Your opinion

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Rhonda, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

    I’d be interested to get as many opinions as possible. I’ll give you a scenario:
    Former high range band(way back in the 14th century...;)), some players missing at the low end, some older players, a few youngsters.
    Coping with their (contest)pieces but not really motivated to work on them, conductor not really “on top of the situation”.
    Some “politics” going on (as in any other band I suspect).Might fold up.
    Should I, as a conductor, who can see what must be done, on one hand, a non-brass player with no insight of bands on the other hand, offer to take over and try to rescue the band?

    I’m no fun to work with:oops: because I’m only interested in results and I don’t care how I get there:hammer. Up to 6 hours rehearsals or even more ahead of a contest per day (if possible) are my average work pace. I had some nice successes with ensembles, smaller orchestras and individual students(who in the end hated me but reach their aim...). But would a band accept me?
    Or should I rather stay put, not say a word and watch things go to pot?
    Waiting for your honest(!!!!!) opinions
  2. brianatb

    brianatb Member

    Why would any band employ you before all your expetations were agreed.???
  3. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    You sound sincere so I will give a serious reply.

    a)6 hour rehearsals are probably not practical for Brass players. 2-3 hours max with possibly a small rest half way especially if this is a lower section.

    b)Being a non brass player puts you at a slight disadvantage in not knowing certain alternative fingerings and other ways of overcoming technical problems in the music?

    c)Going into a Band which is beset with problems and politics can be a nightmare. You will have to cope with the previous conductor leaving/being sacked which may unsettle some players (depends how it happens and if everyone agrees) which may leave you with a few more empty seats.

    d)How strong and supportive will your committee be? Or are they in principal seats and not be prepared to move if you insist that needs to be done? Will you have sole decision in where people sit and what instruments they play?

    e)Can you bring in new players/contacts with you to strengthen the Band?

    f) How long are you willing to work with them especially if results don`t go exactly to plan

    g)Are you equally passionate in the concert and the rest of the not so fun work that has to happen to fund the Band

    If I sound negative I don`t mean to be its just that this may be a band that is not that bothered about contesting and it could take a great deal of perseverance and patience to turn it into a promotion seeking outfit. Personally I love to work hard and thrive on detailed Contest rehearsals but not everybody feels the same so you may need to do some background conversations to find out how the majority of players feel before you leap in there. I love your up front courage and conviction and would hate you to get turned off brass bands if this is not the one for you.
  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    If there are, as you imply, underlying political "fractures" within this band then simply bringing in a new conductor is papering over the cracks. The committee and the band in general have to want to sort things out and move forward. This is not a job that a conductor alone could or should undertake - even if it were possible for one person to "rescue the band", the band would then become dependent on that one person, which isn't healthy in the long term. Unless the band are looking to get rid of their conductor, or the conductor is looking to move one, I agree with Mesmerist that your well-meant offer may well alienate many members.

    Also bear in mind that especially in the lower sections banding needs to about having fun as much as making quality music - the social & friendship aspects of a band will knit it together far more strongly than a cupboard full of silverware. 6 hour rehearsals would drain the fun right out of it - tope section players preparing for an Area or the Open are used to this pace, but the rest of us aren't and don't neccesarily want it. People have to want to come to band, otherwise they'll vote with their feet.

    That said, bravo :clap: for wanting to get stuck in and help. Maybe you should approach the band with a general offer of help and ask if they want to discuss it first? Then you could discuss what you and they would want to achieve and decide if you have compatible goals?

