third person better than second

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by mabel, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. mabel

    mabel New Member

    What do you do when your third and fourth man are better players than your second, you know they should be moved but you dont want to upset anyone. What do you do? any ideas :(
  2. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Move them. If you want to progress then you have to take the hard decisions sometimes. If someone falls by the wayside then they probably weren't that strong a character anyway.
  3. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    Personally I'd say that the overall performance of the band comes first...afterall, its all about teamwork is it not?!

    Surely each player knows their own limits and whether someone is a better player or not.
    In my situation, Elin should definitly be sitting to the right of me and I should be 4th man down!
  4. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    i'd simply rest my shotgun on the shoulder of the euphonium to ensure a steady shot...

    you could always try alking to them. If they're worse than 3rd and 4th "person" down they probably know about it and would be prepared to move down if the MD asked them.
  5. McEuphie

    McEuphie Member

    This can be a tricky one.

    I played solo horn for a 1st section band and we got a new horn player (lets call him Dave), put on 1st, after a couple of rehearsals I knew he was better than me but would the MD let us swap places - no way - then I went on holiday for two weeks and got a phone call from from Dave the night of our next band practice saying that the MD had asked him to tell me he was now playing solo horn. This didn't bother me but should have come from the MD.

    So, if you can sort it out between the players and then get the MD to agree, OK. What happens if the person doesn't realise that someone better is sitting below them or thinks they are better than they are or thinks that the position is theirs and will remain that way for ever!?

    Good luck!
  6. grandfilth

    grandfilth Member

    I guess this all depends on which area of the country you are from, how many players there are around, how important to the running of the band the second man down is, and what your priorities as a band are!

    As anyone who has read any of my post will see, I hate bringing geography into it but, I used to play in a band in East Anglia, where there was a small pool of players and the most important thing was that the people most committed to the band stayed for the good of the survival of the band in the future. Also it was a town band and the links with the town made by certain players who were'nt as strong were very important financially, so...

    Having said that where I currently play we are striving to birst into the top flight and so there have been a few decisions made to better the band recently that have not effected the spirit of the band but have improved it.

    In my opinion this is something only an insider in the band can gauge. What are your goals? Do you want to win things or is it more about having a band in the area to play in for fun?
  7. jambo

    jambo Member

    If they're no good then get them shifted if you are looking to improve. Playing second man isn't all about being better than the 3rd and 4th but being able to support your principal aswell. After all, if they take the water in on stage then the mantle passes to no 2. If you have a strong character on 2nd who can also play then you're in business. Anyone there for the ride needs to move on down. :p
  8. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    All in the hands of the MD
  9. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Use a rotation system? I don't know but people seem fixated on the idea that once you are in a particular seat you stay there and never get the flexibility, particularly when you move up the sections. What's wrong with letting the 2nd euphonium play that solo and let the solo euph have the other 80%? What's wrong with giving the 4th man a solo for once and not resting everything on the principle and occasionally assistant principle?

    It's something I've seen exercised in most non-contesting bands I play in, and I think it is something that could be used more in contesting bands as well. Rather than showing how good the principles are, you could show how good the 2nd men, etc are as well!

    OK, I'm dragging a little off topic here so I'll quit! :)
  10. Heppy

    Heppy Member

    Why when you look down the line should there be a fall in standard? Each player is there to do a job. In Tristan, the front row is scored Cornets parts 1&2 and parts 3&4. Cornet 3 has the solo lines in parts and at certain points is scored above the 'top man'. Maybe there are other solutions to this 'dead wood'?

  11. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I have no experience with contesting situations, but in non-contesting groups moving down is often used as a way of encouraging young players. For example, you might put a veteran player on the back row to allow a young player to sit low on the front row, to allow the younger
    player some experience.

    Personally, I was asked to move down from 2nd chair euph to 1st baritone for this season to allow a younger player new to the group to take the euph chair. This benefits the group in two ways: our young player gets the experience of playing the part and the teaching from our very experienced principal euph, and the baritone section has upgraded by having a strong player move down.

    However, at least in a non-contesting group, this type of move should always be discussed privately between the MD and the players involved before it happens.
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    That's not a downwards move.

    In all the Orchestras I've ever played in, sections have operated in rotation - sometimes to my disbelief, as when a weak Horn player was allowed to split and crack his way heinously through a symphony with important solo Horn parts while a much better player sat beside him awaiting his turn at 1st in a different piece.

    There's a valid compromise to be made between the two extremes - whenever I am charged with fixing a Trombone section for a programme, I always match the programme to the players available, and then we rotate within that framework if possible.

  13. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Does the principal enjoy sitting next to the less technically able 2nd person? If so why risk their stage performance being detracted from by giving them a new bumper up? Generally (with exceptions) the front row play similar stuff anyway so if it is settled then leave it be. However, if the standard is hugely different then the MD should sit the front row down and say "I want to do this, any objections?" Depending on the likely reaction of the 2nd 'person' i may even have a private word first to avoid any public rows.
  14. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The young man now on 2nd euph thinks it was :D

    Perhaps it was a bad example, as they are really different instruments. We've also had times when we've moved a strong player to the back row of the cornet section. This usually had two good effects: (1) it allowed some instruction to go on in the back row, to everyone's benefit, and (2) it ensured that back row parts actually got played. The person we was swapped up to the front row was adequate but not brilliant, and fortunately had enough sense not to attempt things he couldn't play.
  15. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    I agree with Naomi. it should be in the hands of the MD. its not for indivual players to decide who sits were.

    if you have a strong diplomtic MD like we have at WEM, im sure they'll sort it out, as Caroline has said also its all about team work, and doing the best for the band, wether it be in a contest or a concert.

    Lets face it, i dont really think it makes a difference who sits were after the principal cornet, 2nd 3rd or 4th.
  16. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    I think it definately does.. but agree that it is down to the MD. If they are not allowed to decide what is best for the band then there is no point them being there.
  17. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Yep, I agree Aidan!

    A band is only as good as it's weekest player, eh! :) mmmmm, not sure if I totally buy into that concept.

    I think principles need all the help they can get, one of the great things about being in charge - delegate! :)
  18. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    I do :p eg.... exposed high cornet parts in unison, 1 split/mispitch from someone who's not up to the other's standard will wreck the whole thing!
  19. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    We've always let the principal control their section, as far as things like assignment of divisi parts, who takes a solo passage, etc. The MD only gets involved when something is obviously wrong. Seating is determined by the MD with the input of the principal.

    Doesn't have to be high - been working on The Call of the Righteous, and even with only two playing the intro it's still not together. Doesn't have to be a split - intonation, anyone?
  20. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    Played in a band where someone sat bottom of the backrow but could easily fit into the frontrow-asked him a few times but he was happy where he was.helps though when you have good guys like that in a band though

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