Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Yorkshire Prince, Dec 30, 2010.
The article by Mr Buckley seems very precise and will be interesting how Paul responds.
I would say that "Bribe Any Luck" (anag.) has dismembered Paul Andrews with his usual forensic detail, in the same manner that he usually dismembers bands performances at contests. It strikes me as more of a personal attack against a well respected musician who has had the courage to speak up against the firmly entrenched mighty ones of the ABBA.
I for one wholeheartedly agree with Paul Andrews that the whole anachronistic and idiosyncratic contesting mechanism needs a radical overhaul, and also that brass bands look towards what their place in the music world needs to be in the future. It would be better done without the likes of (to quote one W.Carling Esq.) "57 Old Farts" blocking every challenge and new idea.
Why is it that everyone is wants to have a dig at "ABBA? Everyone is willing to accept an adjudicator beforehand - the contest won't take place unless there is one - but only accepts their decision if they win. Everyone else insists "We wus robbed". If you enter the contest - you must be prepared to accept the result. Could you do a better job? I doubt it. If you could, then you would already be with "ABBA".
I have played and conducted in contests and not been on the winning end of the results. I'm not bitter, I'm not convinced they "got it wrong". I go back to rehearsals intending to make it better and get it right next time. If everyone won, how would we improve?
I really get frustrated at bandsmen who play their piece and then retire to the bar - only to complain when they didn't win. Yet they didnt even listen to anyone elses performance - what arrogance! I have been to many contests and listened to every band, and most of the time agreed with the overall results. There have been times when I have disagreed with the results, but never so far that my last band was placed first, nor anything even close.
It is very easy to sit and blame others because we didnt win. How about - "you didnt win because you weren't good enough". Take it on board and do something about it. Practice! Or dont contest -then you can't lose, but neither can you win.
I know several adjucators who are also conductors and very talented players. They are not stuck in their ways or afraid of change, in fact they are some of the most innovative brassbanders I know. If you have a solution no one has yet devised to make sure we always get the right result - please let us all know, I'm sure "ABBA" would be pleased to hear your ideas. If not, then stop whinging and either accept contest results and respect the adjudicators, or stop contesting.
It seems to me that everything that Mr Buckley has mentioned in his reply, is the reason for Mr Andrews decision in the first place.
Paul Andrews has some valid points; as do a number of other conductors, players and organisers who invest masses of time and effort into the whole contesting scene in UK.
Simply put: at times the 'input' does not seem worth the investment when the 'output' is an unquantifiable or even seemingly arbitrary result/placing which does not tell you much (especially if you are outside the top or bottom 3 bands).
What we want is a) transparent scoring system b) accredited judges that are experienced, prepared and competent c) accountability
To make this happen we need to get rid of personal attacks on those that are brave enough to make the call for change. We know that there is a difference of competency between current adjudicators so the case for change isn’t about naming and shaming, but simply to give participants confidence that an agreed standard will be used consistently.
I understand that such developments need to be a balance between the established view and those that want reform. Also, we all need to acknowledge that no system is perfect and it cannot stay relevant for ever. The system of brass band adjudication that is 150 years needs to be changed to reflect the standards demanded by those people/bands it is used to measure. In another 50 years, I dare say the system will need to be changed again and no doubt i'll be providing balance by being part of the established view at that time. Right now, i'm think the system needs to be modified and this seems to be majority view amongst conductors and players I know.
ABBA - do a survey of brass band arena via TMP, 4barsrest, BBW, BB ...whatever....get the responses, make the changes, test the changes, tweak the process, adopt it.....where is the argument? Failure to do this will result in the more braver bands voting with their feet by opting out of a system that is seen as not fit for purpose.
A couple of answers...
I don't accept this ... we don't have an option excpet to not contest and this is what Wire Brass have recently decided not to do.
I don't accept this ....I have played and conducted performances in which I agreed with the lower placing we were awarded by the adjudicator. You are making a generalisation.
True, and we should also be able to influence a system when we feel that system needs reform. Not because of one bad result, but because the majority think the time for change has come. I think we've done well to keep the same system for 150 years but times change, people change.
Not sure what the argument is here. The people that want the change are players and conductors ...I don't want to be an adjudicator but if I did, I’d like to be able to provide an assurance that I am well experienced, competent, fair, consistent and my justifications are transparent. I don't want to be a politician but that doesn't stop me voting at the general election!!
Yeah, but the frustration is born out of lack of information i.e a scoring framework and concerns about consistency.
I believe that both Steven Mead and Philip Harper put forward suggestions that I don't see ABBA adopting - unless you know any different?
Well, we don't really want bands to do this do we? Contesting drives up playing standards within the brass band movement and that must be a good thing? Surely we can find a compromise to accommodate what the sensible majority want rather than just saying take it or leave it!!
Not a very clever response from Mr Buckley at all, totally on the back foot defensive stuff which only goes to prove Paul Andrews point (as already mentioned). He comes across as a vindictive old man.
Surely a more measured (and the politicians) response would have been at the very least to say that given this, and the barrage of negative press they have had of late, would have been to acknowledge there is, or that there appears to be a problem, and ABBA will review it.
Its simple enough really and in one stroke disarms the criticism. As with politicians though, would they actually do anything! Brian Buckleys response rather suggests he is not up to the job.
Seems to me yet again that whenever anyone stands up to be counted, and argues about the archaic and non-transparent current systems (ie Mr Mead, Mr Andrews, etc) the old boys network/self-preservation society launches a personal and vitriolic attack on them. We also read of people on here who make comments against adjudication systems, only for them to receive threatening letters from aforementioned old boys...
