How do you tell someone it's time to retire?

nickjones

Active Member
Band Manager.....just a posh name for a secetary
mmmm normally very Moody type of person always moaning.have experienced one or two in my time , and have heard " Do you know who we are.(bands name )...we booked this rehersal room before you...Oh hang on were are in the wrong hotel.." I kid you not this is the attitude of some ( not all )
they should be involved in booking buses ,engagements for the band, hotels , rehersal rooms , making sure accountant , Md , chairman , and playing staff are all on the same wavelength.and has to be quite diplomatic of which a few band managers are not , not much management skills or qualifications.
still some bands go through players like disposable items.
I think it's pretty bad news when people go " oh we sacked this one because he / she was rubbish / not commited / bad apple.
get your band manager to organise team building excersizes like paintball or a trip to a theme park...get to know each other . you can trust and rely on each other then , or will go some way to help.
 
I don't think the issue of players retiring has anything to do with age.

There are players around in the 70's and older that still play extremely well. While they are willing and capable of playing, they should be treated the same as any other band member.

I think the problem is with those that have been with a Band for 20 plus years, and joined when the standard of playing was sub 4th section. They could never play then, and have never learned to since.

These are the people that help to create problems in Concerts, and bring the standard of the Band down substantially. If they drove a car as badly, they wouldn't get their license.

However, how do you tell them that they shouldn't be playing at all. After all, they have been there for 20 plus years doing the same thing every week.

Nothing to do with age. It is to do with Bands trying to move on, but they won't or can't.

Our Band is a 2nd section Band in Contest, and possibly 1st section if we do well again at the areas next year. The average standard therefore needs to be over Grade 5 standard with some depth in all parts. However, what is the point of working to improve contesting standards, when in Concert there are people there that couldn't pass Grade 1.

BTW- The MD should have the final say as to where each person plays. This is obviously a point that can become political though. There are other things to be taken in to account when placing people, other than just standard of playing.
 

sugarandspice

Active Member
ask someone to retire?.....hmmmm well how about making it obvious that the player needs to retire?
say for instance you play second euphonium (and happen to be very bored of that position) and the (old) guy on solo certainly isnt getting any better. play lots of solos with the band (preferably impressive ones!) and practice lots untill it becomes obvious that you should be playing solo. it might even work!
..........not talking from personal experience or anything tho!! :D


However i am still playing 2nd........give me time!!
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
Do I detect an odour of vinegar (otherwise known as sour grapes) here? Or maybe it's a case of ambition overcoming respect?

I think if a player were truly so awful and unreliable the rest of the band would do something 'in concert' if you'll pardon the pun to help that person to retire gracefully.

Perhaps the rest of the band don't want to put this person 'out to grass'. If the rest of the band don't feel the same way that you do, maybe you should consider moving?

Another thing is, as hellraiser suggested, you could put yourself forward for solos and/or enter solo contests and get your face known.

As someone of advancing years, I would like to think that, when I could no longer keep up to the standard of the young whippersnappers, I would retire gracefully into a permanent seat in the junior band. But then, I also like to think I know my own limitations.

Nurse! Nurse! Is it time for my medication?
 
The problem is that asking people to leave creates conflict, so most go out of their way to avoid it and allow things to continue. Only acting well after they should.

I did not raise the points I did because of my position in the Band. I am where I want to be.
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
nickjbeaumarisband said:
Band Manager.....just a posh name for a secetary
mmmm normally very Moody type of person always moaning.have experienced one or two in my time , and have heard " Do you know who we are.(bands name )...we booked this rehersal room before you...Oh hang on were are in the wrong hotel.." I kid you not this is the attitude of some ( not all )
they should be involved in booking buses ,engagements for the band, hotels , rehersal rooms , making sure accountant , Md , chairman , and playing staff are all on the same wavelength.and has to be quite diplomatic of which a few band managers are not , not much management skills or qualifications.
still some bands go through players like disposable items.
I think it's pretty bad news when people go " oh we sacked this one because he / she was rubbish / not commited / bad apple.
get your band manager to organise team building excersizes like paintball or a trip to a theme park...get to know each other . you can trust and rely on each other then , or will go some way to help.

