Slack Banders

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alks, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. alks

    alks Member

    I was wondering how you deal with a 'no -momentum' feeling in a band.
    The band i play for is full of wingers who come to band more out of habit than anything else. Potentially the band is complete, but everyweek only a core of 12 players put the effort in to turn up regularly. The rest come when they want or at what time they like.
    Culprits include:

    - The Bb bass player who turns up 10 minutes before practice ends, with enough time for a quick 'blow' and that's it.
    - The trombone player who always over sleeps and turns up an hour late or not at all.
    -The Eb bass player who only turns up if the footy's not on.
    - The Euph player who promises to turn up -but never materializes.
    - The bari player who doent turn up around contest times.
    -The horn player who is addicted to TV!
    -The 2nd cornet player who's always on holiday.
    - The Sop player who has dental problems.
    -The Bass trombone player who argues with the conductor and walks out if anything is not quite right........its a lottery one week a full band the next only 12 players. The trouble is without the 'wingers' there would not be enough players to do anything. Arggh
    Its really anoying when the 'core' players put in the effort only to be let down by 'apathy' or a 'been there done that, got the t-shirt' attitude that some poeple seem to have(some say that sentence continually).

    Alks :twisted: :twisted:
  2. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    I thought the title of this thread was the name of a new Soap Opera!

    I understand how frustrated you feel, I had the same experience in Gibraltar when I played for a band there. They were a great bunch of people but the "manana" attitude is hard to accept when your used to a certain type of banding.

    You can look at it another way, are the people you are complaining about in the majority or minority? If it's the majority then you may have to accept that this is what this band is about and either accept it or move on. There are plenty of bands like this, not everyone wants to put 100% in or make banding their main hobby.
    If you are in the majority then why not say something? Would it be a loss if they were told how you feel and they left because of it?

    I don't think there's any point in wasting your time and efforts and feeling frustrated, if things are not going to change then those of you who do put the effort in may be better served in a band where you are appreciated!
  3. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    quite agree!

    A conductor should be good enough to keep the 'momentum' going no matter who turns up, though! That's part of his job, to keep the moral spirits of the band up at all costs! :lol:
  4. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    I would be advertising for players to "come and have a blow, all welcome" that sort of thing, normally makes people pull their socks up
  5. greatcheese

    greatcheese Member

    I sympathise, Alks :(

    Same situation at my band only with perhaps slightly better reasons given than watching footie/tv (if the reasons are the truth that is!) We have some empty seats that we are unable to fill but also a number of 'part timers' (i.e. 1 night a week only for various reasons.) The mood round the bandroom is pretty low and rehearsals have become slack which doesn't help the prospects of finding new players. Most people don't want to be there and spend the night whinging. The MD is frustrated by lack of numbers and is limited in what he can rehearse which is a problem with Areas approaching.

    All one big vicious circle.
  6. BottyBurp

    BottyBurp Member

    At my band, I made it clear right from the start that seats that didn't have a full-time bum on it, I would be looking for a replacement. I know it is REALLY difficult to get players but stick with it and don't back down. The band that I inherited had a certain group that would turn up on a Monday and another group that turned up on Wednesday, with the 'core' turning up on both nights! I made a point of NOT rehearsing something on both nights, so that when we had a concert, some players were virtually sight-reading. And now, I have a virtually full band at every rehearsal - it's GREAT! Took me about 6 months to do, but I stuck with it. I felt that I owed it to the 'core' of the band, and it worked. I think that the band has been re-energised.

  7. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Similar story down here too.

    Contest is at Easter, and when I started planning for it, I had a band of 36, including 4 percussion. A couple of the younger ones expressed nervousness at attending and asked if they could take some time off to get used to High school while the older, more experienced players competed. I agreed, knowing thatI'd have them back afterwards.

    My drum major and I plan a rehearsal schedule and advertise our intentions from last December, and some players express some concerns but all promise to do the best they can, which is all I can really ask.

    Then -

    *My flugel player constantly gets kept at work.

    *My Soprano player has just gone through a bad break-up and has trouble organising care for the kids.

    *My 2nd trombonist quit on Sunday as her schoolload is "very hard" and she has state championships the following weekend for horseriding.

    *My 2nd eupho player volunteers to fill a gap on bass trom for contest, but decideds LAST NIGHT she can't make it.

    *My bass players have been rotated between E flats, B flats and bass trom (one guy) and tenor horn on and off for months. One is now saying "hurry up and make everyone confirm or I'll walk." I haven't had the heart to tell him it's his mother holding us up.

    *I had one drummer quit the week after Australia Day, and another two last week.

    Needless to say I was a mental case. I felt my band was falling down around my ears. But the players I have left are still supporting me and my decisions, knowing that I do what I do for the good of the band.

