Where is everyone? A sad common theme in band vacancies at the moment!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by winterman, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. winterman

    winterman Member

    Looking around at the adverts, and our own vacancies recently, there is a disturbing common theme appearing!

    A distinct lack of quality Front Row Cornets/Repiano, Bass Players (of both pitch) and percussion and on a scale I've not seen before and for such a long period of time.

    I know these themes do appear (I've been depping like a silly begger during Trombone and Euph shortages before) and Percussion has always been a slight issue, but I don't recall it being on such a large scale and incorporating so many sections at once before!

    I am mainly looking at Yorkshire here, but it's glaringly obvious that almost every band (including some of the 'big boys') seems to be unable to find at least one of these players, in some cases more or all (we ourselves are still seeking a permanent Principal and Bb Bass, but for almost a year were short on percussion, Front Row, Basses and Rep with little chance of finding players, so much so I moved from Euph to Eb Bass simply because there were none out there).

    I do know several excellent players who simply can't commit "full time" to playing or gave up and only get an airing once or twice a year for a contest (but every year).

    So where is everyone? What can we do to resolve it?
  2. Coverhead

    Coverhead Member

    Seems strange that there would be a shortage of Percussionists. There must be thousands of kit players floating about (especially 'younglings') in amateur rock/pop bands, etc.
    I guess the key, as always, is getting them interested in brass bands...

    Basses and Trombones seem to be the problem in the Midlands at the moment
  3. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I've finding the opposite in yorkshire, especially around Huddersfield for bass players!! I've had no interest from bands on here. Bandless for the area! And feel I have to beg to bands to let me in even though they have a full section. Whats wrong in having more players in a section? Is it against the banding law to have 5 bass players?? Burbage where I was before were more than happy to put additional players in seats as we had a busy concert year.

    I think also work committments, band committments, everyday life, ability etc is putting people off playing especially in higher sections.
  4. whitewitch

    whitewitch Member

    As the mother of a percussionist (a youngling too), you will find that most kit drummers who generally play in rock bands, don't read music. they learn the songs and 'jam' along. luckily my son had been playing classical guitar for 5 years, so there was no problem.

    also, when you do get into a band, at some point they will want you to play tuned percussion and kids generally don't want to do that. At the previous band he was in, if you mentioned the glock, the kids went white except him.

    my son loves his drum kit best, but he also likes crashing the cymbals, tam tam and timps. it is getting them past the 'kit' stage....and also finding decent percussion teachers.

    and stella, i think your sticking block might be that you are saying 3rd or 4th section. the area you are in has tons of excellent band but half of them must be 2nd section or higher. could you not stretch yourself and go to 2nd.

    also, i would send emails, sometimes they say they have no vacancies but they have. i know some bands would love to have you.
  5. winterman

    winterman Member

    Hi Stella,

    I did invite you to join Drighlington when you were looking last year, to be fair we are a championship section outfit, which I think might have put you off. :(
  6. winterman

    winterman Member

    Have to agree, I know my gang in our Youth Band started out just mucking about on kit, but both of the percussionists took to reading the music very easily (ok, parrot fashion at times) and love it. Also both of them jumped at the chance to have a 'bash' at the tuned, it was another challenge for them. :)
  7. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    You did, I moved from Leeds to Huddersfield now. But it did put me off. Sometimes the further you go up the sections the harder to find players. Times have changed, people cannot put the hours of practice required and as the standards of bands increase over the years the harder its going to be I feel in the top level.

    I must admit it does seem rather strange looking on the vacany list here and on 4barsrest. There is definately a shortage of cornet players about!
  8. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member

    Could it possibly be that the lack of time invested by some bands in training young players is now coming home to roost?

    Bands that rely on other bands to train their next crop of players are lighting a very short fuse. They cannot expect lower section bands to continue to teach young players for their benefit.
  9. winterman

    winterman Member

    You could well be right there, however, here at Drighlington (Yorkshire Championship Section) we do have an established Youth Band and Learners Training Programme, I know because I am the Conductor ;)
  10. delboy822

    delboy822 Member

    Absolutely nothing wrong with it at all, I would love to have spare players kicking about... means you have more chance of having fuller (and therefore better) rehearsals, and you're not having to scrap around to get players for jobs and concerts etc...