Ah I see!. These functions are devolved on several people. We have a concert sec and a contest sec and several other elected posts that people can volunteer for. Much better to spread the load, and it avoids someone being lumbered with the whole job and getting twitter n bisted about it. That's probably why we all have such sunny dispositions ( :p to Naruco!)
 
davidwalton said:
Our Band is a 2nd section Band in Contest, and possibly 1st section if we do well again at the areas next year. The average standard therefore needs to be over Grade 5 standard with some depth in all parts. However, what is the point of working to improve contesting standards, when in Concert there are people there that couldn't pass Grade 1.

i agree, in a band i once played with, we were about to enter a contest, when the flugal player decided (with 3 months too go - so plenty of notice) that he wasnt playing. the only replacement we could get was "sub standard" and to add too that they wouldnt attend all the rehearsals leading up to the contest, on only actually turned up the night before the contest. the point is that they do bring the standard of the band down, and why should they let the hard work of the others members be wasted?
 

mr jinx

New Member
To all who are posting on this thread, what gives anybody the divine right to tell somebody to retire. Regardless of which section you are in or what standard you may be, it doesn't give you the right to look down or diss somebody because they are old. How many of YOU will still be playing into your 70s or 80s. Dont forget that to some it is a lifeline, going to band twice a week and having a purpose in life. How many of the older generation just sit at home - ask yourself that.
These peple may have kept bands going through thick and thin and deserve some loyalty and respect.....................
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
mr jinx said:
To all who are posting on this thread, what gives anybody the divine right to tell somebody to retire. Regardless of which section you are in or what standard you may be, it doesn't give you the right to look down or diss somebody because they are old. How many of YOU will still be playing into your 70s or 80s. Dont forget that to some it is a lifeline, going to band twice a week and having a purpose in life. How many of the older generation just sit at home - ask yourself that.
These peple may have kept bands going through thick and thin and deserve some loyalty and respect.....................

I think we decided earlier on that it wasn't necessarily anything to do with age. However, age is probably the most common reason that someone might be asked to retire.

Usually, this is because the person is no longer as healthy as they used to be, it may also be that the band has moved on in ability and the older player may not - and I stress MAY not be able to cope at the higher standard. I don't think many people on this forum would countenance getting rid of a player just because that player was old. I don't think any band would really want to lose all the experience which older players have and can share and help to further improve the standard of the band and in the nurturing of young players.

Part of this thread has also been about players who, for whatever reason cannot match the standard of playing of a band which is ambitious to progress up the contesting ladder. Naturally enough, as a band progresses, the level of commitment has to increase. If players in the band can't keep up to that level of commitment then the band has to be realistic, both collectively and as individuals about what the band wants to do. If the band doesn't contest and isn't ambitious, there is less of a problem, unless the player(s) concerned can't manage the standard of the concert music being played.

Nobody has a 'divine right' as you put it, except, actually, the MD. However, as a band is a group of people, they all have a collective responsibility to do what is best for the band and, if a player is holding the band back in whatever it wants to do, it is a case of the good of the majority v the good of an individual. That is democracy.

If you, personally, felt that you were preventing your band from progressing, would you stay there? If the band wanted to do one thing, but you didn't, would you step aside?

If I felt or it was demonstrated that I was holding my band back, I wouldn't hesitate to step aside. There's always the training band, so I could still be useful.

If your band is doing something you don't want to be part of, or was moving in a direction you didn't like, there are always other bands. If you are a good player, no one will turn you down.

Another thing, I can tell you're annoyed, but no one is seriously suggesting that older players should just be dumped. That might go on in Champ section bands, but I don't hink anyone with an ounce of integrity thinks that it is right.

Just my 4/6 worth.
 
mr jinx said:
To all who are posting on this thread, what gives anybody the divine right to tell somebody to retire. Regardless of which section you are in or what standard you may be, it doesn't give you the right to look down or diss somebody because they are old. How many of YOU will still be playing into your 70s or 80s. Dont forget that to some it is a lifeline, going to band twice a week and having a purpose in life. How many of the older generation just sit at home - ask yourself that.
These peple may have kept bands going through thick and thin and deserve some loyalty and respect.....................


well if anything like this happened too me, i would expect some sort of say in what happens because of my position as section leader. but personally i couldnt ask a player not to play, i would simply move then around to where they felt confortable.

however if i had too, i would ask a player who was "trailing" the general ability of the section not too play in a contest if after discussion with the MD, we decided that thee was no point in them playing AND if there were other players who could fill their positions. but thats just me.
 

kate_the_horn

New Member
sugarandspice said:
ask someone to retire?.....hmmmm well how about making it obvious that the player needs to retire?
say for instance you play second euphonium (and happen to be very bored of that position) and the (old) guy on solo certainly isnt getting any better. play lots of solos with the band (preferably impressive ones!) and practice lots untill it becomes obvious that you should be playing solo. it might even work!
..........not talking from personal experience or anything tho!! :D


However i am still playing 2nd........give me time!!

my god, that sound familiar!!

change euphonium to Horn, and second to 1st.

wow!! thats me a few months ago!

mikelyons said:
I think we decided earlier on that it wasn't necessarily anything to do with age. However, age is probably the most common reason that someone might be asked to retire.

