Pro. conductors. Good or bad.

Should a band bring in a pro. conductor for competitions

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I have recently left a band because they decided to bring in a pro. conductor for the Scottish and sacked the MD. We were going through a patch when the results weren't going our way and so the decision was taken. Sacking the MD caused upset among some players and about 7 or 8 of us left (including 3/4 of the bass section). The band in question managed to put together a band for the Scottish but unfortunately came last in their section and was relegated.

I was wondering what other tmpers thoughts were regarding pro. conductors and to whether or not it's better to have consistency with one conductor or not?


Good Question-I think they are important for the big contests such as the area but not many bands can afford them on a full-time basis.Saying that I don't think they're necesarry outwith the top section.It's always a shame when the decision of a few splits a band up.I think I know which band you mean and felt sorry for the players that left as I thought they had a good band up till then.
Thanks for the suport eckyboy.

We had a fairly good band in terms of ability but the atmosphere had deteriated so much that I had stopped enjoying the playing. I moved with the MD to a different band and although it's "only" in the third section, it's alot more fun to play with. (Bonus of 4th in the Scottish wasn't bad either!).


I think that you should. We got David Hirst up to conduct us for our area and feel that the draw beat us and that our performance was superb. Talking to ppl after the contest they said our performance was very different to everyone elses in that we showed more control and general musicianship but obviously that wasn't what the ajudicator was looking for one the day... But anyway on the subject of conductors David Hirst did a superb job with the band.

However the band sacking the residential conductor was poor. the residential should still be involved with the contest in some way (Our's played trombone today) so that they are still willing to do the week in week out rehersals and still enjoy the job.

So yes pro's are excellent if the whole thing is handled in the right way!!!!


Staff member
This can be a difficult area, particularly when you already have an MD with proven ability at winning contests, even if it has been with opther bands. On a couple of occasions I've heard bands play under one conductor in a contest one day, seeming quite uncomfortable and not really doing very well. Then they have appeared in concert the next day under a different baton and seemed to be quite a different band. It could have been that they were not happy with the test piece, rather than the conductor, but they seemed so much more relaxed and at home with their regular conductor, who seemed to have a natural rapport with them that had been lacking at the contest.


Active Member
It seems to me that bringing in a new conductor just before a contest could detract from the performance, as the players might have to "unlearn" what they've already learned. Bringing in a pro for a contest would work if that conductor did the majority of the rehearrsal on the test piece. Getting rid of a residential MD just to get in a pro for a contest seems harsh - I suspect that there might have been more there than what's being said.

Overall, consistency of conductor is very important, even in non-contesting groups. The National Capital Band are now under the fourth conductor in less than three years (after having had only three in the previous 40 years). This has been damaging to morale and to the performance of the band, as we have not been able to settle into any kind of comfort with repertoire, style or rehearsal technique.

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