Why we all do it!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by IYOUNG, Aug 17, 2004.


    IYOUNG Member

    Hope you all don't mind but i'm compelled to write on here today ''why we all do it''

    The past weekend the Marlow Band, 4th section if we did contest but we don't, with a huge range of abilities around the stand has just spent three brilliant days performing at one of the countries premier bandstands on the South Coast of England.

    Nothing special in that some of you might think you may do this sort of thing all the time, but for us to perform to literally thousands of people many of whom came up up to us and congratulated us on such an entertaining programme in my book makes me realise why we all do it. Yes its been hard work organisng a party of 27 players and partners, but as MD I am so proud of the band as they performed out of their skins for me on all three days.

    Everyone has has s amemorable time ah yes - THATS WHY WE DO IT

    Apologies to everyone for taking up your time reading this but I just felt compelled to write

    Ian Young
  2. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Quite. Musical enjoyment is the key, and the appreciation of a big audience not 'sporting success governed by subjective judgement'. I envy you, Ian, but glad you had such a great time!
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As a player I know how much I appreciate developing a rapport with the audience, which is why I am glad that we include an interval in our programmes where we can mingle with the listeners. Equally, knowing how I react when there is positive feedback has made me an encourager of others - if you've enjoyed a programme or an item, then go and tell somebody!

    Really good to hear that you and the band had a good time, Ian :wink:

    IYOUNG Member

    Thanks guys,
    So much these days is made of ''entertaining''the public, this at Marlow is what we try to do and gear our programmes accordingly.

    I agree entirely with you Peter, although we played for 1.5 hours continuously each session there was a three hour gap between concerts and it was great to converse with all kinds of people who had been listening. several people took so much time and trouble to say how much they had enjoyed the concert, together with the enjoyment on the faces of the players for me this makes it all worth while.

  5. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    Hi Dave,

    You can have both. However, with most Bands, it is the rehersal of competition music and performance that improves standards. Concerts should as a result be more musical and more enjoyable.

    Personally, I would always want to do contests, but never to exclude the concerts.

    Lets not forget that bands attract better players as they do better in contests. Better players means more challenging music can be attempted, which is exactly what I want ( Musical enjoyment ).

    Sporting success, as you put it, is the way it is. If you can come up with a better way of improving standards, I am sure there will be followers. However, the contest results aside, most players enjoy contesting because of the social side, meeting other players, bands, getting new ideas, etc. It has a place, and in MHO, a big place in banding life.

    Musical enjoyment not just for the audience, but for the players as well.
  6. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member


    Sporting success, as you put it, is the way it is. If you can come up with a better way of improving standards, I am sure there will be followers.

    Musical enjoyment not just for the audience, but for the players as well.[/quote]

    A better way? How do symphony orchestras and the like manage it? With regular contests? I'm not ANTI contesting, (and certainly not suggesting it should be ditched. I've made lots of friends and acquaintances through contesting) but I am very much against the over zealous competitive spirit with which some elements of the banding world approach it. Contests are supposed to 'improve the band'. Not if you keep getting relegated it doesn't. Not if the MD isn't up to standard, it doesn't. (Not if your PLAYERS aren't up to standard it doesn't) What other musical 'movement' has a 'league table' of who's the 'best'? Wind bands enter competitions (not to the same degree as brass bands, admittedly) but I'm not aware of a similar 'league table' for wind bands.

    Contesting, under the right circumstances IS good for bands in principle, but I retain my belief that music, in what ever form it takes, is supposed to be an 'entertainment' and not a sport. I jokingly suggested in another thread that it wouldn't be long before brass band contesting would be accepted as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. Now I'm beginning to wonder whether I was in fact, joking.....

    Nevertheless, on your final point about musical enjoyment being the same for both players and audience, I couldn't agree more! :lol: (Eeh, I love a good argument, me! What do you mean, 'No you don't!'? :))

    Wibble. :) :lol:
  7. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    Hi Dave,


    It is a matter of getting the right balance. That is different for everyone though.

    I can only talk about personal preferences, as I am a newbie to Brass banding, just 5 years.

    I want the challenge of playing in contest and concert. I want challenging music for both, although I know that some of the standard well recognised pieces may need to come out in concert.

    There should never by a point where a band is either or. It has to be both, unless very rich.

    In my mind, a band that only does contests is not a band. A band that does contest to improve standards, challenge the band with more difficult music, should always perform better in concert though.

    I am sure there are people here that can give the whole story of how contesting came about. However, why and how it started is no longer important. What is, is that bands use contests rather being used by them.

    There are too many bands that go to own choice contests just to win. The music they choose is below them, so they are not there to improve standards. In my HO, bands that decide on a piece that is below the section they are playing in should be marked accordingly. However, that doesn't happen, so a band that does use these contests to stretch and improve is penalised instead.

    As you know, our band does challenge it's self in contest. As a result, we do better at the only contest that matters in the contesting World, the areas. We are also better placed to entertain with music that we may not of been able to play if we do not challenge ourselves.
  8. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Contesting, in my opinion, is really the same thing as concerting. the only difference is your audeience are just as critical of your performance as you are, if not moreso!

    It's the same thing. Intense rehearsals, trying to make the best sound possible, play the best piece ever heard. At the end of the day however, one is performing for people who enjoy a good show, the other is p[erforming for people who will always be looking for a way to say "I can do better".

    Which is best? What do you prefer, the little old lady coming up to you after a show and telling you how fantastic you were, or that darn eupho player from the "other" band coming up and saying he enjoyed your performance?

    Personally, I like both!

    IYOUNG Member

    I guess its a mixture of both. I run a hugely succesful non contesting band I suspect one of the key reasons for its success is the fact it doesn't contest.