    BUT.... with everyone fighting for their place, how do you decide who sits where and who doesn't get to sit on the contest platform when it comes around...? Can create unrest in the section if things aren't handled well...
  11. sbandsman

    sbandsman Member

    I would quite agree,:clap: as a parent of a very good percusionist, who started playing in non contesting bands, moved to our local band, now in 2nd year at Salford studying on the brass course (percussion).
    Although he prefers to play kit, the time and money spent on keyboard lessons at primary school seems to be paying off,as He now does not baulk at playing anypart.
    Some people ask why young drummers do tend not to "read" have a look at a full percussion part sometime. It is not as eay to read as the normal brass part.
  12. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Yes it can, personally I'm not bothered about the area or any other contest, I just want to play and certainly wouldn't want to take someones seat away. At my previous band we did have to drop players, mostly young kids, they understood why etc etc. I can understand it can cause conflict. I have a good memory and will remember these bands when one day they are stuck for players, but I like this no room at the in policy unless they haven't a spare instrument dosen't go down well with me or a simply email back would be nice!
  13. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    I can understand some of the shortage of BBflat basses, starting at an early age - it's not something any kid is going to take home and get a positive reception from his parents. I for one have left the fold of Tuba players a couple of times over the years due to physically being unable to carry even an E flat tuba, so older players are going to have this problem too; modern houses weren't designed for accomodating BBflat tubas, and even E flats rarely fit; most family cars aren't made for carrying them either, so it's all problem after problem, even if you are keen - but what is it with the lack of cornet players just recently, few of the many reasons not to play a bigger instrument apply to Cornet?

    Is it just the modern disease of no-one being interested in ANYTHING showing more and more? :-(
  14. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Even when lower section bands do the training, there is a very high drop-off even among the more talented individuals, and so few players seem to carry on playing, certainly once school days are out of the way, or at best once University has seen them move away.
  15. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    This is definitely the problem. The youth band area is strong. We don't have to amount of players we once did but the training and opportunities have never been better. Cheap, decent instruments, relatively good investment up until the posh lot got in power. Some inspirational conductors, some brilliantly organized bands, trips abroad, big name guests coming down, championship bands have never been so ready to give their time up, (the only time I saw a top player at my band as a kid was when one was trying to hock instruments!!)

    The problem is the cross over into adult banding. Adult bands generally are too busy, kids struggle to commit. The music is either utter cheese or utter contemporary drivel. The good youth bands virtually do everything but wipe the kids backsides so when they get into adult bands, they are often a bit lost. Some senior bands are very poor at welcoming good kids, putting up with the occasional mistake and letting kids learn their trade. They are also poor at letting kids move onto the next level. when they have developed. There is lots of reasons beyond this. Banding is going to really change over the next few years. The glory days have probably gone. The hell the country is going to see over the next decade will probably finish off banding as we know it. But a change is as good as a rest they say. It may lead to a bright new dawn, who knows!!!
  16. Some interesting comments here which I agree with. I believe that we are facing a difficult future in banding, both on the playing front and in many cases financially. Here in Torbay we now find ourselves in the fourth section in 2011, coming from where have in the last eighteen months we are pleased we are still around! We have had players leave for 'greener pastures' with other bands, but we have also had players come in to keep us going. We let our training band go some years ago and that has been a big factor in our 'supply' of players drying up. In 2010 we restarted a training band and although small in numbers they are coming along. The problem with youngsters not reading percussion music also extends to trombone players where today the tendency is to teach bass clef which does make it off putting if a youngster comes along to a band rehearsal. We have been searching for a principal trombone to commit for over 12 months.
    Certainly commitment is a major problem, I know of two graded cornet players one a teenager (lives three minutes walk from bandroom), another who is married and neither says they can commit to playing. In many bands decommittment by established players who want to follow other activites is another problem.
    Solutions - well I think formation of training bands is essential and an opportunity exists now with cuts in the arts, so we bring on our own. Education in the senior band so when the youngsters come in they are well recieved and looked after - providing a mentor may be an idea? This next suggestion may be a bit like teaching many to suck eggs BUT lets get enthusiastic about what we do, talk about what you and your band is doing, be positive, you can be amazed who tells you they used to play, their grandson plays, they would like to book your band for a job. Yes you could become an anorak but perhaps sometimes we overlook the obvious and simple things. Any idea however trivial can bring results!
  17. jennyt125

    jennyt125 Member

    I will definitely have to consider a move 'up country' then! :)
    All bands in Cornwall 3rd section and above seem to have their full compliment of EEb basses and unfortunately there very few other types of band to fall back on such as wind, military or orchestra. Doesn't help either that there are very few 2nd and 3rd section bands down here. :(
  18. whitewitch

    whitewitch Member

    you should move to saddleworth jenny. throw a stick from any corner and you will hit a brass band. i live in uppermill and in a 10 mile radius from me i bet there are at least 15.
  19. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Probably more.
  20. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    You should try FINDING brass players down in the Brighton area let alone brass players willing to commit to a brass band :frown:

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