The Ultimate Question?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dyddgu, May 31, 2005.

  1. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    So, I am on the verge of giving up playing and banding and whatnot for good. I think the last time I actually enjoyed playing was back with tMp band at last year's Whit Fridays, and I caught myself thinking over the weekend - why do we do it? Why, when banding is so full of politics and ego clashes, flouncings-out and arguments, bad playing, lateness, inconsiderate behaviour - and, it seems, the European Baritone Player mountain, as everywhere local I might go to seems full up - why do we go on doing it?

    Can anyone remind me why? Is there anything good at all about struggling on, when no-one else seems to want to?
  2. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Getting a buzz out of doing concerts and contests. Dont you still get that?
  3. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    *small smile* We haven't been able to do either thing for ages.
    Though the last time I played in a concert for someone, I got put on Bari 2 and found myself very bored indeed. Which is awful of me...
  4. Nuke

    Nuke Active Member

    how about because its fun. if you dont find it fun anymore perhaps its not right for you. Or maybe you just need to find a band and stay there
  5. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    I've been banding since I was 6, and I've been with my current band 8 years, so I can safely say I've "stayed there".
  6. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    No it isnt. If the musics so easy you can play it without having to try at all then it is boring. How come you cant do concerts :confused:
  7. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    Well, it feels a bit vain of me to sit there thinking that I'm bored and I want to be on the next desk up. Maybe that's just me...
    We just don't have enough people to do any concerts anymore at my band, I'm afraid :-(
  8. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

  9. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    That happend to my band a while ago then we merged with another band in the same position as us and things are improving apparantly, i dont think they are but im a pessimist apparantly... As tubafran said could you swop instruments and find a band that does do concerts and stuff?
  10. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    Thanks for that tubafran - a very clearsighted view. No, I don't think anything's going to change at all - so many people are leaving because they have to travel too far and it's not worth it and they need to work; but then, so do I, but I don't leave because I have guilt. I'd move band, but everyone else is full on Baris, and although I can move instrument and play cornet or horn, nothing else suits me half as much as bari - I am/have been good at the baritone, but am a lot less good at other instruments (mouthpiece size is the problem, I guess). I also can't drive, which I guess doesn't help! (working on it...)

    Far from work affecting band, band is affecting my work, and I'm getting very worried about it. Our conductor quit yesterday, so now I'm also worried that it's going to look like flouncing off, rather than me leaving for work reasons. And I know I'll never manage to practice my bari if I leave - it's getting so much on top of me, band is the only time I ever play, and I can't bring myself to touch it in the house.

    I really don't know what to do anymore... :-(
  11. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Without meaning to patronise here, another thing to remember Dyddgu is that as is the case with all things, banding is cyclical. Nothing lasts forever and we all find ourselves at times on the crest of a success wave, and at other times deep in a trough and despondent about what to do with our band/playing etc.

    Here's what I'd do, a few simple questions and in typical Project Manager style - hopefully a resulting a plan of action... :)

    Ask yourself seriously what it is that YOU want out of banding, why it is that you do it, and what you expect from it. Write these down and be honest in doing so...

    Ask yourself what you currently get from participating in your banding - write these down and be even more honest with yourself...

    If the two are not the same and thus your expectations are not met, then try to determine where the issues are... are they within your band, are they related to your playing, is the deep routed interest still there etc... - again be totally and brutally honest with yoruself.

    Once you have ID'ed what you want out of banding, and what you are currently getting out of banding - you have then ID'ed the gaps and can then if you want to - take action to address the diferences.

    Hope this helps in a small way...
  12. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    TheMusicMan - there speaks a manager!

    I think what I want most out of banding is a band of more than about seven players and no conductor, to be really honest... :S
  13. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hehe... apologies if that was too clinical...:) sometimes it helps though...

    But - there you have it, you have identified a great starting point. Challenge your evaluation... eg: if your priorities are a band with more than 7 players and an MD - could you stomach playing in a different band on a different instrument if this meant you played for a full band with an MD..:)

    If this is correct, then you have started to identify what you want to get out of banding, and you can take steps to fill the gap... :) Next look for more gaps and fill those too!! In no time at all you'll be playing every night of the week...:)

    </motivational speech> :)

    If you enjoyed Whits last year, I'd also suggest registering for tMP @ Easingwold where we are playing yet again in a few weeks... we're sure to have some more fun, so why not come and join us if you enjoyed the social and non-political side of playing last year. We'd love to see you.
  14. Incognito

    Incognito Member

    I have been in that position a few times.
    It hit again this month when I knew there would be no playing for the next three months due to all the things I do shutting down for the summer.
    It is VERY difficult to keep up playing standards when there is no performance pressure.
    Normally I have so much stuff to rehearse I have no problems finding a reason to play.

    Things I have done in the past are:

    Buy some new solo music and rehearse it to performance level just for the sake of it.
    Switch instrument for a while (e.g going from trumpet to flugel for a couple of months) to keep the interest going.

    Even when i have not been playing with any groups i have always kept myself going ont he basis that I might be asked to play somewhere some day.
    Ultimately this falls apart if the call never comes.
    Even the things I do are not taxing enough or frequent enough to make the level of practice i do worthwhile.

    I either need to let my playing deteriorate (and I think i would find that very frustrating) or give up completely.

    A few weeks ago I went to a regearsal and just did not want to be there, and was then slagged off by a trombonist the whole time which just made it even worse.
    I considered just packing it in, but I got out my CD of Maurice Andre playing the Michael Haydn Concerto in D (with no edits or funny business) and made me feel good about playing again.

    Maybe you need to go back to the place in your life where you last enjoyed music and see if you can pick it up from there?