    We attract players who are similar minded and just enjoy the music, socialising of the band. To say we haven't improved because we don't contest is nonsense the band is now in much better shape than 3/4 years ago. Why? because we rehearse all kinds of differing styles properly and this gives us a much wider musical understanding than if we were to concentrate on the typical 4th section brass band peice.

    I have no problem with bands that love their contesting, ive been and done it myself. Good luck to you all but Dave P is correct when he says that bad contest results can damage a band terminally.

    My original post was just to show that whatever ability you have in your band you can go out and have abrilliant time with a bit of hard work and organisation.
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Hi David

    Is this just the five minutes or the full half hour? :) :lol: Seems we're striking a happy medium (I would suggest Doris Stokes but she's dead..... ;-)) as I agree with a lot of what you said in your last post (and reveille.... oops! Sorry, sorry :))
    Anyway. it's what I like about tMP, the opportunity of excahnging brass views!

  11. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    It wasn't said. I said....

    "You can have both. However, with most Bands, it is the rehersal of competition music and performance that improves standards. Concerts should as a result be more musical and more enjoyable."

    My response was to what Dave P wrote.

    Of course there are other ways of improving standards. However, competition is a well tried a tested method that works when used properly.

    Consistant failure in contest could destroy a band, but there are many other factors that make or break a band that are far more important to most.
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I can't really decide whether I'm in favour of contests or not. I think the problem may be that some people take the competitive aspects far too seriously.

    It's all very well competing and using the system to help you improve yourself and your band. However, if competition becomes the be-all-and-end-all of your existence, I think it's time you took a step back and considered where the point of a band has got to.

    Like any other group of musicians, surely the point of being together is to play music to other people - as many people as possible. If you look around the audiences at contests, apart from other bandsmen, the audience largely consists of 3 men and a ferret. That's hardly a wide audience.

    Bands don't actually need contests to improve. They might need contest type pieces to practice, but the main impetus should be to entertain the audience. IMHO.

    Someone is bound to say "if you don't have contests, you won't have contest type pieces". This isn't actually true. Composers will still compose their music, regardless of whether there are contests.

    Just my thoughts.
  13. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    But alas they will not get played very often!, case in point being the recent audience slating of the B&R (I think it was correct me if I'm wrong) concert, sadly our audiences today expect a cetain amount of "cheese" and don't very often enjoy the ham and french mustard unless it's an brass arrangment of something well known orchestrally ("Eh Aida I op they play that 'Ovis ad again").

    I enjoy both concert and contest performances but I do feel more challenge in a "contest" situation than a concert.
  14. David Pegram

    David Pegram Member

    Getting a balance between good concerts and contest works for me.Our band progress by contesting and take that improvement to the public in our concerts. Bands need contests, in my experience most non contesting bands are of a poor standard.(salvation army apart)
  15. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member

    Although we seem to have drifted away from the original purpose of my post ie just to let eveyone know what can be acheived by any level of bands with a bit of hard work and togetherness, there are some varying views on whether contests improve the band.

    Each band needs to decide this for itself what its needs are if thats is not to contest but acheive musical satisfaction in other ways that is there right to do so, the above quote makes me despair somewhat, iv'e no idea what the authors experiences are but seems to be a complete generlisation without substance and in my view doesn't add much to the debate.

    I play in a non-contesting band which is generally accepted at being a section 2 / section 1 if it choose to contest, the fact that it doesn't does not mean we are of a ''poor standard''. It means we simply enjoy testing ourselves in other ways.

    I repeat what I said in an earlier post, if you contest then good luck to you, if your successful in those contests then well done I am please you are enjoying your success but please don't be arrogant enough to suggest if you don't contest then your of a poor standard.
  16. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    WoW. You really can change what is written. He said IN HIS EXPERIENCE. He can't respond in any other way.

    This is the second time in the same topic you have taken what is written in a different way to what is actually there.

    If you read what is written, rather than assuming people write something different to what they mean, communication will improve.

    You do also stated that Marlow would be a 4th section band in your first post. It can't of improved to 1st section that quickly.

    Note the qualifications before responding with generalisations.
  17. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member

    Don't wish to appear to be pedantic but......

    My post said '' I've no idea what the authors experiences are'' I merely suggest it seemed a rather general statement to make that was all.

    If the authors experiences are that, then thats fine but i very much doubt the author has been involved with '' MOST'' non contesting bands.

    I then went on to say I PLAY in a non contesting band nowhere does that mention Marlow Band, perhaps if you read my signature you may be enlightened somewhat.

    Perhaps if we hadn't gone off topic somewhat.................
  18. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    It is a fact of life that people can only every respond based on their own experience. Based on what you said, nobody can respond.

    On the other hand, I am sure you would not of raised the issue if he had supported your view.

    Note: the only way to know what section a Band is in is to compete. It is not possible to say that the band you PLAY with is a 1st, 2nd, or any other section standard unless you do.

    This is on topic as it is about what we do, or perhaps you meant it to be just what you do.

    It went on to competitions etc, as a result of the post reply Dave P made. This IS what we do.
  19. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member


    You are in danger of being guilty of what you accuse me of

    '' You are sure that I would not have raised the issue if the author agreed with my views'' .........your sure of that are you? assumption........

    The key word in how I read the original lines was ''Most'' you focused on the three preceeding words. I am perfectly entitled to my view without you having to resort to aggressive posts.

    Finally my words on Ascot Brass standard were that it was ''generally accepted'' not ''we are'' you are quite correct until we did contest we would never know but are those that play there not allowed to summise? Apparantly not....
  20. David Pegram

    David Pegram Member

    I did say in MY experience.

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