problem players

Wow - this has been an extremely interesting debate to read. Personally I think Sparkling_Quavers has it sussed. It our house in January it became apparent that my husband wasn't going to be able to committ to rehearsals and if he did, it would compromise my attendance (childcare issues) so he made the executive decision, with plenty of notice, to abstain from playing with the band for the areas. By doing this, no-one in the band got cheesed off with poor attendance and he didn't feel guilty for not attending every (well the majority) of rehearsals.

Providing apologies are presented to the MD in advance of the rehearsal, I think it is acceptable that players do not attend every rehearsal because in agreement with Naruco playing in a band is a hobby and people also have lives.
 

postie

Member
The old saying goes in banding you can't conduct an empty chair. Everyone of course has to put family or work before banding. However what is unacceptable is when players drop bands in it i.e concerts or contests,or just don't bother turning up for rehearsals that in my opinion can cause so much difficulty for the band. It is not about discipline it is about good manners a phone call does not hurt anyone.

At the end of the day it is up to each individual band to act in a way they deem to be appropriate.
 
Pookiyama said:
Someone doesn't up for, say, 10 rehearsals, and they're thrown out of the band.

Sorry, but that's discipline.

I'm shocked by the amount of pointless bureaucracy and military-style command centres that the Brass Band population is showing right now.

It's a freaking hobby. Most people who play in brass bands (most, yes, there are some exceptions) do it in their spare time and have other things to do as well. I myself have two communities I'd put before the band I'm in - plus, lots of us have other creative endeavours - for example, I'm in a rock band too.

If you're a really busy person, and can't find the time to turn up, then you shouldn't be thrown out, as long as you have a valid excuse. Not bothering isn't really acceptable, but just casually casting players aside because they haven't shown up is just a) assuming they don't want to come and b) suddenly reverting to a rather unfair method of ... er ... punishment.

Robbing someone of a creative/expressive outlet is the worst thing anyone can do, in my opinion.

Being in a band is about creating music, it's about playing instruments. This isn't the army. We're all supposed to be decent, civilised and musical people, so let's act like it, rather than robotic schoolmasters actually *looking* to punish people who they see as wrongdoers, just because they're slightly outside of the box.
Quite frankly I don't think much of your argument. If everyone were to behave like you then brass banding would be much worse off and a lot less fun to be involved in.

I find your attitude quite selfish. Like I advised someone else- if you want to play music but don't want a commitment then playing in an ensemble is just not for you and perhaps you'd be better off playing the piano?
 
Already people are coming out with the line "Banding is only a hobby".

Whilst this is undoubtedly true it does not serve as an excuse for bad manners (e.g. not notifying bands of when you're not available) or mean that it's OK to cause unnecessary hassle to others. As I've tried explaining golf is also a hobby, so is playing the piano... the point is that playing in an ensemble carries with it a commitment and an expectation from others and if you're unable to meet the expectation then perhaps you'd be better off pursuing other hobbies where your lack of commitment won't make others enjoy their spare time less.
 

Craigsav83

Active Member
hellraiser said:
Already people are coming out with the line "Banding is only a hobby".

Whilst this is undoubtedly true it does not serve as an excuse for bad manners (e.g. not notifying bands of when you're not available) or mean that it's OK to cause unecessary hassle to others. As I've tried explaining golf is also a hobby, so is playing the piano... the point is that playing in an ensemble carries with it a commitment and an expectation from others and if you're unable to meet the expectation then perhaps you'd be better off pursuing other hobbies where your lack of commitment won't make others enjoy their spare time less.
But it IS a hobby! Thats the thing! Most players have the courtesy to say when they are unavailable, so wheres the problem.

Remember... this is a public forum afterall, such strong opinions are often best kept to yourself.

Thats my tuppenceworth for the mo...
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
As someone who has missed very few rehearsals in all of my playing career, except when in hospital, I find my hackles rising at the thought that someone thinks it's ok to punish people who have valid reasons for not being at rehearsals.


Of course, it's one thing if players don't turn up and don't let anyone know. That is inexcusable. It shows lack of courtesy and contempt for other members. If there is an emergency then fine, but you should try to let people know what is going on as soon as you can. Just so they can make alternative arrangements if necessary (upcoming gig or whatever).

However, I don't believe it is ok to punish people who do shift work, who change jobs (promotion etc) or whose work gets in the way either on a regular basis or from time to time. If you dislike your fellows so much, Hellraiser, might I respectfully suggest that it is you who ought to take up the piano?

There are also the considerations of family. Families are one of our main sources of youngsters. It would not do to alienate families of potential players because you don't want the parents to take time off to bring up their families. Perhaps we should all remain celebate and take vows of chastity? It would solve the problem of spouses and babies getting in the way.

