The missing link

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by marksmith, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    " No player is bigger than the band".
    Has any one player ever made 'the difference' to your band?
    In a world of 'team' ethos, what are your experiences of individual influences on bands that you have played with?
    How did this compare with their perception of the situation?
    Please, no names!
  2. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    I am sure this has happened. A weak flugel player resigns and a new one signs up and a whole new repertoire is now available.

    In my case, directing a concert band, we got a third good playing trumpet and could play "Bugler's Holiday" for the first time in the band's history.

    As an MD, I have seen the opposite happen more often. Someone new comes on board, thinks they are the best, or dislikes the MD and tries to lead from their chair, overpowering the band and making it sound awful.

    But if you have a weak link, and it is filled by a good playing TEAM player, well, that can make a very positive impact. I've seen both happen.

  3. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    yes I`ve known it happen several times. An example i will give is of a real quality euphonium player joining a progressing band when he could have easily gone to a higher section. He made a real difference not only because he played well and band members relied on him and this gave confidence around the stands but also his enthusiam and drive attracted other players into this band.
    I have also observed the effect of a weak nervous principle cornet in 2 bands where everyone knows that this player will and does consistently mess up on stage. One new MD had the courage to move the player and that band suddenly started getting results and the other band is still struggling even though their 2nd man down could do a much better job. Politics eh?... (Not bands I have joined by the way!)
    I think the biggest influence on any band is the MD and it is crucial to get this appointment right.
  4. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Politics are part of this subject. The last band I was the MD for, the board would not back me. So when I moved people, or selected pieces to play, etc., and "old timers" didn't like it, well, they seemed to have the final say, right down to the tempos.

    Of course, I put my foot down and the band got MUCH better, but the old timers just didn't care and so they had me ousted. The band is not being invited to places to play anymore and they are not very good.

    The MD is VERY IMPORTANT -- but he/she must have authority and the band must be willing to listen. If down the road, the MD is not very good, then replace the MD.

    The worst of all circumstances is an unsupported MD.

  5. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Twice, in my banding career, I've been a committee member.

    Both times, despite arguments from others, I have insisted that the MD decides who sits where, who plays what. (First time, I went from bumper PC to PC to 3rd Eb bass.. :redface: but eventually principal/soloist :))

    However... Back the boss, or butt out.

    Has any player made 'the difference'?

    In 30+ years of (lower section) banding - no. I've played with one or two 'stars': they made 'a' difference, but not 'the' difference. If your band is god awful, a wondrous PC/euph/first bone/whoever means nowt much.

    However, these players have - usually - been bandsmen, i.e. 'the band' has been more important than personal glory, and they've played beneath their potential for 'the good of the band'.
  6. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Ive seen a MD not want a Principal Cornet player to play at a National Final as they were not good enough;
    The player was asked to move but said no and walked out of the band
  7. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Sounds like he moved to me.
  8. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    in my extremely limited experience, the positions of the band should be chosen by the MD in consultation with the section leaders
  9. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    Playing ability has less impact on a band than commitment I believe. Behind every successful and improving band there is a core of dedicated individuals who work very hard to make sure that the playing can happen.

    Empirically I would guess that for every hour of playing, an hour of time (perhaps more?)has been expended to make it happen. Also I know for a fact that many players are blissfully unaware that this behind the scenes work goes on.

    Yes good individual players can make a difference but team work will out in the end.
  10. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I think its more to do with having a good core of players, who you wouldn't get rid of in a million years....and any new players that come into the band have to realise that too! Loyalty is more important to me than having the best player in the world. I'd rather have my friend in the band, who maybe doesn't play everything on their part, than a stunning top notch player who comes in a week before the contest for a fee....

    However, there is a point to be made for players owning up to their own inadequacies, and admitting when a piece has defeated them...early on as well, so that conductors/committees/section leaders can decide what has to be done....

    I don't think one player 'makes' a band....the BAND does lol!
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Yep, that's about the size of it - one player in general cannot 'make' a performance, but they can break it. A star transplant can prevent that breakage occurring, if the situation can be handled without ill-will occurring and spreading.
  12. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Me too.....:clap: No room for Prima Donnas, especially if they don't have the substance to back up the ego!
  13. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    If ever a post hit the nail on the head, it's this one. My thoughts exactly!
  14. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Not just bands! On the odd occasion I am asked to play with the LSO, there is a very distinct difference when a certain Mr Murphy is playing. Not taking anything away from Rod Franks, but we all agree Maurice is a bit special. The whole orchestra is lifted by his presence.

    Now Maurice is 'retired' he is freelancing with other orchestras and I have noticed that it's not just the LSO. He guested on top trumpet at the BBCSO last year and the brass just had that extra little sparkle.
  15. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    bringing in a good player to the top of a section can make everyone sound and feel better. moving down one seat can make the difference between struggling to play the part, and dominating the part. in the case of a cornet section, 9 guys all moving down a seat and suddenly dominating their parts can transform the top of the band.

    this effect is probably more significant than the extra quality brought in by the good player.
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    The difficulty with that is that you need to find nine egos that will all happily shift down. Just one egotripper can upset the whole delicate balance.
  17. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    sure but in that case you had problems _before_ said player turns up (whether you realised it or not)

    when people insist on seats for which they are not the best candidate, the only way is down anyway. good players will generally get annoyed and leave until they are the best candidate.
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oh yes. It's always something of a compromise when real-life personalities are involved. Players have an irritating propensity to not arrive at a band in the order in which you'd like them to arrive.
  19. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    i think someone has made a difference to one my bands (so has the absence of others) :) and don't worry i'm not even saying which bands i play in
  20. yoda

    yoda Member

    what happens to the player who has nowhere to move down too?

    unless someone sneeked a new cornet part in while i was sleeping........