Where are all the conductors going?!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Sharpy, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Sharpy

    Sharpy Member

    Once again my band finds itself in the position of having no Resident Conductor. This has been the situation since October when our last one got a better offer and left. There was no animosity involved as the band really respected him and were pleased with the way he had taken the band forward in the short time he'd been with the band.

    But since then we have struggled to find a replacement. Some have come to try for the position, but the band felt that although the applicants we had had were very good, they didn't quite seem to gel or didn't seem to have the abilities to take the band into the Championship section.

    So the commitee and myself have been ringing up various conductors in Scotland to take us for rehearsals, concerts and contests. This is fine but we would like some continuity and its costing us an arm and a leg!!!

    We had a full band for the areas and a good result considering our situation. But I'm worried our band will go downhill if we don't get a conductor soon. But the problem is there seems to be a severe lack of conductors in Scotland! And we're not the only band in our section looking.

    Anyone got any suggestions?! I'm really starting to get fed up of every week ringing up all the conductors I know and asking them if they will take the band for a rehearsal and its affecting the bands moral. HELP!!!!!!!!!
  2. cornetcheese

    cornetcheese Member

    If you want, I've got loads of conductors' numbers on my phone if you would like them? You've probably tried most of them, but if you give me your email, I can send them all to you in that format.

    There is definately a conductor shortage just now, but I think that's been the case for some time. If it wasn't for that shortage, for example, I don't think I'd have been taken on as MD at Bathgate (then 1st section) when I was 18! Although it means there's no shortage of work, it also means that many bands are placed in a very difficult decision - even close to the regionals, I ended up getting calls for bands looking for someone to take them. I can only imagine how many calls someone vastly more experienced than me like Allan Ramsay/Raymond Tennant must get!
  3. Borfeo

    Borfeo Member

    I can sympathise with you totally regarding this situation. With Broxburn Public and now B & L, I know that finding a resident conductor that pleases the band and mixes with the bands ambition is hard indeed.

    I think there's a tendency to rely on the "tried and tested" conductors though, and what that is doing is leaving a gap in experience, where some conductors aren't getting the breaks to bridge the gap that exists. There are excellent conductors around that have perhaps not been given the opportunity to show what they can do at a higher level, off the top of my head I can think of about 5-6 names that come into that category.

    As a band manager I would be willing to take on a younger conductor and combine them with an experienced pro, if there was clear potential in the younger conductor then it may not be the risk that it first seems, the harder part would be finding the right candidate. It's only the fact that it isn't a "sure thing" that would worry me, but then who else do you go for? It's a trickyu business for sure.
  4. you guys are makin me wish i was in scotland now, lol, im currently learning the art of conducting at the band studies course at accrington and rossendale college and im really enjoying it. my aim in the fairly near future would be for me to conduct a 4th section band and take them to the area, and ultimately gettin a good respectable result. i live in west yorkshire and theres loadsa bands here within 20miles from me but the problem is most of them have conductors already, and with me also having my playing commitments it makes my situation even harder to try and find a band to conduct, my arranging tutor alan fernie conducts jedforest up in scotland at the mo so if anyone has got alans number then perhaps he might know of some conductors in your area, hope this is helpful info for you and good look in findin md's for all your bands, cyaround, CliVE! :D(2nd trom., Lindley Band)
  5. Sharpy

    Sharpy Member

    Thing is Ive actually studied conducting so I should be putting myself forward, but Im not sure how the band would react to me trying out for the job. I want to do some more conducting because I really enjoy it but want to get a lower section band first. Mainly because, they wont know me and I think the challenge to get them to play well would be more.

    Or am I just being a big wuss?!
  6. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Or am I just being a big wuss?!

    You should at least try - if they don't think you're good enough, then you've tried. If you don't even attempt then you've failed yourself...

    Go for it! :tup
  7. Borfeo

    Borfeo Member

    Again, you are having the same problems as me. Actually come to think of it, you and me are like twins or something.

    Both studied at Salford

    Both play trombone

    Both studied Conducting with Newsome and King

    Both play in 1st section bands

    Both trying to break into conducting.


    I've taken B & L on the odd occassion, and Broxburn Public before that, and the respect factor is something to consider. People are more relaxed with you in these situations, but it's a case of, give them an inch and they'll take a mile........it's not easy to draw the line between player and conductor with people you've worked with for years.

    Personally, I wouldn't take my own band unless I had full repsect, it would be impossible without it!
  8. Borfeo

    Borfeo Member

    Oh, and I would advocate taking on a 4th/3rd section band, I landed on my feet with Newlands, they qere in a bad way when I started with them but they are hard working and the rewards have been well documented, 4th in the 3rd section was a pipe dream even 6 months ago!

