The importance of contests?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by HornPlayerMK, May 25, 2011.

  1. HornPlayerMK

    HornPlayerMK Member

    Hi Everyone

    I'm doing a bit of research into brass band contesting and the importance of it (or unimportance of it depending on your opinion). I'd be really interested to hear people's views for or against contesting, why we do it, how you believe it benefits (or damages) brass banding and any other views you have on this subject.

    Just to get the ball rolling, I believe that a huge benefit of contesting is that it's one of the main reasons why the standard of playing has remained so high for all these years, despite the lack of sponsorship, fewer players getting paid now and having full time jobs doing something other than playing etc.

    Many non-brass banders don't understand contesting - music is for enjoyment, it shouldn't be a competition - is one comment I've heard.

    I'd be really interested to hear your opinion whichever side of the fence you sit on!
  2. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

  3. Euphgit

    Euphgit Member

    I'll summarise my opinions:-

    A) Far too many bands are too fixated on contesting. Playing standards may be high because of it but because they concentrate on competing they forget how to put on a good concert. How many people play in a band who get good results on the contest stage but whenever they do a concert its straight back to playing the tired old favourites?

    B) The contesting system needs a major revamp. It would not be impossible to bring about a system where contesting not only improves playing standards but it also helps bands learn and improve their ''entertainment'' skills
  4. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    The average punter who is sitting in a deckchair at a seaside bandstand or is in your audience at the annual Christmas concert or is at the local fete really couldn't give a **** where you were placed at the regional contest.
    The benefit of contesting is the work that goes into preparing the piece and as EuphGit says, improving the standard. And on that basis the focus on rules and regulations around getting on to a contest stage don't stand up. In fact, they do the opposite as they remove people from the learning process.
  5. HornPlayerMK

    HornPlayerMK Member

  6. hannah-griffin

    hannah-griffin New Member

    Sorry to but in on your thread, but I'm new to theMouthPiece and cannot figure out how to create new post myself. I have done it once before so I know it's possible on my log in but cannot remember how I did it?!

    Help anyone pleasE?

  7. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Hannah, I think you mean a new thread, as you've just created a new post. PM sent.
  8. HertzVR

    HertzVR New Member

    Whilst I have never contested or have the desire to, there is something else that drives bands to improve; simple pride. Surely having a group of people who care sufficiently about the band, taking pride in any appearance from a village fete to a concert hall is the mark of a band who want to improve.

    Having admittedly, again, worked under a small selection of MD, I can honestly say I have improved the most, and enjoyed the most, working for those who put the quality of the sound above simple adherence to what is on the paper.
  9. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    I am not a contester either, but I do recall a difference be made between a hobby and a sport, this can apply to almost any activity, but the hobbyist does it for enjoyment and pleasure, the sportsman does it to compete against others and himself, driven by the need to continually improve the performance, heading toward, but never quite acheiving some sort of perfection, and doing it with levels of obsession that might leave some of us wondering (for example, you know how some eilte cyclists shave their legs to improve their times- what is the banding eqivalent?)
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Buying a new bell for your bass trombone that is identical in all respects to the old one but is made out of a different metal? Similar levels of difference...

    There's a big overlap between your two categories - there's enjoyment and pleasure to be had in striving to improve oneself. We all have our own particular mix of the 'amateur' and the 'professional' within us in any activity we undertake.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    For me it's difficult to imagine what the brass band movement would be like without competition. It's no coincidence when you look back at social and leisure development in the late 19th Century that the culture of teamwork & competition was necessary to try and educate and discipline the ever growing industrial population and empire. Sports, games, hobbies, and therefore rules, were introduced to measure individual performance and standards in society.
  12. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    The beauty of brass bands is that is band that bands have different appoaches. If you want to play at a high level you can, if you don't you can. A band grading does helps people chose and find there level they are comfortable with. Some bands want to contest more, some what to do more concerts. Its about finding one that suits what you want to do. I personally prefer a bit of both.
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    That works more easily if you live somewhere rich in bands!
  14. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Yes, thats very true especially in huddersfield!!

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