I am sorry that your views are so draconian. At the end of the day we are not in 'professional' organisations where we are paid to turn up and play (and be totally in practice etc) we do it to enjoy it and relax. It doesn't and shouldn't matter if a couple of players can't make rehearsals because of work or family commitments, for however long such a situation might go on. At the end of the day, if the band are happy with the arrangements that is the end of it. If people are unhappy, they can leave and take up the piano.

The only dictator in a band should be its MD and then only while wielding the stick.
 

Just Crazy

Member
If i missed 2 rehersals without giving an explanation or an apology before hand i would expect to be spoken to. People in my current band go for weeks without telling the band where they are. Its common courtesy to tell someone i think.
Yes playing is a hobbie but if you commit to a band i think its like commiting to work for a company, you wouldnt not turn up for work without telling someone, would you?
I find that in our band we dont discipline people because we are struggling in some areas for players, and if we have 15 people around stands its a bonus. (but if you cant change that PM me!!!!)
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
hellraiser said:
Are you saying because banding is a hobby then it's OK to cause unnecessary hassle for others?

???
I do not understand how someone being absent actually causes anyone else hassle. Surely you go to band to play your part? If someone else is missing, there is the possibility that you could be asked to put their part in. I don't consider that an inconvenience. Rather, it's an opportunity to get a greater understanding of the music/arrangement. It's also a challenge to sight transpose (say) a Bass Trom/Trom or Euph part.

We also split the band into sections if there are too many missing, but we do usually know who is going to be missing and why in advance.
 
mikelyons said:
I don't believe it is ok to punish people who do shift work, who change jobs (promotion etc) or whose work gets in the way either on a regular basis or from time to time. If you dislike your fellows so much, Hellraiser, might I respectfully suggest that it is you who ought to take up the piano?
It's not a matter of disliking people! It's all about priorities and choices. I find your attitude strange- from the band's point of view it really doesn't actually make much of a difference if there's an empty seat because the player is working hard or if the player is sitting on his backside at home watching Eastenders. An empty seat is an empty seat and it's not what bands want.

There are also the considerations of family. Families are one of our main sources of youngsters. It would not do to alienate families of potential players because you don't want the parents to take time off to bring up their families. Perhaps we should all remain celebate and take vows of chastity? It would solve the problem of spouses and babies getting in the way.
? I'd say that the sooner people understand that banding comes with a level of commitment the better.

I am sorry that your views are so draconian. At the end of the day we are not in 'professional' organisations where we are paid to turn up and play (and be totally in practice etc) we do it to enjoy it and relax. It doesn't and shouldn't matter if a couple of players can't make rehearsals because of work or family commitments, for however long such a situation might go on.
Playing for a band where people turn up as and when they like doesn't sound like much fun to me.

I am sorry that your views are so draconian.
I don't see why you say my views are draconian. It's all about priorities and choices. Individuals should make their minds up how important going to band is in their life. If banding is important then they'll try and avoid taking up other commitments that stop them going to band, surely.

I am stunned at the reaction in this thread- seems some of you spend more time on tMP than in band rehearsals!!!!!
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
hellraiser said:
It's not a matter of disliking people. It's all about priorities and choices. I find your attitude strange- from the band's point of view it really doesn't actually make much of a difference if there's an empty seat because the player is working hard or if the player is sitting on his backside at home watching Eastenders. An empty seat is an empty seat and it's not what bands want.
If you don't dislike them why do you want to punish them when life gets in their way? Most people don't miss band because they want to. I remember when my children were children, I would much rather have gone to band than stayed at home changing nappies and mopping up vomit.

hellraiser said:
? I'd say that the sooner people understand that banding comes with a level of commitment the better.
I think this is why you've had such a reaction to your post. It's the level of committment you seem to expect from people. The difference (one of them) between a hobby and a job is that you can periodically re-prioritise your hobby according to your circumstances.


hellraiser said:
Playing for a band where people turn up as and when they like doesn't sound like much fun to me.
If this is happening, leave. In my [counts...] 37 years of banding experience I have never come across a band where more than a few people did this and they didn't last very long. If your life does not involve other things imposing themselves on you from time to time then you are a very lucky person indeed. If you are complaining because a few people are having a problem that is interfering with their playing then you are pretty sad.

hellraiser said:
I don't see why you say my views are draconian. It's all about priorities and choices. Individuals should make their minds up how important going to band is in their life. If banding is important then they'll try and avoid taking up other commitments that stop them going to band, surely.
You will probably not agree with this, but my priorities are

    1. Family emergencies
    2. work commitments that I can't avoid
    3. my health
    4. band
I am not prepared to try to force my priorities on anyone else. The only thing I will say is that if, for any reason, I had to miss rehearsal or concert I would give the band as much notice as I could. As I have already said, I think it is only courteous. I would expect other people to treat me similarly.

hellraiser said:
I am stunned at the reaction in this thread- seems some of you spend more time on tMP than in band rehearsals!!!!!
Why? Band rehearsal is twice a week, tMP is for life! ;)
 

Big Twigge

Active Member
hellraiser said:
another quick survey

at your band for how many rehearsals must a player not turn up before action is taken?