    Best of luck.
  5. brianatb

    brianatb Member

    is that not that what i just said? But just in one sentence?
  6. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Er, no.
  7. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    No....I didn't think so anyway. But well done for being short and to the point! ;)
  8. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

    Thanks Mesmerist and Anno Draconis(nice name...),
    your points are exactly the ones I was wondering about. But let's have some other opinions bevor I give my thoughts.
  9. brianatb

    brianatb Member

    Independant poll just taken.Enjoy your new post with a different band.;)
  10. Euphjam

    Euphjam Member

    :DStill aint lost it Bri eh!;)
  11. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    It's over there..... chasing the plot past the pile of discarded knitwear!;)

    Staying on topic, I've worked with non-brass banding conductors and like mezzy mentioned taking a band is not like an orchestra. You have limited rehearsal time and over working a band can be very detrimental. Also it helps to know the ins and outs of the instruments involved, especially in the lower sections. Feel free to try it but trust me I think it'll be way harder than you think.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  12. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    Politics in Brass Bands? Never.........................
    I have very recent experience of the picture that you so vividly paint. ...........ah! so it was................ Three years ago i decided to go "with the flow" let the Band decide what is was they wanted, and attempt to fit in, encouraging, motivating, inspiring, ya know the sort of things that we "conductors" pride ourselves upon.
    It was bearable for a while, results were OK (ish) concerts were excellent, because being a straightforward saggitarian of gregarious nature, i could paper over the cracks of our often musical incompetence. Try as i might, things were never getting any better.........senior players would go out of their way to be obdurate, belligerent, and damn right rude at times, yet despite this, and being from northern mining stock, i persevered. Sorry to involve others here, it wasnt senior players, moreover a senior player, who incidentally attempts to play an instrument that i was reasonably average on for over forty years, however, despite my attracting some good players from my years of networking, i found i was persistently "hamstrung" with the intertia of apathy, wanton rudeness and often the "come when i want" " do what i want" "when i want" scenario............... i have to say that i had a history of being somewhat fierce and single minded in dealing with such behaviours historically, yet i decided (foolishly) to persevere.
    To offer any advice would be inappropriate, save to say, that some bands will always be what they are, as seldom do you find anybody with the balls to sort it out. Conflicting agendas etc etc etc etc
    As a new face, i would offer your services on YOUR terms, and seek a comprehensive remit of your function, duties and responsiblities, agree to them, and agree that both parties will support each other in the fulfillment of them.
    I moved from the band i mentioned earlier this year, my current band agreed to the principles that i have set out, the result...............100% attendance 95% of the time, a few casualties along the way, but hey! i guess you receive enough xmas cards?
    Dont ever prostitiute yourself for the good the good of the lunatics, as they will only take over the asylum.

    Happy Banding.
  13. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    You don't paint a very pleasant picture of yourself, if I may say so. Six-hour rehearsal? I hope you haven't got any MU members in your band. Three hour maximum (with 20 minute break). Only interested in results? Mmm... Students who ended up hating you? If this is to taken at face value, I wouldn't be surprised if everybody left your band after five minutes. I certainly wouldn't touch you with a bargepole ;)

    However, let's assume you're exaggerating to make a point. To successfully lead a band, whether it's an established band or stuggling one, you must work at the pace that suits everyone. The best band conductors don't shout and scream and abuse people, they get their message across in a respectable and respectful way. They are willing to tolerate slightly less able players who try their best, they are encouraging to youngsters but also ready to push the advanced players. Remember, contests are one thing, but a band's bread and butter is entertaining the public, park jobs, carol services, Rememberance Sunday etc. etc.
  14. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Orchestral conductors for the most part, i never think that they seem to understand us brass band players. I remember, quite few years ago now, that a local band, used this certain orchestral conductor, quite well respected in the amateur scene, and i could see that the conductor's style did not suit the brass band idiom. The band themsevels thought the conductor was quite good for them. I think they didnt get tinto the prizes that year!
  15. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Interesting way of steathlily taking control of a band :-(

    Tell them you plans and it won't happen; so, to do it, you would have to lie about it, and do it by the back door.

    Why not form a new band if that's what drives you on. It only means a few years of getting to full strength and kitting a band out, before you can move on, but it is better than stealing a kitted out band from it's members! Right or wrong, it is their business to do what they want to do, not have it engineered from their control by an outsider.

Share This Page