    Plenty of lower section bands out there, keep your ear to the ground and grab the first opportunity you get! Scottish banding is crying out for more young conductors!
  9. SteveDunster

    SteveDunster New Member


    Ask a few important opinion formers first - to make sure that your standing in the band would cope with it (sorry don't know you myself), but you may well find what is MOST IMPORTANT to most of the band - is to have a conductor for all the jobs and rehearsals. There is nothing worse than having no conductor and having to cancel rehearsals - the end of the band is near!

    Once they've got at least somebody taking the band on a regular basis - they may well decide they want somebody different, but at least you will have established some kind of reputation with them as a conductor (good or bad!).

    Be warned - it can be a hard thing conducting a band you play in. It can be a harder thing sitting back down with them afterwards - depending on what happened.

    If you do have some time leading your band - it will prove useful when eventually you audition for that 4th Section band you wanted. But not every conductor starts in the 4th Section - so make the most of every opportunity, including this one, and I wish you all the best

  10. cornetcheese

    cornetcheese Member

    It's always very difficult to conduct a band you have been in as a player! Before I came to Glasgow, I was resident at Bon-Accord Silver for a short spell, while I was playing with them (after 6 years there!) and the band seemed perhaps too relaxed in the situation and I had some difficulty with some of the older players (particularly the ones who were brass instructors)!

    That said, I'm taking Clydebank Burgh band at the moment, after having played with them for a few months beforehand and I have had no problems at all, with a good level of respect and excellent rehearsal discipline. This could just be as I didn't play with them for long before conducting them though!

    I've sent you an email with loads of numbers on it - I hope it is useful. It also includes a number for a great young conductor by the name of Mark Bell who is commenting on this thread....
  11. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    What about trying school music teachers in the area, maybe they would fancy giving it a go just to keep the band going, if your struggleling? Then again maybe your band doesnt want to feel back at school, ;) maybe a daft suggestion, cos I know your higher up than us and they might not be the right person for the Champ/1st stuff, but it kept us going for a while! ;)

    What about applying for a "tuition" grant to pay to get somebody in, I think we're in the process of doing that again, so we can get Craig Anderson down more often than he is, so it doesnt cost the band too much, Im running out of fund raising ideas! Tho we might be different from the grant side of it, as its mostly school kids thats in our band, so not sure! I know that idea is not really helping in getting somebody in, but mite be worth a try and it maybe help your band finacially!

    We really havent a proper Resident Conductor either since big Gordon Evans left in 2003, we were stuck for about 6 months before the school got another teacher (Rob Farmer, think he was Wingates' Flugal a while ago) We managed to convince him to take us, but moved onto Inverness after 6 months to carryon with his teaching. After each of them left, it was our 1st Baritone player (Teenibean on tMP) thats has taken over, to keep things going. She has had no conducting experience at all, but is managing fine and along with my shouting, we seem to keep everybody going (sometimes!) for general note-bashing and concerts!!

    We have been very lucky in having Craig Anderson work with us, he's nearly down once a month or so, (obisouly more if nearer contests) to take the band and sometimes spends a couple of days doing private lessons with the kids as well when hes down. He has been a great help to us and dont know what we'd have done without him. We've had a few others down to help as well, and help from another music techer at times but its the travelling distance thats really against us I think too. I know hes said there is a shortage of getting somebody to take bands in Scotland.

    Anyway hope something turns up soon! :)
  12. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Yes Sharpy, you are being a big wuss :)

    Seriously though we had the same problem just before the areas when the conductor we had booked got a better offer. I had to phone round nearly everyone I knew to turn up a conductor who was able to take on the area championship. Turned out well for us though. Don't know if you've tried Gavin Lindsay before but our experience of working with him was entirely positive. I believe he is only taking Johnstone at present. Give me a call if you need a number.
  13. Sharpy

    Sharpy Member

    Thanks for all the posts guys, its been a great help. Im seriously thinking about doing some more conducting after viewing a couple of threads!!
  14. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    You should do, after all that is what you studied at university after all ;-) There is no harm in applying to conduct Clackmannan, it would get you back in front of a band.

    The EU brass band is still in the pipeline, I've been struggling to find a rehearsal venue, but hopefully there will be a breakthrough soon :)
  15. Sharpy

    Sharpy Member

    Let me know when your ready for your first rehearsal Craig and Ill be there!!

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