The Most successful rehearsal style

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MosleyMF, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. MosleyMF

    MosleyMF New Member

    Just wondering what peoples opinion on the best rehearsal style is. Certainly at lower/mid section standard. Do TYRANTS or ENCOURAGERS get the best results? At the top of the top section I assume it's slightly different as the standard of playing is SO high, especially in the North of the country.

    But lower down where a conductor is trying to get his band from A to B the rehearsals presumably need to be fit for purpose. So does the more aggressive style get results or is it a case of Horse to water and all that. I'd be interested who the Tyrants and encouragers are at the top level in the North as a side note as I haven't ever met any of the highest quality bandspeople from the North and I'd be interested in their respective contest results.
  2. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Tyrants every time
  3. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    I think tyrants is the wrong word, and will inevitably lead to name calling and accusations on this thread.

    Some conductors, at all levels I believe, are more robust in their critiques and less forgiving of mistakes than are other conductors at the exact same level. So, I don't think the level of band is actually the defining factor. Some lead, others drive; some encourage, others berate. Both types get results in the right context: where one type might fail, the other might succeed...indeed, some conductors have a schizophrenic approach, whereby they know the players who need and respond well to encouragement and they know the ones who'll respond best to a kick in the ****: it all depends on the players in a particular band and what they will put up with.
  4. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    I agree, tyrant may be a bit extreme. But certainly someone who can maintain discipline within the band, keeping the chatter between the percussion and basses to a minimum and focus the band towards making good music. All of this should be backed up with sound musical acumen.
  5. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Are we talking rehearsal style or leadership style? Rehearsal style largely is determined upon what is needing to be done, and is also reflected in what is given by the players.

    Leadership style is entirely different. That, IMHO, should always be based around sound values, such as respect, nurture, affirmation etc. I don't think I could do my job as a conductor thinking I was free to speak to people in a way which forgot these core tenets. For nearly everyone involved in this great movement of ours, it's a hobby remember.

    Treat people as you would wish to be treated yourself.
  6. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    you missed out honesty, at the end of the day the MD has to be honest, sometimes bluntly, with players if they aren't playing up to the required standard due to either a lack of ability (we all have our limits), a lack of practice (again we all have time pressures from work & family that may limit our practice time) or a lack of effort (unforgivable)
  7. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    A rather difficult question, but it is all about leadership and leadership is about acquired respect, qualification, inspiration, authority, insight, expression, observation, approachability, presence and the like (edit. including honesty - good point Steve). Of course there also needs to be a match too between the particular band’s make-up and history and the particular conductor’s background and style.

    At a personal level I have most time for those that encourage and engage me rather than those who demand of me. Berating an already motivated person isn’t a useful way forward and more likely a way backwards. I look for feedback on what parts of the band are doing and how we collectively and individually might improve. For me rehearsal is a learning process and I expect my teacher to understand the learning style that works best for the band’s members. However, as bands can have all types in them, I think that a good conductor also needs a broader set of qualities.

    For some groups keeping order might be a concern. As I said above there has to be a match between band and conductor. So, to a degree, the conductor needs to have, in reserve, an iron fist hidden under an ample velvet glove.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  8. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    2nd Tenor touched the important issue here - "at a personal level"...

    It depends on the makeup of the band - the personalities of the players (and what they respond to) and what their focus is (as a group).

    A band that takes contesting seriously (in whatever section) as a unit may well tend towards the blunt "tyrant" whilst a group that plays mostly for fun and contests only at areas time is less likely to (or so you'd think).

    Honesty really is the key - a brutally honest and blunt conductor can work, as long as they'll turn that honesty on themselves too... tends to help if they're less severe outside the rehearsal room, too.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  9. John_D

    John_D Member

    I have played under conductors who can get more out of a band than any of the players ever thought possible, but remain calm and only ever encourage rather than criticise. I've also played under those who rant and rave when the band doesn't do what they want, yet can't communicate to the band what they actually want (or how to achieve it).

    For me, the best ones are those who have realistic expectations of what the band can do (which may be more than the band think) and have the knowledge and skills to achieve it.
  10. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Not much different to what you look for in a good leader in any context - you are describing many poor managers I have known over the years! The list of skills mentioned by 2nd tenor is good - add also motivational skills to that list.
    There's an interesting article about Mark Elder here - 20 Leadership Lessons from one of the worlds leading Orchestral Conductors.
  11. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    I have always noticed that the high achievers in life tend to be those with the more forthright style. It is the case the world over and especially in any scenario where there is an element of competition, such as Professional Football or Brass Bands.

    In summary, the most successful conductors/MD's have the following traits in the band room:

    -Maintenance of excellent discipline, keeping the chatter down to zero, punishing those who talk.
    -No fear of pointing out peoples short comings.
    -An ability to keep good players on their toes, by not making the mistake of praising them.
    -A ruthless ability to deal with people are unable to perform to the required standard, if necessary by removing them from rehearsal.
    -The confidence to know that they are always correct and to reject any question of their ability or decision making.
    -Excellent use of their networking skills, reminding players that they know other people who can fill their seat.
  12. John_D

    John_D Member

    I know of a conductor who regularly did this. The band responded by reminding him that there were others who could do his job. The conductor ended up getting sacked because of his attitude.
  13. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    And I bet the band got swiftly relegated
  14. BrassBander87

    BrassBander87 New Member

    I have recently been demoted from principle cornet to baton waving so am very interested to hear other's opinions. If anything I have found that the most important skill to have is man management. It is very difficult to manage a group of people with different musical abilities and stimuli especially when families are involved.
  15. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    First of all, commiserations.

    Secondly, we no longer refer to "man management" as there are also female people in brass bands. Instead, I would suggest such terminology as "interpersonal relationship management" or "Quasi Gender Leadership Skills" Personally I don't know if it is a skill as such, as long as everyone knows that you are the boss, you should be fine.

    Thirdly, lay your terms down early on, be sure that all participants are aware that it is your way or the highway.

    Good Luck!!:)
  16. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar New Member

    No-one has yet referred to bullying.

    Dictionary definition: bullying -use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something.
    Synonyms: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, torment, browbeat, intimidate, cow, coerce, strong-arm, subjugate, domineer.

    In my banding career of 50 years as player and conductor, I have found that a) conductors who bully players soon find vacancies appearing; b) they often use bullying to hide their lack of skill and craft; c) conductors who respect players and work hard find that most players respond; d) band managements do not often take responsibility for their employee's bullying.

    A conductor who I know very well tries hard to treat his players with respect within a hard working, disciplined environment. He tries hard never to shout at or berate players or attack them on a personal level. In the last 3 years, he has had 2 Area wins, 2 promotions, 2 Nationals appearances and very low turnover of players. Players want to enjoy their hobby. If they don't - whatever the level - they will soon vote with their feet.
  17. John_D

    John_D Member

    quite the opposite, they are now a section higher than they were.
  18. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Oh! Well, I suppose that is the exception that proves the rule then! :)

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