B/Ms, M/Ds etc.

Brian Bowen

Active Member
I’ve noticed that a number of bands appear to have both a music director and bandmaster, e.g. Harrogate (who are well represented on tMP). What do these titles mean and how do they work together? Other bands employ professional conductors and have resident conductors (e.g. Brighouse), while others have just one conductor for virtually all occasions (e.g. Black Dyke).

In SA bands the bandmaster (B/M) is commissioned to virtually oversee the band both musically (rehearse and conduct) and organizationally. However, he/she does have the assistance, usually, of others commissioned as deputy B/M, secretary, sergeant and maybe others. (I’m a bit out of touch with SA procedure so things may have changed in recent years.)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of these different types of leadership?


Active Member
Hmmm.... how to describe it...

At tHB, Mr. Mute does all the conducting (except when he's on holiday and Hitman, our respected Chairman, steps into the breach). I stay as far away from it as possible, being almost amazingly rubbish at anything of that ilk.

I think best way to describe Bandmaster within our band is to say I do a lot of the jobs noone else wants/does! I tend to be responsible for personnel, in theory I should get apologies from players who can't do rehearsals and concerts, then go about finding the necessary deps to fill any gaps. I'm also in charge of instruments, making sure we have an up to date record of who has what and where it is, also making sure that all instruments are in decent order and that people know where to take them for repair.

Nominally, I also seem to be in charge of the bandroom diary, making sure that anyone who books the bandroom for outside purposes (usually the resident rock group, Trigger, led by one of our percussionists) is booked in and has access to keys.

As well as that, the major bit of the job is personnel based, I guess. Sorting out problems, making sure all is sweetness and light, and generally being useful. Oooh, and I almost forgot - making sure we have people at the bandroom to load and unload the trailer for gigs!

Add to that being a general liaison officer between Mr. Mute and us "lesser mortals", and generally being a sunshiney person around the place (occasionally!), and there's not that much to it really! :shock:

Rach x


Active Member
Rachel has said it all. Except that she does a cracking job!

Bandmaster role was invented to share the workload of the Secretary, particularly at a time when we had a non-playing Secretary.



Active Member
an advantage of the resident/prof conductor is being able to get a conductor who perhaps travels a lot to do jobs. having one conductor will obviously help with consistency though.


Band Master/MD

From an SA background
The Band Sergeant usually takes care of Pastoral Care of the Band A good idea in theory, someone to talk to if you have had an arguement with your parents at home. Not brilliant When my Dad was my BAnd sergeant hahaha
What the difference between an MD and a Conductor though apart from organisation.

There are pros and conns for both maybe a happy medium would be acheived one day

All the BM I have been under in the SA were well repected Harry Kirkham, Ashton Under Lyne SA Ken Lee Ashton under lyne SA
Colin Sales Ashton SA Glen Challenor Ashton SA
Martin Ryecroft Ashton SA
Gordon Kirsopp Stockport SA/ Manchester DYB
Gary Blackwell Stockport SA / Manchester DYB

and in the outside banding world
Kevin Ackford Superb MD of Denton Brass
Adrian Loader One of the Best MD at Arnfield Brass
Peter Brannigan MD at Hollingworth

All the above where well organised men many an enjoyable practise was had
if anyone remembers any of these people please PM me
in my (very limited) experience, MD's set the musical direction of the band (i.e. pieces to work on, tone, style, etc.) and the Bandmaster / Conductor help the MD with this.

probably completly wrong, but just what i have found.



Active Member
Every band I've been in, it's always the case that the MD is the conductor and in charge of all things musical (e.g. programme selection) and bandmaster is in charge of band deportment, discipline and other such matters (e.g. checking everyone is on the bus, giving someone a rollocking for wearing white socks etc.). When I started at Leyland we worked on the following basis: We had an associate conductor hired on a job-by-job basis to do most rehearsals/concert work (with a few guest conductors here and there) and a proffessional conductor hired for contest purposes. Now Garry Cutt is our full time proffessional conductor and will be taking the band for concerts and contests. :D

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