If you, personally, felt that you were preventing your band from progressing, would you stay there? If the band wanted to do one thing, but you didn't, would you step aside?

i agree here mike. We had a VERY stubborn, and VERY scary solo horn, who just didnt want to commit to the band, and i ended up playing solo horn untill she turned up anyway.

9pm (when we start at 8) was te avarage time she turned up, and when she did, i always got the "get out of my seat, i own it" look.
YES she was older than me, NO she wasnt any older than 40. Its not an age thing.

Things came to a head, when she didnt turn up for a couple of weeks, and we decided, for a concert to play me as Solo Horn, and our new 2nd horn as 1st (there were 4 of us, and the other 2nd horn had disappeared as well)
the week before the concert, she turned up expecting to play solo (late i may add) and we explained that she is on 2nd, as we'd sorted everything out.
I played a solo (one of the horn concerto's) and she didnt like it.
we then played the concert 1 week later, and surprise, surprise, she didnt turn up.

We haven't seen her since, our old 2nd horn returned, and chummed up with us again, and unfortunately is leaving us due to college commitments, in september.

until then, i think we've got a cracking horn section, and if a new horn comes in, better than me, she (or he) is welcome to my seat.

and if its for the better of the band, what do u want, greatness or someone that will turn up more often than not?

k x
 
Kate I really dislike that sort of attitude the person you were describing has.

and if its for the better of the band, what do u want, greatness or someone that will turn up more often than not?

Ahh this issue.
 

ScrapingtheBottom

Active Member
I think it all depends on what the raison d'etre of the band is. Some bands want musical excellence and progression for the band and if that means a quick player turnover then so be it. Some bands what to create a more hobby/social scene. Some bands want a bit of both. I, personally, think the greatest challenge is working with what you have got - groups of players can achieve things beyond the sum of their parts if they are committed and enjoy what they are doing.

People play in bands for different reasons. Personally I come for the music, but other players come for the social side. I think a healthy balance of the two is essential (esp in lower section bands). I have seen and heard of many bands who have seen the route to improvement as going via a little 'weeding'. Sometimes this can destroy a band's spirit, especially if you then fill the empty seats with journeymen players who are looking for a lift to a higher section band and don't really care about commitment.

Of course I agree that if you have talent and are committed then you should be playing to your level (as long as you know what you're talking about if you're a top man/woman) - sometimes people don't want to move and that's when the MD has to step in.
 
People joining our band are told the level of committment required - if they fail to meet it - they're out. Our MD decides with section leaders who sits where.

As our band has progressed from 4th to 1st section fairly rapidly a number of players left due to our MD insisting on good attendance at rehearsals - i.e. players are expected to attend both rehearsals a week.

As the standard has improved some of our cornets have moved seats - a former principal is now one of our 3rd cornets.
 

WhatSharp?

Active Member
This is a real problem and there are two sides to the argument...

On the one hand you have the band wanting to progress and get better and play more difficult works, on the other you have the player who simply wants to come along for a blow and do the odd concert. However it is made slightly trickier in subscription bands where every player pays to be there and should be treated equal. It's very difficult at the end of the day perhaps being straight with them is better than any subtlety which could be taken as malicous. Of course the other thing is just to play harder and harder music all the time rather than dragging out the easy stuff.....
 
WhatSharp? said:
Of course the other thing is just to play harder and harder music all the time rather than dragging out the easy stuff.....

Sure, but sadly in some bands even though the desire is there to play harder stuff if the people don't turn up then they can't learn the harder pieces so inevitably a lot of the easier stuff has to be pulled out :cry:

I've also noticed that often the players who need the rehearsal most are the ones who don't turn up...
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
I have to say I'm astonished at some of the responses and suggestions for getting rid of players. If this was an amateur wind band or orchestra forum, this topic, even if it WERE raised, would barely generate a response. It's all because of this sport-orientated 'success, success, success' mentality that dictates contesting seeming to foster resentment at others who can't get it right as quickly as others.

In the brass band I was conducting at the WMA Music School last week, I had a band of 17. The ability ranged from a former trumpet of the Northern Sinfonia and former Brighouse player, (possibly sop but I'm not certain) to a euphonium player who'd barely been playing a few months. Did I resent the euphonium player? Did I heck? Did the former Brighouse player resent him? Did he heck! We did our best to improve him (and I'd like to think that between us, we did!). I don't know whether he plays in a contesting band but I fear for him if he does because they'll want 'Instant Reading Ability Assumption' mode to kick in (by the way, this euphonium player was about the same age as me!) And no, if I'd had a band of 30, he'd have stayed. Period!

Most players who are past their sell by date, either age wise, or simply playing ability wise, usually, in my experience, know when the going gets tough as a band (of whatever sort) improves, because THEY stop enjoying being passed by, musically and not being able to play. (Which, I suppose, is a similar situation that WhatSharp? suggested by continually getting harder pieces out.... sigh). having said that, our intrepid euphonium player rose to the challenge of pieces that would normally have been beyond him.

