why do we do it?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Tubamatic, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Tubamatic

    Tubamatic New Member

    I just realised the other day how much time we spend rehearsing on testpieces months in advance at our band instead of playing lots of different music for concerts or even doing concerts.

    I really like doing concerts and contests in balance but right now all we're doing is testpieces and its really annoying me! I have aked them about it(the band) but apparently you've got to keep the powers that be happy :mad:

    Is there a tendancy to lose sight of why we do it? Getting so engrossed in trying to win the next contest that we forget why we play in the first place?

    What do other people think?
  2. Euphgit

    Euphgit Member

    damn straight, it really doesn't help bands in the current financial crisis either, Contesting doesn't make bands money and time doing test pieces is time when bands could be earning money through concerts.

    Obviously Money shouldn't be the main aim in banding at an amateur lever, but theres no escaping the fact that bands need money

    Personally I just love playing different pieces, and I get bored extremely quickly with some of the Test pieces flying around atm. Some people might do it for the love of contesting, there's no problem with that

    Contesting does improve the standards of bands, no question about that, but I think the balance can get a little.....skewed
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  3. TubaGeek

    TubaGeek Member

    On top of not being able to play concerts to raise money, all the time you spend practicing test pieces doesn't allow for a programme to be put together.
  4. flash harry

    flash harry Member

    Personally, I play in the band for both concerts and contests. At the end of the day I enjoy playing whatever the platform.

    On the basis that these days to have sponsorship is a luxury, I see concerts as the 'bread and butter' to facilitate the band going to contests. I guess you choose a band not only for your individual standard of playing but also for the concert/contest balance.
  5. Bones

    Bones Member

    Not wishing to be controversial... BUt at the end of the day I play for me. If I enjoy it I play, if not, I look for something else. If you dont enjoy the music and the process of music making, then you need to consider why you do it......

    Sad but true....
  6. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    I would die of boredom if all we played was the current test piece. We always have concert repertoire to work on in rehearsals as well. At the moment, we're doing the first hour and a half of a rehearsal on concert rep and the final hour on the regionals test piece. As we get closer to Contest Day, we'll spend more and more time on the test piece, but we'll still play other stuff as well. We only do 2/3 contests a year anyway and hopefully one of those this year will be an entertainments contest.
  7. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    IMHO, I think a band's primary goal should be to make a connection with the audience.

    That being said, it appears to me there are two main reasons for contesting...
    1) competition often focuses a band...raising them to a higher level (and good playing connects with an audience)
    2) the prestige of winning can help draw a bigger audience...and thus, there is a better chance of connecting with more people.

    Personally, I think bands that spend the entire new year working on contest pieces are frauds. They are so focused on trying to get a hit one time a year that they miss several other opportunities to connect with the audience by not having concerts. Just ask yourself, how many concerts do you have between January and March?

    If your band spends more than two weeks dedicated on the area test piece then you are trying so hard to get an edge (once again IMO) that any positive result you get is a fraudulant depiction of your group (that's not to say it isn't 30-40 min or so of each rehearsal the six weeks or so leading up to the contest isn't unreasonable).

    Sadly this seems to be the norm. Why do most bands have extra rehearsals before a contest, but not beforeany concert? Why is it so important to get a full band of regulars before a contest, but not a concert? (I'm guessing because registration rules dictate)

    There are a great deal of bands that run their organisation with integrity...by a majority, I feel have lost sight of the main objective...connecting with the audience.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  8. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member


    Nuff said Mr Walker.
  9. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I don't mind contesting, we only started doing the area contest about 3 years ago and we never had gigs this time of year anyway. Our problem comes when we do Buxton Contest (our very local contest) we have alot of younger players off during rehearsal time due to half term etc. I wouldn't describe ourselves as a contesting band at all, but we spend 5 months at the beginning of the year practicing 2 pieces!! Thats nearly half a year and we have earnt nowt.

    I think it does improve our bands playing, i.e. playing unusual pieces what tests us players that we wouldn't normally play, which we can take to our concert performances. I think now we have been promoted to the 3rd this year I think we have a power to show we have some quality in our band that we can pick and chose what jobs we want to do. I think its a complete waste of time going up through the contest sections if the end result is doing boring and rubbish jobs that don't pay well.
  10. Tubamatic

    Tubamatic New Member

    Bones, I think you misunderstood me. I do indeed enjoy music making but IMO, slogging away at one testpiece after another with not so much as a sniff of a concert is NOT music making.

    I enjoy contests and banding in general but I think there should be a balance between contests and concerts. I do agree that maybe when things aren't right, it's time to move on but its sometimes worth sticking at things and trying to make them better rather than just running away.
  11. Bones

    Bones Member

  12. Tubamatic

    Tubamatic New Member

    Bit muddled here - do you mean contests are an advantage? If so I totally agree and like I said, I do enjoy them and they do bring bands along. But what I dont enjoy is totally sacrificing concerts for contests. I.e. going to band twice a week to bash through one testpiece for four months is not what the audiences would want to hear surely? And its not what I want to play either. A balanced mixture of rehearsal on concert and contest music is ideal.

    If you did mean concerts are a considerable advantage then I agree also and that was never the issue in question.

    Its not a question of whether we do them (contests). Its how we approach contests in general and I think that too often a win-mad conductor/whoever is in charge will forget that people go to band to play music as a hobby (as well as contest), not purely to slog on testpieces all the time with no variety in the repertoire whatsoever.
  13. ballyhorn

    ballyhorn Member

    When I played in lower section bands it used to bore me rigid rehearsing the piece for a month to six weeks before the contest..especially when you can play your own part...The answer is practise till you are good enough to join a top band they can usually rattle up a test piece in a couple of weeks....:)
  14. Bones

    Bones Member

    Contests are an advantage as it pushes your musical bar, but only if it is music that is taxing and enjoyable to play. A balance of both is important. But I do agree, I think we place too much emphasis on rankings points sometimes.
  15. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    What Bally said! If people took there part and learnt it before you start doing major rehearsals on the piece, it would not take months of note bashing in practices where half the band are getting bored.
  16. superjobby

    superjobby Member

    Oooh, controversial... ;)

    It's contesting season though!

    Personally I love contesting season, especially when we have a couple of test pieces to work on, but I think that's because I'm ultra competitive... :)

    I tend to get bored of concert material in the long Summer period, and don't even get me started about Christmas...

    Plus when you're contesting, there's a better chance of :guiness...Which is a subject close to both our hearts Ian!
  17. Euphgit

    Euphgit Member

    As much as I do enjoy the odd shandy, I personally don't think the pros outweigh the cons sometimes, It seems that since September all I've done is two weeks on one test piece hammering it to death, followed by another two weeks doing the same on a different piece with a small slot in December for hammering Jingle Bells to Death!

    It was damn nice to win, but straight after it what are we doing? Another month or two of test piece hell! argh!!!!

    We can go for drinks whenever really, I'm just a little peeved about contesting (mainly because there are no really meaty Euph parts to sink my teeth into!)
  18. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    There has'nt been an EEb bass part to get teeth attached to in the 2nd section for ages. The incentive (or lack of it) to practice is making it increaslingly difficult to keep any level of motivation!


    Steve....2006 area contests...Images of the Millenium. I took one look at the part and was thankful I was playing in the first section and Voyage of Discovery. Eb Bass part was much easier (manageable !!! )

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  20. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Yep, images was the last one I can remember that has been challenging. That was probably a step too far for the second section, but I'd rather have a part like that to rehearse than the recent offerings. :frown: