That good ol' contest audience...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by midwalesman, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    I was just wondering what people actually thought about the behaviour and attitude of the contest audience ? There are a number of things that interest me about what they do.

    a) They sit there (majority without scores).
    b) listen to perhaps 60% of bands if that. Most listen to the big named bands and don't listen to those they think will win or come high up.
    c) They proceed at the end of the contest to discredit a band that has done really well and got into the prizes, and most would probably would not have listened to that band and so are in no position to judge.
    d) Is it possible for a member of the audience to work out who wins if they were all blindfolded like the adjudicators ?

    Here's some questions for the players :-

    a) I admit I get a rush from hearing people (hopefully) cheer at the end of a performance, but for you as a player how influential is the reaction of the audience to your impression of the audience ?
    b) How do players feel if they, for example, play at the Nationals just before or after a perceived "big named band" and they either see a load of big name "munchers" either entering after your performance or leaving the hall when you get on stage ?
  2. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Not one I could answer. I've not played in a top section band so haven't experienced any 'cheers' or playing either side of a 'big name' band. In my experiences, it's an achievement for the contest audience to outnumber the players in the band!

    Still, I will answer one of your questions. No, I doubt if I could adjudicate blindfolded, (or with my eyes open, come to think of it....;-) but I'm for open adjudication anyway! I've commented recently that I felt at lower section level in the south, that the standard of adjudication was falling, but I still don't envy any adjudicator, particularly when he/she's got to listen to 30 plus bands in the 4th section as has happened darn sarf at the areas!
  3. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I certainly think many members of a contest audience, probably already have the results in their head before the contest has started.

    Certainly when "Big name bands" play (and lets take Yorkshire as an example), so when B&R or Dyke take to the stage people tend to expect a class performance and get in such a frame of mind that whatever the performance may be "it was Dyke so it had to have been a good performance".

    Likewise with lesser bands (Stocksbridge last year at the areas being the appropriate example) people dont expect a good performance. So when they play really well (like Stocksbridge last year) they dismiss it just because it was a lesser name band "i've never heard of them so how can they possibly beat Dyke, B&R etc" hence the huge intake of air at the results last year.

    I have never done a top section contest (will be my first this area) however from lower section playing its quite annoying when all the audience ever seem to do is give a polite clap to all the bands at the end of a performance, as if they really arent sure whether it was brilliant or not.

    Anyway rambling over! :D
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    For myself, I'd much rather have polite applause than the situation you get when a band's supporters seem to be trying to influence matters by going berserk with applause and cheering after what may have been only a mediocre performance. Equally, it rankles when conductors seem determined to milk the applause for all it's worth.

    I tend to have higher expectations when one of the "name" bands comes on to play, but raised expectations can lead to greater disappointment when they only produce a good performance when you are anticipating something special. I am also always happy to be taken by surprise when one of the unfancied bands really pulls something out of the hat. I do usually miss a few bands, largely due to visiting trade stalls and taking breaks to eat, but would happily stay to hear them all if the day were restructured - fewer bands and proper refreshment breaks.

    I do agree that you get a different perspective when you can actually see the bands, and I'm sure the judges do get a very different impression. I would also like to see the box, if we have to put up with closed adjudication, brought further forward so that bands can make their mark by playing reasonable dynamics if they want to.
  5. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    ooooh not experienced this one really.
    My experience is pretty much playing to a contest audience of 3 people, including the dog.. Mind you, it does give one a certain legendary status when one pulls off surprise wins (who was that masked band?)

    Other than that, in this country especially, the vast majority of a contest audience are in one of the following categories.
    a) in a competing band
    b) a travelling supporter of a competing band
    c) some random bloke who wandered in looking for the loo

    So in answer to the points you're making, yes, a big part of an audience is interested in one band, and will come in to hear that band and wander off again. At least in this country anyway. To be honest - anything that gets people through the door for some amount of time is better than nothing..
    I don't think I agree with your point c) but we're in a different country here.
  6. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Some excellent points made by the above, particularly by Cornet King!

    I know many people who go to a contest, listen to the big name 6 -7 bands then put them in order then scoff at the dark horse that breaks through - I hate that. It shows an utter lack of respect and any musical understanding to judge on that basis.

    I think tmp should take an idea to contest organisers to conduct an experiment. Why not organise a second box for 2-3 unqualified 'Joe bandsman' to spend the day as an adjudicator would. I think the results would be very interesting. I think this could be a very healthy exercise: this way the experiment results and comments can be published in comparison with the actual result. It would certainly back the adjudicators case who I think have a tough job and often get a rough ride if they don't agree with the majority. Also it might make the general banding public think about using the score and taking it account that it's not always the big boys who turn in impressive performances

    What do we think? Is this something the growing TMp community could put to organisers?

  7. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    (a) Excellent idea. I'd agree with that and (b) I'm sure I won't be alone in volunteering! (Not that I think I can do a better job than those in the box! It'd be an experience and I'd like to find out what it's REALLY like being in those boxes!)
  8. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Firstly ta very much John..probably the only good points i'll ever make! :D

    With respect to the above i personally think it would be an excellent idea. Not only would this help gain the respect of adjudicators, who dont get the respect they deserve, by showing just how hard it is, it would also as you have pointed out John get Joe Bloggs realising just how hard following a score and commenting on a performance at the same time is.

    I would certainly endorse this suggestion and would love to be one of those who 'goes into the box' thrown in at the deep end. I always 'adjudicate' openly at Yorks areas and see what my results are like and they are normally not too far off so would love to have a go at closed adjudication. Time for you to knock up a petition John!! :D :D
  9. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I regularly attend contests as an audience member. I usually listen to around 60% of the performances - I rarely hear them all because I like to take a break, visit the trade stands, bar, meet friends etc. so inevitably it means missing some bands - this isn't rocket science!