I'd be a liar if I hadn't had thoughts about a particular playing member of bands I've been in who have struggled. Then I remember that on bad days, I, like many others I know, am quite capable of sounding similarly inexperienced or indeed 'past it'.

I do understand the frustration that people have expressed of 'holding back' the band/s but in the end, I bet most of us who have been put or indeed, put ourselves in more prominent positions have made cock-ups more cringeworthy than some of the 'Zimmer Frame' brigade that are being pilloried. I have come across a 'championship section' tuba player who couldn't sight read if his life depended on it and his standard of playing after rehearsals wasn't that much better. Swings and roundabouts. Is this a form of musical entertainment we're talking about or is it sport?

Still, no rabid rant by me ever changed anything so I suggest to those who are offended by 'old codgers' farting down their instruments (whilst happily assuming of course that YOU never get anything wrong) is to become an auditioning band.

Tell you what, I suggest someone should start up a band of players all of 65 and over (So Maurice Murphy can apply, then... ;-)), acceptance only guaranteed on showing your free buss pass, and protest against ageism in bands by storming the RAH stage in October during the middle of the contest and giving their own concert. ;-)


By the way, I'm an extremely infantile 41.....
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
As an aged 48, Dave, I agree with a lot of what you have said above.

As has been said before, it depends on where the band is coming from/going to.

It was also mentioned that age is not necessarily the only or even a criterion for asking someone to step aside/retire.

If the band is developing, but an individual player isn't or won't, then what do you do?

I would suggest that if more able players come along or develop within the band, the person who is 'static' should be progressively moved to less important positions. A job for the MD and/or committee, depending on how the band is set up.

If a person's unwillingness to develop in line with the band is intractible ("We've played this piece for 150 years and we've always played it like this..." syndrome) and is affecting the band's progress in developing its repertoire or its progress up the step ladder of contesting success or is keeping (dare I say "younger") players from developing their own abilities then one of two situations is likely to arise:

  • 1. The younger players are going to get resentful and eventually leave
    2. The band will become completely static and the MD and some of the more able/experienced players are going to leave.

In either scenario, the band loses. The band's choice is whether to grow and develop or stagnate and lose players.

Incidentally, it is highly likely that a stagnant band will lose its audience as well, even one like the B&R audience in another thread.

Just my HO
 
Dave Payn said:
It's all because of this sport-orientated 'success, success, success' mentality that dictates contesting seeming to foster resentment at others who can't get it right as quickly as others.

Is this a form of musical entertainment we're talking about or is it sport?

Still, no rabid rant by me ever changed anything so I suggest to those who are offended by 'old codgers' farting down their instruments (whilst happily assuming of course that YOU never get anything wrong) is to become an auditioning band.

Tell you what, I suggest someone should start up a band of players all of 65 and over (So Maurice Murphy can apply, then... ;-)), acceptance only guaranteed on showing your free buss pass, and protest against ageism in bands by storming the RAH stage in October during the middle of the contest and giving their own concert. ;-)

By the way, I'm an extremely infantile 41.....

Hi Dave,

It comes across that there should be no standards at all.

Every player has bad days, but not everyone can play.

Wind Bands do have standards as well, some higher than others, just like in the Brass Band World.

Age has little to nothing to do with playing ability, unless the body has given up.

Stones and Glass Houses is a cop out response. Nobody is perfect, so nobody can make a judgment???? Life isn't like that.

If someone came to your band, can't play and unwilling to learn. What band would want them? Would you?

So now lets go to a point in a Bands history where the Band only really exists in name. Standard of the Band is close to non-existant. People come who can't play.

Now give the Band an MD that can move the band on 20 years later. Those people who can't play and can't/won't learn for the last 20 years are still there, but now they make a huge impact on the standard of the band in rehersal, concert, and contest.

Are these people any different? They have been there for 20 odd years not achieving any standard of playing.

They do not and can not help the band, and they could never help in a training envirnment.

What would you do with them?

Should they be allowed to bring down the standard of a band just because they have been there for 20 years?

If you sit beside someone who can play better than youself, most people will improve a lot. Sit beside someone who has no ability, and it is made 10 times harder to play well, let alone improve.

At the end of the day, the choices are:

1. Allow anyone to play in a band, sod the standards.
2. Set a minimum standard of ability that is required.

With the first option, the Band WILL end up in name only eventually. Better players who want and need a challenge would have to go to another band to find what they need.

So you either remove those that won't improve, or you lose those that do. Short term, it is something that everyone will live with, but long term, it is something that has to be dealt with.
 

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