    (as you can see, I take the view that this is about enjoyment rather than self discipline. Music is about enjoyment and the discipline flows naturally from that).
  15. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    OK definitely time to take stock, if problems at band are affecting you at work you need some time out to think about this.

    Bands can survive the loss of players and even the conductor - it takes time but you are better off with a small band of people who still care about "the band" and try to get it back to what it should be. When I first joined my band they were lucky to have 12 players and never did any jobs save carols but a few enthusiasts got involved and we got it up to more than a full band and did lots of jobs - still do. A few years ago we "lost" a conductor and three key players - simple answer found a stop gap conductor to see us through a crisis, did not take on many jobs for the next year and eventually go over that problem too.

    I'm sure that there must be other bands nearby that would not wish to see your band fold - get in touch with these people and borrow a conductor and any missing players for short-term. Does it really matter if you can't get a band out for contests/concerts etc ? - concentrate on the rehearsals then build up to these - borrow players if you can.

    Anyway good luck - hope you don't give it up - think about fighting for what you want.
  16. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Some sensible advice above ! :tup

    It is true that everybody has their down points in banding. I have certainly had mine. I know I have felt (at times)
    1. unappreciated when people complain about work I have spend hours doing for the band
    2. frustrated when I'm at rehearsal after arranging my life (and work) to make sure I could be there just to see others haven't made the effort
    3. upset when politics hurt people within the band
    4. disgusted at some of the politics I have seen in other bands!
    5. bored when the music is too easy/too hard
    6. frustrated and upset at undeserved contests results

    but I think feeling those things is part and parcel of doing something that you really care about. The bottom line for me is banding is a big part of who I am. It;s about balance if the bad things outweigh the good then perhaps it is time to take a rest.
  17. persins

    persins Member

    I think, if we are honest, we have all been there at some point. I was when I left uni. I had left a band with a great deal of ambition and fantastic social life (Lympstone) and was going back to Basingstoke for work reasons. I ended up going back to a previous band and was getting increasingly frustrated wth the lack of ambition and progress that the band were demonstrating. I was very nearly at the point of leaving for good but then did the sort of exercise that The Music Man suggested (although, not in such a disciplined manner!). I realised that in order to get the enjoyment back, I had to move on. I signed for Woodfalls and almost overnight, I got the bug back. There are still times when I question the point of doing all of it (mainly on my way back from the 4th rehearsal in 5 days etc on my 56 mile journey) but then the buzz of the contest / concert stage then justifies it, no matter what the result. I now go back to my old band whenever possible and enjoy it even more as I can relax into playing with no great pressure.

    I believe that the main thing is having a target to work towards. There is no point in just rehearsing for the sake of it. Surely the aim is to be performing at the highest standard possible individually and collectively in whatever the available conditions?!!
  18. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    As a Baritone player i can help you i hope.

    some years ago i had a car accident the band i was with were going to a contest, as it was awkward for me to get,i made what practises i could, in the end i made the contest, but at the end of it i came off the stage and just thought i have had enough of playing for the last 20 years,i was getting no enjoyment at all and the buzz had gone out of it for me.
    Just after Christmas the Conductor contacted me and asked if i would mind stepping down to 2nd Baritone i said Sorry but "No", thats just the excuse i needed to stop playing.
    I had a rest from banding for 9 months, but still kept in touch with the banding movement but did not even have a blow at all.
    A suprise phone call came one night from a old conductor who said
    "Ian, i have heard you have not been playing for sometime why is that?" told him why mainly lost interest and just did not want the pressure of it all again, i.e:
    When i could not make a band engagement due to work the secretary, conductor and the rest of band members pulling a face and making not very nice comments.
    He said
    "mate you know i wont put pressure on you as i know at the end of the day your job comes first. listen come down for as blow and see what you think, i know you are the person THAT I WANT in the band,"
    I went great but this conductor left a few months after and this put me back to square one again however,whilst listening to a band in a concert a old mate of mine was listening to who came up and said
    "are you doing anything playing wise as there is a seat for you at GRESLEY BAND on 2nd Baritone, go on come up, there is no pressure if you miss a practise, or you cant make a job at all"
    Well since then i have had so far 5 very happy years playing 2nd &Solo Baritone now back to second , also in 2002 a new conductor and a old conductor& good friend of mine came to take over, first contest we went to Midland Area 2003 Qualified for the NATIONAL FINALS 1ST SECTION when no one give us a snowballs chance of doing any good, and came 8th at THE NATIONAL FINALS.
    We started a junior/ learners BandSept 2002) and i was asked if i would like to be one of the tutors and helpers for them, which so far as seen me get 3 of the complete beginners go on to the junior band(i.e could not even read a note of music or play a note of music), plus i have now just took on one of the parents who wants to learn to play Baritone, first lesson was last Thursday Evening, they said they were most impressd with my approach towards teaching and cant wait till the next lesson with me:biggrin: .
    So my advice to you is
    DONT THINK IT IS ALL OVER.There is something round the corner for us if we are prepared for that bit of luck.
    Plus i m also the bands Publicity Officer as well and up until last year was Band Manager.
    So just stick with it please as we dont want players to give up.:clap:
  19. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    Erk. That is currently what we are at right now, have been for well over a year and a bit, and I have been one of the core people who still care and still want to make it work, right up to now. And I still care and I still want to make it work, but I am all out of ideas, and if we're all out of players, then I don't know what else to do except stop...
  20. Dyddgu

    Dyddgu Member

    Ian, thank you very much for all your messages of support. I'm trying to cling on to that last scrap of hope right now. All this would be a lot easier if everything didn't happen on the one day (why does everyone rehearse on a Thursday, which clashes with my martial arts class...) or happen too far for me to get to. I guess at least people know you can play, I've never been the person that people ask to dep for things. I think I am going to have to step away, and hope that I can carry on practicing at home as you advise. Thanks :)