This is a party political broadcast by the........

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by midwalesman, May 11, 2004.


Has your band been affected by internal politics ?

  1. Yes, it occurs over a broad range of topics

  2. Yes, but it only gets messy when certain topics are involved

  3. Possibly. I hear about it but never really get involved

    0 vote(s)
  4. Not really. We do have some dodgy happenings but they have involved certain individual players

  1. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

    I'm just writing a chapter on my thesis involving relationships and power structures in brass bands. I have found a lot of information on certain subjects and have a few examples of the political issues that could affect bands in the championship section. I have however, far less examples of political or dodgy happenings in lower section bands. So this topic will hopefully clarify whether political shenanigans occur as much if not more than in the bands of the higher echelons. I was sure that there was a topic on this, but can't seem to find it when I trawled through all the pages....

    What do you think ? Have you come across certain situations which you have said..."I wish there wasn't so much politics going on, why can't we just play!?"
  2. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Southport, Lancashire
    I would say a lower section band is just as likely to have political "shenanigans" as a higher section band, but probably for different reasons, for example player retainer money is highly unlikely to be the reason! And the lower section ones tend not to be reported on 4barsrest for all to see.

    Getting back to the serious point, examples of what causes such things, when you've got 28 people in a room in the real world they're not going to get on all the time. One of the biggest causes of ructions is if you have one person "running the band", especially if it's the conductor, and they take the huff over something and walk out, bands can fold in this situation as players sometimes tend to follow the conductor to another band (and in extreme cases go and set up an entirely new one). Committee-run bands tend not to have this problem.
    Lower section bands also probably have a higher proportion of people who are related in one way or another, and sometimes things that happen outside the band (relationship difficulties and so on) can cause problems for the band also.
    Another one may be if you have someone who's "sat in this seat for 20 years" and doesn't want to move for a better (or younger) player.
    I wouldn't say bands in general are any worse for this sort of thing than any other similar organisation, football club, cub scouts, etc. In fact compared to some places like golf clubs and so on they're generally a lot better!

    If I think of any more examples I'll come back to this post and add them on.
  3. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Rockhampton, Qld, AUSTRALIA
    speaking as somone who's had bad comittee dealings in the past, I would love to see a non-comittee method of running our band, but lets look at this little "for example" -

    Your band has no comittee, and you do a gig, for which you receive AU$1000. Without a governing body to decide how much to invest, put towards instruments, music, etc, it going to go to a general vote. Everyone at the following rehealsal has a say and a vote, whcih comes out 40% want new music, 43% new uniforms, and 17% instruments.

    The following week, someone who was away asks what happened to the money. He is informed that the vote went to uniforms and he cracks up. Doing the math shows that were he to have voted, his vote would have been worth a percentage proportional to sway the vote towards music. As he is a longstanding and financial member, he believes he is entitled to have his vote.

    Says Who???

    For a rule to exist saying he is entitled to his vote, straight away you are looking at a constitution of sorts, which straight away lends itself to the comittee system. So try as we might to get away from it, it'll never happen
  4. Tuba Miriam

    Tuba Miriam Member

    Perhaps one difference in the nature of top Championship band politics and lower section band politics is the argument over the level at which the band wishes to compete. Top Championship bands are aiming to be just that and will do what's required to maintain that standard, presumably; players in such bands understand this and make the commitment accordingly.

    However, and I'm on dodgy ground here never having played in a top section outfit, I imagine there is a far greater range of motivations to be found amongst those participating in lower section bands. For example, some may go along for a laugh and to get the instrument out of the case once or twice a week; whereas others are motivated, want the band to improve and play at the highest level they possibly can. A lot depends on the social network that exists within the band, but I'm sure some lower section bands suffer from some of the membership wanting a more ruthless approach to contesting to get good results/promotion, whereas others in the band may feel that isn't a part of the ethos. In other words, I suspect lower section bands may be more prone to arguments over the band's status, raison d'etre and aspirations as it improves / deteriorates.
  5. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Southport, Lancashire
    This is true, it shows up most if a band changes conductor and the new conductor wants to get promotion quickly, usually by changing a few players. Personally I think that's the easy way and anyone can do that. Improving the players you have takes longer, but gives longer lasting results. And makes for a nicer atmosphere!
  6. trombelle

    trombelle Member

    north west
    i definately agree. im presently playin with a lower section band, and i've family and people i have known since i was 3 years old playing/on the commitee. poiltics are nearly always about personal relationships rather than band issues, which i think make them a lot harder to deal with.
  7. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    Undy, Monmouthshire
    "band politics" are not just perculiar to brass bands. I have been invloved in various organisations over the years, wherever you get a group of people coming together you are going to get personality clashes. Good committee and making people feel valued is the only way to minimise uncomfortable situations. In short you have to use good basic management techniques. :idea: :roll:
  8. jambo

    jambo Member

    Seoul, S.Korea
    I find a band manager in charge of the running of the band, who is not a playing member is the best policy. That way the decisions surounding money, seating, conductors etc are made without the players having to get involved. All decisions are aided with informed input from members and of course the treasurer and secretary however, the ultimate decision is the managers.
    Sounds like a dictatorship but it really works. Just turn up and blow!
  9. glen miler

    glen miler Member

    Politcs exist in all bands but have to be handled far more delicately in a lower section / less well known band.

    If a top band has a player or players decide to leave because of the politcs then they generally don' t have too much problem filling gaps whereas in the lower sections it's near on impossible at times to fill gaps.

    Look at Faireys, if the rumoured trouble they've had happened an the band I play in or at lots of other lower section bands we would be facing collapse not just the inconvenience of finding and auditioning new players.
  10. Despot

    Despot Member

    We don't have a Committee as such in our band, and while it has led to a life relatively free of disruptive politics for many years now, it does mean some doing all the work, some doing none. An if you're the person doing all the work, it's no fun!

    I think the problems often occur when it comes to voting. Should be avoided at all times. Either give one person the job and accept his or her decisions, or at least come to a consensus, get to a point where people may not like what's been decided, but they can live with it.

    But anywhere you have human beings, there'll be politics to some degree.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice