What to do with a smaller band?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Cornet23, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    I conduct a lower section band, and we often have multiple players missing for rehearsals (though always a full band for contests - eventually!)

    If we cancelled every rehearsal when numbers were low we'd never get anywhere..

    So I was wondering whether anyone had any ideas about what I could do with a smaller band?

    I'm relatively new to conducting, and didn't realise just how annoying it was to have big gaping holes in music!

    Any help appreciated :)
  2. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    A lot depends on whether it's the same gaps every week and you (like a lot of bands ) don't have a full band or if you have a full group but struggle to get them all to the same rehearsal.
    If the first try looking at music written for 10 piece or similar. The SA used to do a smaller band series (Triumph Series I think it's called).
    If the latter you need to make rehearsals so good no one wants to miss them!
  3. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    Thanks! I do of course try to make rehearsals as good as possible. We have two seats empty, but it's because we have students who have assignments and exams, people with children, and a few people who have jobs with funny hours so they can't make every rehearsal.

    We do have some 10-piece stuff but not all that much, so I will look into the series that you mentioned, thank you!
  4. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    I used to have the same problem having taken over a band which was down to about 10 regular players.
    The result was www.pdfbrass.com - most of the music will work with small and irregular bands.
    Please take a look at what's on offer and feel free to email or call for advice on what's suitable for you.
    You miight even get a free sample !
  5. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    That's brilliant, thank you so much for your help. I will be in touch!
  6. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Please do - there are lots of small bands/ensembles around the world who struggle to find suitable music. I've just sent some music to a very odd quartet in New Zealand !
  7. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

  8. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Its something that seems to affect a lot of bands. 10piece or flexibrass stuff is good, but there are other things you can do -

    Sectionals - not just for contest time. If you have sections in the band that are complete and are perhaps struggling with some programme stuff, use the rehearsal as a sectional - perhaps with other players supporting them

    Pick some items out of the library which don't rely on missing parts - for example if you haven't got a flugel, pick stuff where it doubles with rep. Or get one of your more experienced players to double up and cue parts in

    Go for unusual or difficult stuff. I play in a group which is down to around 10 - they still do a few jobs (with players doubling up parts) but the rest of the time we'll do some harder stuff just for the challenge. Again, you may need to double up parts for some, but if you've got some good standard players they may well enjoy it
    If theyre not up to playing technically more advanced stuff, you can still pull stuff out that perhaps you wouldn't play out normally.

    Push peoples limits - for example if your 2nd horn is the only horn player at rehearsal, give them a chance to play a higher part.
    Slider1 likes this.
  9. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    Unfortunately,consistently poor attended reheasals a major reason why so many players do not play today, or regularly get invloved in banding anymore......they get totally disheartened at attending rehearsals where 14 is the norm. I can honestly say I cant remember sitting in a band where there was one full rehearsal before contest, nor attend a contest where guests appeared odd rehearsal or sometimes even only night before contest.

    Very de-motivating for conductor and players who attend regular, to the point for some where enough is enough.
  10. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    For my band it was getting them out and playing that turned them around.
    Once we were "out there" people started to join or re-join. Having music playable by a smaller band without relying on loads of deps was the key (for us).

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