How do you deal with players not turning up for a few rehearsals without explanation? I appreciate that every situation is different.

My personal opinion is that people who have not attended sufficient rehearsals should not get to perform with the band on stage.
First of all what do you mean by action? If the MD/committee think that a particular person's attendance is being a problem (without explanation) then someone should talk to that individual to see if there is a genuine reason for not being able to attend, or if there is a bigger problem with the individual not feeling happy. A lot of problems can be solved by actually talking things through, something that often goes by the wayside to gossiping and backbiting

Banding is a hobby, but it is one that involves committment. I may be one of the problem people as I often leave band for periods of time when I'm at uni. I realise that this may not alwyas have a positive effect on the band by being there then not again, but I think that when I am at home or have been asked to play I commit to the rehearsals and private practise.

I think to sack a player has to be the very last resort and surely if they're not turning up (without any reasons or prior arrngement) then they've resigned in part anyway.
 
mikelyons said:
If you don't dislike them why do you want to punish them when life gets in their way?
If people don't make an acceptable commitment then they don't leave the band many options and it's not about wanting to punish people, more about maintaining standards. For example, the chap who has only turned up to one rehearsal in 12 since the area- would you be happy for him to play at a concert this weekend? I guess it depends if you care about standards at your band- I do.


The difference (one of them) between a hobby and a job is that you can periodically re-prioritise your hobby according to your circumstances.
Fine, if banding goes down the list of priorities that's up to you but don't complain if the band want to move you down the line, get someone else in your place...

You will probably not agree with this, but my priorities are

    1. Family emergencies
    2. work commitments that I can't avoid
    3. my health
    4. band
Listen I'm not telling people what their priorities in life should be- that's up to them. However if people wish to pursue playing in a brass band as a hobby then there's no escaping the fact that banding comes with a level of commitment and if people are unable to commit then they won't last very long in any band, apart from desperate ones.
 

bagpuss

Active Member
hellraiser said:
Already people are coming out with the line "Banding is only a hobby".

Whilst this is undoubtedly true it does not serve as an excuse for bad manners (e.g. not notifying bands of when you're not available) or mean that it's OK to cause unnecessary hassle to others. As I've tried explaining golf is also a hobby, so is playing the piano... the point is that playing in an ensemble carries with it a commitment and an expectation from others and if you're unable to meet the expectation then perhaps you'd be better off pursuing other hobbies where your lack of commitment won't make others enjoy their spare time less.
The phrase 'Banding is only a hobby' is a very valid one to use in this instance. I can see both sides of the coin here though. If a player is not turning up to rehearsals with a genuine reason for not doing so then they should be given some leeway. There are genuine reasons why people can't make rehearsals because of work/childcare issues etc etc. And, another phrase useful at this time is 'Band doesn't pay your wages'. I agree that it is only manners to let the MD or whoever know that you're not going to attend and as far as possible the reasons for it. I can also see the point about causing unneccessary hassle to others - you are affecting their HOBBY after all. However, doesn't mean to say I agree with it totally.If a player is constantly missing rehearsals and still expects to be on the concert/contest stage with the band then it's hardly fair of them and shows lack of respect and committment. However more importantly from my point of view, if a player CANNOT PLAY THE PART OR IS NOT UP TO THE JOB then they should be the ones to be talked to/dropped/sacked first before the players showing less than perfect attendance. If a player cannot play a part and is not up to the job in hand, they are affecting the rest of the players and causing hassle to the other players in the band far more than the person who doesn't turn up regularly but can actually play their part well.

I think it is generalising somewhat to say that someone who exhibits a certain amount of irregular attendance is causing everyone else to enjoy their 'spare time' less. As I said previously, if someone is becoming a 'burden' to the band or organisation then they should be spoken to or whatever. However, it very much depends on HOW that person is seen as a burden as to what 'punishment' or 'action' should be taken. I think sacking a player should be an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT after all other avenues have been explored.