    I like to hear a good cross section so will try to choose those bands who will be in contention and who consistently give the better performances, but I also like to hear some bands who may give less secure performances since for me it's all a learning experience and I can learn as much from a weak performance as I can from a strong one.

    Players need not concern themselves about the effects of applause on the adjudicator - the man in the box will be much too busy to notice the applause and will be concentrating entirely on formulating his judgement and rounding off his comments at that point.

  10. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    I think that midwalesman needs to exercise a bit of humility when making comments about the "paying public" and thank his lucky stars that people are still attending contest in the numbers that they are.
    We would all look pretty silly playing to nobody!
    It would appear that midwalesman plays for a "big name" band himself, with that goes a certain amount restraint when making comments like these surely?
    Ian Heard.
  11. blue_smarties

    blue_smarties Member

    Something else I've noticed is that when big name bands go on stage and one of the principals splits a note, the whole audience gasps! Is there really any need? :? At the end of the day, they're still human, even for the best players split notes arn't inevitable, especially when they're under alot of pressure!
    Just my opinion anyway! :)
  12. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    It seems obvious to me that he is generalising and not talking about every single audience member fitting into his stereotype. I think that "why can some people spot a tongue in cheek comment a mile off while others cant" emoticon is called for again ;);)
  13. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Sorry but i disagree! I think he has brought up issues that are in the most part true. Attending top section contests i can certainly agree that:

    a) people DO walk out after "big name bands" play, FACT,
    b) Numbers are often low yes...BUT are people really in a situation to critically comment on pieces they perhaps no little about?
    c) with regard to the above, if they know little about the piece they are in no position to judge a good or bad position...this is NOT to say that they aren't however allowed their opinions!
    d) How well do YOU think a member of the general public would do in a closed adjudication under so much pressure? Allied with this how well would we, bandsmen do...we all agree adjudication is VERY difficult!!!

    With regard to Richard (midwalesman) playing for a Big name band, this really has nothing to do with it. He is bringing up issiues that we can all discuss and relate to!

    Other than that...think i've done :D
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Couple of very valid points there. I know I find, with a new test piece especially, that it often takes several hearings before various bits "come alive", and you do continually spot things in the score you'd not been aware of before. This means that you are not judging all the performances equally, as you may be looking out for bits with later bands which would have gone unnoticed earlier on. At least the adjudicators will have had a period to study the score beforehand, whether or not they've actually hard it played live.

    I would also suport Midwalesman in asking the questions, and point out that we can all only speak from our own experience, whether that be top section, lower section, non-contesting or simply as listener.
  15. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    At the end of the day, contest results are all based on one or two opinions. People in the audience may or may not agree with that opinion. I can't see any contest where everyone in attendance will agree with the result. Someone somewhere will think it's wrong.
  16. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    There seems to be confusion as whether Richard`s comments are "tongue in cheek" or valid points for discussion, I personally feel that they are valid and my point was to respectfully point out that the language used was slightly less than appropriate-sorry!
    Regarding the topic itself, if people are willing cough up hard-earned cash and watch and enjoy us engaging in our hobby then anything goes! (short of barracking and rotten tomato throwing of course).
    Aidan-you seem to be accusing me of not having a sense of humour or perhaps not being clever enough to spot a "tongue in cheek" comment, I can assure you that I do possess a sense of humour and I`am reasonably intelligent (sorry-self praise!) although not as witty and switched on as you. :D
    Ian Heard.
  17. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    At the end of the day, you have to realise the crowd is mainly built from bander's suppoters. As such, if the applause size matters, you need to make sure you pack a healthy competitive size rent-a-crowd yourself!
  18. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    not at the majors - I'd say over half the audience at the open etc have got scores.... the rustling and flapping of pages in the quiet bits is a dead give away!
    We have to eat and pee, not to mention the trade stands! My husband is the biggest contest boc in the world and even he misses a couple of bands. Is it so wrong to pick out the bands you think on past form are likely to give better performances? We always try to listen to bands from my own area too, even thought they never come anywhere :lol:
    Actually, we're more likely to diss bands/players who we think should have done better! As 4br and this site have proved all too well, nobody ever agrees with the adjudicators anyway, so what's the big deal?
    We usually get the top 6 right, but not neccessarily in the right order. Like I said though, we're bocs! (But I wouldn't sit in the box, even for a million quid).

    My bands just gone up to the top section this year, and its our ambition to qualify and be the "pee break" band! :shock:
  19. gazrose

    gazrose Member

    That good ol' contest audience

    Hi, this is my first posting to tmp, so go easy on me ok!!

    These are my thoughts on the matter. The audience is a very important part of the contest. First of all they may be there to support one band in particular but i would go as far as saying that the whole audience is there to support the brass band movement in general. This makes them key players in the movement.

    I think we should be very careful in condemning them as people who don't know what they're listening for or people who shouldn't be critical.

    The audience has paid to be there and have a right to judge how they see it. Much like the football supporter judging the game after the final whistle. Sometimes they may not be correct in their judgement but nevertheless they have that right.

    OK - i'll shut up now :roll:
  20. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Re: That good ol' contest audience

    Yeh all valid and true points i think.
    I dont think it is that the audience aren't allowed to be criticial, as you pointed out they have paid money and so can say what they like.

    I think it is more the fact audience criticism has to be justified, rather than just slagging off band X or Band Y or the adjudicator when they have no real justification for the slagging off.

    However as you rightly point out, the audience are key players...without them, there would be no concerts, contests and ultimately no brass movement.

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