When Vacant Positions Affect Rehearsal!!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Charmed, May 30, 2006.

  1. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    I just wondered how other players/bands coped during rehearsals when they have a vacant position, and what do they do until they are lucky enough to fill this position.

    The band I play for are looking to fill the Solo Horn position. This position has been vacant since last November, and although we have registered an ace solo horn player who helps out for contests, due to the travelling distance he cannot be a regular player. Yes, for contests/concerts we always manage to get a dep in, however, that doesn't solve the problem during rehearsals. Currently we have one 1st horn player (me :biggrin: ) and two, yes two, and possibly a third 2nd Horn players. Obviously it seems silly to have 2/3 playing the 2nd horn part and 1 playing the 1st horn part, so during rehearsals I play the solo horn part and 1 of the 2nd horn players is playing the 1st horn part.

    My problem? Well, although I am happy to blow through the solo parts during rehearsal, I don't delude myself to think that come concerts, I will be playing these parts (why you may ask, well I don't have the sound of a soloist player or the confidence). So then I have to play the 1st horn part and for anyone who is used to playing a certain part and then switching at the last minute to another part, it is not always easy. I have discussed this with the conductor, because I couldn't decide which part to practice at home (the same goes for the 2nd horn player sitting on 1st in rehearsals) who has said practice the solo parts, it would be good for me. To make matters worse, we have just got out some new pieces that are quite technical that we will be playing for future concerts. So how do I go about learning my own part (1st horn), while having to rehearse the solo horn part for rehearsals?

    For those of you who don't know me, I'm not the greatest person for finding time to rehearse anyway, so it would be no good suggesting learning both parts! :eek: However, I do enjoy playing the solo parts in rehearsals, and obviously it would seem silly to insist on playing my own part and not having the solo horn part played at all. But what, if anyone else has been or is in this position, do you do?

    Of course, the best solution would be to have this position filled! But any other ideas?

  2. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    I'm nearly in exactly the same boat! The difference at my band is that I AM the solo horn, until someone else comes along!! I'm not happy and don't enjoy playing the Solo parts, but have no say in the matter, the seat has to be filled by someone.
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    When I played in the South London Divisional Youth Band I was basically on 1st horn, although I used to sit at the bottom end of the section (we had 6 or 7 horns!) and play 2nd if we were playing Triumph Series music where there was no Solo Horn. Although we were normally alright for weekday rehearsals we did have problems with Saturday engagements, as both Solo horn players had Saturday jobs. Because they could not normally make the afternoon rehearsal I would usually fill in on Solo, reverting to 1st/2nd for the concert.

    Under normal circumstances, I would expect all three parts to be covered in rehearsal if at all possible (and in performance - I was amazed on one occasion to be depping on bass with a band, and to realise that in front of me were two solo horns and a 2nd, but no-one put in the 1st part at any stage during the programme!).

    We are fortunate at Hadleigh in having extra players around the stand, but I was quite interested to see on tMP recently a band asking for cover on baritone for some rehearsals where their regular players were going to be on holiday. Great idea, but not anything I'd ever encountered before.
  4. Drewdan

    Drewdan Member

    our band never used to have a 1st Baritone player, but i was sitting second, but i never sat first! eventually our 1st baritone player returned just before the contest! i think is a position in a band it to hard for you to sit, you should not sit it! although, the challenge will improve your skill and make your previous part seem much easier and more boring to play! its the challenge of it which supposedly makes it fun! and the MD's confidence in you for letting you sit in that seat!
  5. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The key problem with a situation like that in the first post in this thread is that the player may not be getting adequate rehearsal on the part he/she's actually going to play in performance (or competition). When I conducted, I would have a player rehearse the part they were going to perform, regardless of "holes" in the music. To me, this is preferable to having someone waste energy in rehearsal playing something that isn't their actual part.
  6. Drewdan

    Drewdan Member

    This is very true, most conductors i have ever sat under have always insited on this, except for concerts, if you can fill the part, you fill the part, but with competitions its always best to always stay on the part you are going to play on the day!
  7. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    Vacant positions have a drastic effect on band morale and motivation. We are already a euph short ( applications welcome! ) and the other euph is a lorry driver who works ad-hoc shifts. There's nothing worse than trying to rehearse a piece and counter melody is missing or solo line is missing. It also means I have to try and play really quietly when there are holes in the band and that's bad for my karma. Drummers don't do quiet and delicate! (well this one doesn't :biggrin: )
  8. Drewdan

