The Ultimate Question?


Incognito said:
(as you can see, I take the view that this is about enjoyment rather than self discipline. Music is about enjoyment and the discipline flows naturally from that).

I wish more people thought like that - it seems that people either want to be too heavily disciplined (not enjoyable), or muck around so much in the name of enjoyment that nothing is achieved.

I might try to pick up my bari again in the house, but I'm afraid I'm one of those people who really need outside encouragement to play, which isn't helpful.
Heck, banding has been so awful recently, I've not been able to bring myself to visit tMp because it reminded me of what I was missing...


sparkling_quavers said:
1. unappreciated when people complain about work I have spend hours doing for the band
2. frustrated when I'm at rehearsal after arranging my life (and work) to make sure I could be there just to see others haven't made the effort
3. upset when politics hurt people within the band
4. disgusted at some of the politics I have seen in other bands!
5. bored when the music is too easy/too hard
6. frustrated and upset at undeserved contests results

Oh gods, yes, me too and then some!

I really need to learn to drive. This would make things a lot easier (I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with naff bus service)


Staff member
As I've been reading through the posts, it seems to me that you really answer your own question, in that you clearly do wish to carry on paying, despite all the obstacles. You say that the numbers in your present band preclude participation in contests or concerts, but are there enough who would be sufficiently interested to do some small group work?

There are some very good arrangements around tailored for smaller groups, and I'm sure you'd soon be able to put a programme together, as well as gaining enjoyment yourselves. This might even be easier in your present circumstances, without an MD in place, as it should not be seen as being disloyal to the existing setup.


The problem is that he wants to keep playing, but can't see any way or reason for that to happen.

Other ideas:

1. Start your own musical group (some sort of ensemble maybe).
2. Try playing in a different sort of group or style (I switched from euphonium to trumpet a long time ago because I wanted to play jazz).


PeterBale said:
but are there enough who would be sufficiently interested to do some small group work?

That's what I don't know. We have occasionally tried to play some group stuff, but we don't really have any (I have no idea where the treasurer is, or whether we could persuade anybody to let us have some money for group music). The second problem as far as I can see, is without an MD, what is there to stop the group descending into anarchy? I just don't have the time or energy to do the turn in the middle myself right now (I'm *meant* to be writing a thesis; instead, I'm stressing about band); even when I have run rehearsals, I have no idea how to rehearse a band either - I mean, if someone can't play a part, you can't play it for them...

I know, I know - it sounds as though I'm thinking up obstacles for all the useful suggestions people are making. I just can't see the way through right now...


ComposerAndy said:
i think you should just give up! seems to me your just looking for an excuse to keep playing. you've obviously made up your mind

Contradictory sentences or what? If I'm looking for an excuse to keep playing, why should I give up?

I live: 30 miles away from band. In rural Oxfordshire. I can't drive, so I can't get to bands in the middle of nowhere; and I also do one or two other things with my time, so I'm a bit stuffed as to days as well. My entire band appears to be *leaving*, we have about 6 players left, no MD, and no way I can see of getting out of a rut.

That doesn't look like excuses to me. That looks ****** hopeless.


Active Member
I kind of know how you are feeling, i wouldnt say i want to give up playing, but am thinking about taking a break from the band for a while- am off in september anyway.

Can i suggest that you maybe try something different, rather than give up playing altogether?
I've recently got involved in a 10piece ensemble, its a different style of playing-no brass band politics, just people getting together to play and enjoy it.

I have had some of my most enjoyable playing moments with the wind orchestra, maybe a different kind of playing is something to considder? Dont give up playing altogether, maybe just take a break from the banding world and see if you miss it? then you will know what to do.


Active Member
Small group work is great fun if other members of the band have similar feelings to you (i.e want to keep playing but aren't going to get political about it.) A group of us from school started a quartet which has been brilliant, and we have managed to rehearse and perform without any help from music teachers. How about a few of you starting a quartet or quintet? It's not too hard to practice on your own without starting arguments as long as the other players are on your wavelength. (I understand that my circumstances are easier than yours for this!) At school we tend to just work on pieces slowly to begin with, then identifying tricky areas and working on them individually and as a group. Luckily we all don't mind others pointing out bits that need worked on or suggesting things. Plus if you do set up a small group and it is successful it gives you the chance to do concerts and even contests again.
However if band is becoming a negative part of your life then maybe it is time to just take a back seat, because it is only a hobby and it shouldn't be affecting things like work. It will always be there for you to go back to in the future. Plus there is the other options of tMP events and solo work. You shouldn't feel guilty about leaving your band if you are unhappy there. Sometimes it is in the best interests of the band to stay but at other times you need to look after number 1 and it is not worth sacrificing other parts of your life for something that you are no longer enjoying. Plus, if you are playing the baritone and that is what you are good at and enjoy then you shouldn't have to change instruments to try and enjoy band more IMO.
As for travelling to band, I can understand because I live in a fairly rural area too and have to rely on parents to taxi me all over the place. Is there no one in the band who can give you a lift? It may seem rude to ask but if you want to stick with this band, and the band want you to stay, then hopefully you can make an arrangement. If this is not possible then the least the band can do is appreciate the effort you are making to come to rehearsal and understand why you can't do everything. If they can't then maybe it is time to have a look at why you want to stay in this band because if they are not a little accomodating then I would question why you would want to stay there. You seem to be very committed to the band so you should expect a little back.
I hope this hasn't been too much of a ramble! :rolleyes: I hope you rediscover that banding bug that so many of the tMPers evidently have - it is fantastic feeling when you can love and enjoy banding. Good luck in making the right decision for you.