Puss
 

Just Crazy

Member
its a good job you lot arent in a room together!

there are always 2 sides to people not attending band.

i understand that people will miss band for reasons like:
* work
*family commitments
*illness

but what i think is trying to be said that if people communicate to the band that they are gonna be missing, its not a shock when you arrive to band and half the players arent there. It must be frustrating for the md nevermind the rest of the band!

It does my head in when i know that people arent at band cause theres a programme on tv they want to watch or they want to go out.

Afterall band is not everynight of the week
for me its 2 night a week for 2 hours each night that not a lot to ask people to turn upto!

I agree with hellraiser cause you must have some commitment to be in a band.

what would you feel like if the conductor wanted to watch something on tv on the morning of a contest or go out with some friends and didnt turn up and didnt tell the band?
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
hellraiser said:
If people don't make an acceptable commitment then they don't leave the band many options and it's not about wanting to punish people, more about maintaining standards. For example, the chap who has only turned up to one rehearsal in 12 since the area- would you be happy for him to play at a concert this weekend? I guess it depends if you care about standards at your band- I do.
From what I've seen of Craig, and admittedly it's only on tMP, I would be happy to have him in Old Hall. He writes as a suitably committed person and others who do know him personally treat him with the greatest respect which also leads me to believe that he would make sure that he could play the parts before the job. He has also never struck me as being judgemental.

hellraiser said:
Fine, if banding goes down the list of priorities that's up to you but don't complain if the band want to move you down the line, get someone else in your place...
I know without even having to think about it that my band know that I would not let them down unless it was due to circumstances beyond my control. I have given and continue to give the maximum level of commitment that I can and will continue to do so until my last breath. If my band decides that my level of commitment is such that it is putting the band at risk then I would have to seriously consider my options. However, they would most definitely not summarily dismiss me or 'demote' (if I can use that word) me without discussing it with me first. I would also expect that whoever replaced me on Eb was at least as good as me.

hellraiser said:
Listen I'm not telling people what their priorities in life should be- that's up to them.
Really? That's not what it sounds like to me!

hellraiser said:
However if people wish to pursue playing in a brass band as a hobby then there's no escaping the fact that banding comes with a level of commitment and if people are unable to commit then they won't last very long in any band, apart from desperate ones.
But why should you force your idea of what someone else's level of commitment should be on them or on the band as a whole? I believe that each member of Old Hall gives the commitment of which they capable. Some people may not make every rehearsal, but we play together well enough to rise from 4th to 1st section in a relatively short time. We have sell out concerts and our Christmas concerts are sold out weeks in advance. I suspect that keeps us out of the category of 'desperate'.
 
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iancwilx

Well-Known Member
In the 1960's, in between long service with my main band, I had short spells with two crack Yorkshire top section Bands (Both names begin with "B") and I had to leave on both occasions because I simply hadn't realised that the travelling was impossible and I was missing rehearsals.
For one, I had to catch two buses and a train and couldn't get home unless someone went out of their way and gave me a lift.
I was young and had never considered the difficulty of committing to a band.
I reckon that if you cannot commit to doing at least 80% of the rehearsals and jobs you should resign as you are letting the dedicated band members down.
At my present band we average 23 players at every practice and have done so for the past 16 years to my knowledge. (Not that it's done us much good recently !!!)
If we can't attend a rehearsal we are asked to phone beforehand and let some one know as a matter of common courtesy.
If we can't attend an engagement we are expected to personally find a deputy and make sure they know the details of venue and times etc.
This system seems to work, though I do admit it is a pain in the B*TT sometimes when you can't find a suitable dep at holiday times etc.
 

Jasonp

Member


Two weeks before the finals at Harrogate last year I was faced with a dilemma. A member of the band wasn't turning up to rehearsals. I had no idea why, I called but had no answer, so I had to make a decision and find a replacement, because 1. I couldn't risk going to finals with an empty seat, and 2. I couldn't risk that player being out of practice.
This particular persons commitment was usually better than most so it was very much out of character, and they were not asked at any time to leave the band, but as a result of my decision that person left the band feeling very bitter.

I think I made the right decision for the benefit of the band, and I'll always stand by it.
There will always be problems for us to make rehearsals, but If you keep your band manager informed then there shouldn't be a problem, but if you don't turn up, with no explanation why, then you have to expect action to be taken.
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
Just out of curiosity, hellraiser - how many of your band are your friends? That might actually make a difference as to how you perceive someone's level of commitment.

Do you regard the members of your band as amongst your mates, or as colleagues/co-workers? How do they regard you? If one of your bandsmen was in a bind, would you help them out? If it meant interfering with your attendance at band (rehearsals or performances is irrelevant) for a few weeks, would you?

You don't need to answer.
 
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