    Drewdan Member

    thats very true! i almost didnt realise that there was a part missing at once point, rehearsal before competition, solo baritone part goes in, and you realise just how big a gap one part missing will leave!
  9. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    I agree with Drewdan. Ive been in a rehersal THE DAY of a contest and only then heard a part that i didnt even know existed. It is slightly off putting and could even affect your own performance on stage. The same happens when say your only rehearsing with 2 on front row and then the night before the contest the cavalary arrive(often in the form of very talented and experienced players) and you can now clearly hear parts you couldnt before. It sometimes can confuse you when you are counting rests and you question whether or not you in the correct place-VERY SCARY ON STAGE!
  10. BA Baritone

    BA Baritone Member

    Even tho we are a championship band a lot of our players are students and hence have exams and cant make every rehearsal. Thankfully most of the band are very committed and make most of the concerts and nearly all contests. But our main problem is that we have a lack of cornets and when our MD is not in this country ( which is quite a lot as he lives in England and we are based in the North East of Scotland) our solo cornet or trombone player conducts the band and we really miss there quality in the rehearsals. If anyone wishes to come and have a play if you are visiting then you are more than welcome.

    Does anyone else have soloist who conduct the band on a regular occasion and how does this affect your quality?
  11. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    Yes our solo euphonium is a very talented musisan and a music teacher so she is the obvious choice to take rehersals sometimes(however much she may not like it!) However, due to the friendships she has with the players there is no where near as much rehersal descipline as if our resident conductor were there. However, she usually looks at different pieces to give us an idea of what concert repitiore we will be doing, whereas most rehersals with our conductor are done on test pieces unless its just before concerts. It is obvious though taht rehersals without an MD are not as benefitial as ones with an MD.
  12. BA Baritone

    BA Baritone Member

    As i said our MD lives near Yorkshire and you are right, obviously the band works harder with him. Unfortunately there is nobody that really wants to be resident conductor at our band as we are so far out of the way of civilization. Our solo cornet player can be scary tho and we know not to cross him even tho he is a good laugh when out.
  13. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    We have a designated "deputy" who takes rehearsal when the regular conductor is not there. Currently, this is our principal cornet, but we also have a few others in the band who could easily step in (including our principal trombone, who was our MD for 15 years). Our conductor doesn't miss very often, although he was gone for four weeks in January of this year.
  14. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    See i think it would much better for our euph to be harder on us because i know i wouldnt hold it against her but then again i dont know what the rest of the bands reaction would be.
  15. BA Baritone

    BA Baritone Member

    Our cornet player seems willing to do it but as our MD is only up for a couple of weekend in the build up to little contests and only a few weeks more for the big ones. So when our soloist comes back it changes the band totaly and with a young band i'm not sure if one or two of them can cope with it. He is not harsh on us alot as that does not seem to get the best results.
  16. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    Our MD has only recently taken up the batonand hes seems to have taken the approach of not getting to know the players that well or socialising with us much so he gets more respect in rehersals. I dont know if its planned but it seems to be working very well. Dont know if thats a theme with susscesful conductors.
  17. persins

    persins Member

    Some conductors choose to remain distant from the band while others like to really get to know the players in order to understand and motivate them effectively. Each have their own style and what might work for one, may not with others.

    Regarding holes in rehearsal, when we have vacancies, we will try to cover where possible but generally, people stick to their own parts. This means that there are minimal disruptions when deps come in. At least that means that only one player has to learn their part. It really depends on where the gap is though. It is a lot easier to cover a Cornet gap since there are more similar parts and scope to move around. With the lower end however, each part is different and so will be harder to cover within the existing members.
  18. BA Baritone

    BA Baritone Member

    Our MD has been really social with the band and knows us all. You can speak to him bout most things and people don't have a problem asking him questions about different pieces. He has also had a lot of success at the moment with the different bands that he conducts so I think that is just depends on the attitude and mentality of the band.

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