Supporting Member
Have you thought about advertising yourself as a dep. Now the summer season is coming up people are always off on holiday and it's usually a secretarys worst nightmare trying to get all the absences covered. Make it clear in your ad that you do need help with transport. People are always moving on in bands. If someone leaves a local band and you have done a good job depping for them in the past chances are that you'll be the first person they call to try and fill that seat.
Also if there are any local bands you fancy playing for give the secretary a ring and ask if they think they'll have any vacancies on baritone in the future. (We're a bit too far away for you but I know our 1st baritone is planning to go to university next year so I'm already starting to look for someone to fill his seat when he goes). You never know there may be someone in a local band planning to go away to university this year.
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the fish


As I am an Oxfordshire native, I am pretty sure of who you play for, and having played for the band myself in the past I must say I am very sad that a band with so much history has fallen on such hard times.

I must echo Michelle Garbutt's points above that you ought to advertise as a dep, nearly all bands in Oxfordshire are short of players as there are too many bands. My band only a month back were crying out for a first baritone dep at a contest at short notice due to our player catching mumps, and we would have been very glad of your help.

If you live in South or West Oxford you are more than welcome to come along to practice with ourselves to keep your lip in until hopefully your band gets back on it's feet, indeed I may be able to provide a lift! - Alternatively if you live in North Oxfordshire Brackley are a very friendly and sociable band who I am sure would welcome an extra player to rehearsals (I'm sure Steve Trom or Dave Redhead will confirm this if they read it!).
Now that T-horn's gone home and stopped using my username, I can reply properly!

I'm in a similar situation somewhere I play, there's politics and bitching and it's really horrible, and often you think you want to quit. But if you think, you'll probably remember the reason you do it, and what aspect of it gives you a buzz.

I'd agree take a break. You wouldn't have given up forever, and you could go back into it whenever you want when you start to miss it, which it sounds like you will. You need a break from everything, even if it's your hobby or whatever.


Active Member
I'm currently bandless partly through leaving a band that was going nowhere and partly due to injury.

Why not get a group of friends together and form a quintet or 10-piece or something? That's what I'm doing and it's getting me playing at a comfortable level and also bringing the fun back. You don't have to belong to a full strength band to enjoy it!

Rach x


Active Member
It seems ironic that whilst there are so many bands desperately seeking dedicated players, here's someone who obviously cares a great deal (or wouldn't be sharing this with us) who for various reasons is unable to find satisfaction in his playing.

I'd suggest setting your band a time limit or a measurable objective: for example to take part in one contest, or to give a decent concert with a guest soloist in (say) the next twelve months. If after that time there has been no clear improvement then you can justify walking away with a fairly clear conscience, assuming that you've done all that you can to contribute to the band's revival. Setting that sort of time limit often takes away some of the pressures of belonging, and you may find that you start to enjoy your playing again.

And in twelve months time who knows what the options will be: you may be more mobile, there may be opportunities within other Oxfordshire bands, you may have moved to Queensbury...


Well-Known Member
the fish said:

Alternatively if you live in North Oxfordshire Brackley are a very friendly and sociable band who I am sure would welcome an extra player to rehearsals (I'm sure Steve Trom or Dave Redhead will confirm this if they read it!).

Absolutely !

We have quite a number of players who travel from various directions so a lift may be possible.


A time limited project is definitley a good idea.

I went to a band once witht he aim of staying one year and ended up staying a bit longer, but it was always on the one year basis which made it fell like less of a life sentence.....


Thank you all for your replies. Unfortunately we've just had yet another person dropping out citing "travelling so far and the frustration of not having a decent rehearsal" (as if no-one else there does), and I'm so angry and upset that I'm going to have to keep this reply very short or the censoring software will eat me...

Stevetrom, that's very kind of you all - Brackley have always been lovely to me when I've played with them, but unfortunately I also know that your conductor wouldn't have me anywhere near the band - legacy from band politics over here. Don't'cha just love it?

Michellegarbutt and all who suggested advertising as a dep - can one actually do that? Doesn't it just sound vain and everything, "I'm a good player please take me" like?

I'm off to cry into my coffee now :-(


Active Member
... sorry to hear about your predicament! Do many of the band feel the same way regarding the way it is organised? If so, it seems that the band only rehearses as an act of ritual rather than enjoyment and development. Are you able to voice your concerns to anyone there and get support for your involvement? It could be the band has hit a dry period and needs a good shake-up with influences from elsewhere to create momentum again (which includes yourself). If you need more challenges as a player and require ensemble work, ask some of the band to join in and use the bandhall for rehearsal. Use available resources as much as you can to determine what or who is at fault before deciding to leave and risk all! A lot of good ideas have been presented but if you cannot get the backup I would hate to see you left out in the wilderness. I hope your present band is not too stubborn and set in their ways to help you out!


Dyddgu said:
Michellegarbutt and all who suggested advertising as a dep - can one actually do that? Doesn't it just sound vain and everything, "I'm a good player please take me" like?

I'm off to cry into my coffee now :-(

Umm, thats actually how the world of professional music works....

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