andreab

    andreab Member

    Hi grandmothersclock
    You need to decide how much aggro you're willing to put up with. If your band is being run in a way that you're not happy with, you can always try to get it changed. You may find that people are willing to listen to you and make changes that you suggest, such as having an elected committee, controlling when the MD is present at committee meetings etc. However you'll probably find that, even if people do agree with you, you'll have to be the driving force that makes it happen. Are you willing to be a committee member, write/ rewrite policies, chair meetings?
    You might find that, even if most members are with you, there could be some resistance to change. Most bands/ committees/ organisations of any sort have members who have their own agendas and tend to get their own way eventually - these people usually have tremendous staying power. Are you prepared to take them on?
    You could just let them get on with it and hope that you don't have any major problems that you couldn't deal with directly with the MD. That's probably the approach of most of the band (and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that) but if you've taken the trouble to put a thread on here then it seems that you wouldn't be content with that.
    So I think it just depends what sort of person you are and how much spare time you have, but if you're still not settled with the situation in, say, 6 months perhaps you should look for another band?
    Good luck!
  18. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Unfortunately, in the real world, there have been all too public examples that show that human nature is not perfect and bands are not always comprised of individuals who are moving together in the same direction. There can be many causes for this and I'm not saying anything about the issues that make bands and MDs part company. However, the question about band committees and MDs requires consideration of this angle.

    If you require proof of some of the problems that occur between bands/committees and MDs just look through the threads on this and other forums.
  19. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Different bands, different situations......

    I am a paid employee of Coppull and Standish Band; I'd liken it a bit to being the Pro at a golf club. I expect, and am given, total control of the musical direction of the band, although I'll take soundings and opinions from the players. I don't attend committee meetings, although I would if asked to discuss a particular music-related problem, and since I'm not a subs-paying member of the band I don't expect a vote at committee meetings or the AGM. I like it that way; as MD of even a moderately busy band you tend to find that you're busy enough as it is without getting stuck into the minutiae of running the band.

    However when I conducted Blackley I did attend committee meetings, and did get stuck into the minutiae of the band, but then there were less of us to do the work. Horses for courses, as they say.
  20. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Another thing: As I've got a certain "distance" from the band I get to see things that those who are closely involved don't. It's a bit like getting a consultant in; sometimes when you're closely involved on a day to day basis with running something it's hard to see alternatives or come up with new ideas, and I see that as part of my job - acting as an objective observer and adviser to the band's committee.

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