Surely this is bullying!?
They can keep on running away from the topic, but they cannot hide!
Paul makes some interesting and valid points about the idea and concept of contesting. He also makes some especially valid points about those 'new' adjudicators who should be encouraged into the 'system'.
However his inference that Wire is giving up contesting in some way because of aged ABBA judges is daft. Brian Buckley rightly suggests that it is these same judges who have given them the results to get them to the top level.
Wire is a decent enough band but its record in the top section is pretty moderate, especially in its own region. After the top three bands in the NW area its a pretty open field, so Wire has more to blame than aged ears if it could not achieve a higher average than 8th. I would even go as far to say that its average wouldn't have been much higher, if at all (or maybe even lower) if Adrian Morris and Simon Cowan (to use Paul's suggestions) were used instead.
If Wire is struggling to meet the practical demands of contesting, or doesn't enjoy the process of contesting, or just wants to do concert projects, that is fine, but don't use others as the scapegoats.
A final point, I don't think it should be Steven Mead v ABBA, or Paul Andrews v ABBA....there isn't really a right and wrong here. Both 'sides' make valid points and we should work like adults to move banding forward.
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Wire BrassABBAEXCACTLYPaul Andrewsbrass band movement
Calling adjudicators too old and stupid to do the job is probably not the greatest starting point for a genuine debate.
Seems to me that Brian Buckley has been as forthright as Paul Andrews, yet you don't describe Paul as a 'vindictive young man'. If Paul can be upfront and honest, why can't Brian?
As I said in my last post, both make valid points. Sadly this argument is becoming about young v old, or mead v ABBA, or Brian v Paul......which is totally and utterly missing the point....and anyone who reduces it to this lowest of levels is not being helpful.
As I said on the other thread, to me, Paul Andrews' original comments did nothing to explain or justify his decision. Quite the opposite in fact. Frankly he came across as an embittered person not willing to accept the reality of his current situation.
That said, I agree that slinging the mud back at Paul Andrews is not the best way to deal with this, and equally does nothing to open up this very important discussion in the correct way. I've been a critic of ABBA and Brian Buckley here before, but I do feel there is a degree of people jumping on Brian Buckley's comments because of who he is (or what he represents) while Mr Andrews (who cast the first stone let's not forget) is being hailed as some sort of hero for speaking out. Well he isn't - he's gone about it in totally the wrong way, and if anything has pushed the debate backwards by making such ill-informed comments in the public domain.
So, where do we go? Well firstly we need to stop this ridiculous chest-beating and ABBA needs to accept that 'the way its always been done' isn't necessarily 'the way it should be done'.
In 4BarsRest and tMP as well as the traditional banding press they have the perfect medium for feedback and comments from the 'rank and file'. Or failing that there is a massive Brass Band festival happening in a few weeks with a captive audience - why not conduct a survey there? Lets remember in all this that the players and conductors - ie the people who are bashing the notes for weeks and giving up their time to participate in contests - are the most important, not the adjudicators. I'm sure most people only want two things - a fair and properly explained result, and a voice when they feel things are not right.
Will it happen? I think not. In fact I suspect all we'll get from both sides is yet more chest-beating, entrenched attitudes, and reluctance to accept that another opinion or method may be just as relevant as the current ones.
Sad really, but its an attitude that prevails throught the banding movement.
Excellent posts Ian and Simon.
i love these highly circular debates all around how to improve contesting.
nothing will actually change as a result of this forum or anything else on this. there's no one in the banding world who has the clout to actually change anything.
shame really as i'd love to see some anti-prizes for 'most spectacularly split note' or 'biggest blast', but it won't happen soon.
shame really as until it happens brass banding won't be at the cutting edge of brass playing.
now everyone continue to enjoy a good moan.
Less impressive post by Berkshire Baritone though.
Clearly nothing will happen from your side ....but that's fine - we need people like you to keep the trailblazers grounded - so keep up the good work and be assured that your seemingly pointless posts on this subject are in fact adding some small value
I would hope that some smaller contest (eg Folkstone, Preston, Leamington, Buxton, etc...) would adopt a much more transparent system, publicise it and let the bands show their approval. If bands want truly want a more transparent system, with better (more reliable adjudication), and more useful feedback, they will support contests that take this risk and stop supporting contests that do until other organizers wake up.
I may have to start my own contest just for that purpose ;-)
i know my post was trying to be a bit funny, but i did mean what i said about it being so hard to change anything.
we're stuck static. nothing meaningful has changed in over 100 years. that's shocking yet totally true.
also, i meant what i said about brass bands not being at the cutting edge of brass playing. best cd i've had all year was a brass quintet. anyone who thinks we're setting the pace just isn't looking outside at all.
having been in bands for 40yrs plus, then i hardly had heard of non-contesting bands , these days it is the rise of non-contesting bands, there seems to be far more of them about. Please notice the use of non-contesting. I never thought i would be conducting a non-contesting band, but what a pleasure it is to concentrate on making music for a change, to have great turn outs for rehearsals, to be able to plan and have time for better concerts, surely what the paying public deserve. contest organisers and adjudicators, you are not needed anymore we are fed up of the way we have been treated, and bands who just concentrate on the contest side seem to be the bands who are short of players! bandsmen have voted with their feet over the last years and will continue till changes are accepted, if not contests will dissappear.
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