    Hang on to those who you have. If you can keep it together, those peope will reward you by fining more players. It will become a new, different band, but it CAN work!!
  8. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Get rid and get new players or they'll drag everyone else down with them.
  9. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    Agree with Laura--waste of time for the others in the band--always hated folk that turned up late on a regular basis and didnt help with the band prep and found it bugging that they would be the first out afterwards :evil:
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Good approach there, and glad to see it worked!

    I've been in a couple of bands (both in the SA and outside) where the starts of practices were very scrappy. On both occasions, the MD stated he would start on time with whoever was there, and it didn't take long before things started to improve. I've got no problem with people being delayed because of work or other genuine reason, but what really gets to me is folk who are there in reasonable time but are still not ready to start due to chatting etc.
  11. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    I don't think I could be this cruel. If you've got other players to fill the seats then sure, give them a warning that if they don't buck up thier ideas, they'll need to go.

    Although there are some ppl who are constantly late and it can be annoying, but some ppl have life's to lead and sometimes it's just not possible to be there on time every single rehersal, it's better to be a little late than not to show at all, in my opinion.

    I guess it depends on the level you're playing at.
  12. BottyBurp

    BottyBurp Member

    But it's the people who are constantly 3 or 5 minutes late that are the one's that annoy me. Just leave home a few minutes earlier. Genuine reasons, I don't have a problem with. I make a point of starting at 8pm prompt. I see it as a lack of respect for those players that DO turn up on time if I don't.

    A previous band I played for gradually got later and later in starting, so people used to turn up later and later knowing we wouldn't be starting until 8.15 - 8.20... I think lateness also shows a lack of respect for the band.

    A player in my band actually only recently commented to me that he'd noticed that I always start at 8pm regardless. And this has had an effect on players because they are generally all there on time now.
  13. greatcheese

    greatcheese Member

    It's the smokers that are always late in!!!!!! We start rehearsals with whoever arrives on time but it never gives others the incentive to arrive a few minutes earlier.

    Whose job is it to sort out? MD, band or committee?? Our MD must be tearing his hair out but he has made it very clear that it's up to the band/committee to sort missing /late players out.
  14. jambo

    jambo Member

    Of course then there's the slack banders who despite turning up, assuming they're given a lift, then can't play their part yet winge and moan about the conductor or the part or everything!
    A deffinate sacking case here but, again if the players arn't available what can you do?
    Work and death, the only excuses for missing band. I know its a hobby but, everyone knows the committment required so if you're not up for it, take up tappestery or something. :twisted:
  15. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    My local tappestry club sacked me coz I always arrived late ;) ;)
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Were you suffering from a stitch :?: :wink: :lol:
  17. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I'd just like to endorse what Bottyburp has written. It's funny how 'unslack' players become when there is an element of competition for places. There should ideally be the sort of team spirit where everyone is giving a similar commitment - 'passengers' can be very dangerous.

    It has certainly worked for us - average attendance is around 26/27.

    One furthur suggestion: I always make a point of explaining absences to the band: player A is working, B is off sick, C is travelling from London and will arrive late etc. etc. It only takes a few seconds but it hopefully reassures everyone that we have the fullest attendance possible and all players are aware that if they miss for an 'unacceptable' reason, everyone will know about it!

  18. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    I think the only thing I object to is players who have an instrument bought by the band for them especially and they always arrive late or miss rehersals.

    I don't know what it's like down south of the border, but up here in Fife, everybody is pretty much struggling for reliable players in some sort of way and although I realise you need as much of a full band as you can for as many rehersals as you can, I don't think sacking folk is nessesarily the best option unless you can fill the seat. If you can't you're just shooting yourself in the foot, in my opinion, or cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    Banding is fun and is a hobby and more must realise that the late arrivals and lack of attendance is disrupting the band atmosphere, but certainly if I was conducting a band, I wouldn't go around sacking ppl, if some folk were being a little late from time to time because they had to attend to their kids. It's a hobby and I know some do take the mick (edit!) but I don't think instant sacking is the way to deal with it.
  19. Despot

    Despot Member

    I think that statement identifies the problem in practical terms, but also mentally. You believe you can't do without them, but the reality is that it'll never get better WITH them! It's a "catch 22".

    Try to develop a positive "we're moving on" attitude, with an unspoken "with or without you" sub-text! Instead of thinking you can't do anything, decide to attend that concert or contest, and bring in outside help as need be, and go even if it the band is a little light. It'll be painful for a while but they'll either move with you or leave. Concentrate on looking after your good players, and as the attiude improves you will probably find you pick up members as you go along.
  20. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    At the end of the day banding is a team effort. It doesn't matter what standard you're playing at. Everyone in the team must agree that they're striving for the same goal. If you have any committment to your team, you will try and not let the rest of the team down.