third person better than second

Aidan

Active Member
brasscrest said:
Nadia said:
exposed high cornet parts in unison, 1 split/mispitch from someone who's not up to the other's standard will wreck the whole thing!

Doesn't have to be high - been working on The Call of the Righteous, and even with only two playing the intro it's still not together. Doesn't have to be a split - intonation, anyone?

Nadia said:
:p
 
Looking at it from the other way a year or so ago I was playing 3rd solo cornet. I was 'the new girl' but I knew that i was a stronger player than the 2nd man (not necessarly a better player..........just made more noise :) ) after a few weeks I knew that although i was sitting further down the line I still needed to support the principle. I really didnt care where I was sitting all that was important was that I was playing and enjoying it.

The MD did move us around in the end but neither of us were bothered......in actual fact I found out later that the principle had requested that it happened but both him and the MD had been worried about upsetting us when it came to we didnt care! :D :D
 

tex b

New Member
if a player can't recognise that they aren't up to the job then they shouldn't be sat there anyway. Team work has got to be the key to a good band.
 

Ray Woods

Member
My story, if it helps, the rise from 3rd cornet to Prinipal

I rejoined Brass banding after a 10 year break about 4 years ago. I strolled into the local band room on a Thursday night, got out my cornet and asked to play 3rd cornet. I got back into the swing of things quite quickly (being a ex principal/soprano player) and found the challenge of playing 3rd cornet a good one. Often underestimated if you ask me..many a front row player will struggle to play down the lower end of the intrument with good tonal control, power and the dexterity required for the more complicated fingering. Gradually over the 4 years I crept up the back bench, spending some time on 2nd, then found a nice spot on Rep. This was as other players, including youth payers, joined the senior band However, whenever we had deps in to fill in for missing players at a concert, I would always let the dep play their requested position, so if a Rep player turned up I would sit 2nd or 3rd without any problem (even not having seen the parts before). Occasionally I got bumped up to the front bench when they were short, but I had already burnt out my ambition of stardom in my youth, so was happy playing the back bench parts, in my opinion, really well.

Sadly our principal left the band suddenly to go onto better things, and to my surprise, the MD quietly asked me to take over the Principal spot. I tried to reject the offer, but the MD was quite insistant and sure, so I said I would take it on temporarily, whilst they advertised for a new Principal. I have been in the spotlight for some time now...can't say I enjoy it really much due to my own high expectations which I do not meet (and due to stamina problems....see another thread of mine). However, since taking over the spot, another talented cornet player has joined the front bench (making 3) and she has been sitting 3rd down.........until recently. I firstly asked the 2nd solo if they would object if she swapped places with the newer player. I think the 2nd was a little put out, but the swap was made, and I am reaping the benefits. As I mentioned, I don't think I am the best Principal in the world, so having a solid, confident, capable 2nd (or bumper-up) next me me fills me with confidence. I have offered her the principal seat several times, but I am not sure if she takes this seriously. Anyway, she sits there next to me and every time I have a dodgy solo, I can see her cornet poised, ready to take over if I collapse or dry up, and that is what I need.

I believe it is up to the MD of the band to organise the players as he/she thinks fit. However it is the duty of the players to be flexible enough to give an MD the freedom to do this. If (and when) the MD bumps me to another position, I will not object, protest or storm out. I consider the band as a team working together, the MD as the captain, and as a team player, I will do what is best for the team (I even played Bass and Euphonium at Christmas when we were short on the bass end). If another, better player comes along and takes my seat, then all the better for the team. I could always practise more to get my old seat back!!

However I think that MD's are sometimes scared of upsetting players by asking them to move. So if you as a player want to help your MD out, let them know that you do not mind being moved if he/she thinks it is for the better.

If you are getting no direction from the MD, then there is little to be lost if you are a Principal player, asking the other players nicely if they would mind moving (if you think it is for the best). At worst they will tell you to bugger off! I think it is important to be open and not sneaky about it though. Just ask and you might be surprised how flexible most people are.
 

andywooler

Supporting Member
I am very fortunate to have players in the band who have a positive attitude to this issue - Ray is a shining example of how, with the right people, an MD can leave the organisation of the section to the principal. I am a great believer in moving the solo's around the front line to whoever is the most appropriate person to take them - with the right people, they sort this out for themselves - this doesn't necesitate a change on the prioncipal seat though.

This has happened at Mid Sussex a number of times over the last couple of years and I believe that in each case, the principal fully understood the rational behind those decisions and often, was the instigator.

Of course, one also has to keep in mind the bigger picture - I was ain a band a number of years ago where the principal cornet was moved onto Rep with no discussion - end result? We lost both the player, her then partner, her ex partner and her brother. Not such a smart move after all.

Having said all that, with another band I conducted, I felt the need to move a prinicpal cornet and did so - this was at the time a much higher graded band and often, people further up the banding food chain have a higher opinion of where they should be sitting than in a 4th section band.

Nice to be having this dialogue with my principal cornet via tMP though - according to my reckoning, he posted his response from Toronto - mine is from San Mateo, California!

Have a nice day Ray!
 

GJG

Well-Known Member
brasscrest said:
been working on The Call of the Righteous, and even with only two playing the intro it's still not together. Doesn't have to be a split - intonation, anyone?

Bit off-topic, I know, but:

I've always felt that Les Condon had a specific effect in mind for the beginning of "Call of the Righteous"; I wouldn't even consider doing it with less than five players unison, and I've heard bands do it with even more. I think the minor blemishes in intonation that are perhaps inevitable (and I stress 'minor'!) are part and parcel of the effect.

Egham Band did the piece as part of their "Entertainments" programme at Milton Keynes contest several years back. We didn't come anywhere, however I still remember the excitement on stage: we had virtually all the cornets playing the beginning; I don't think we had even one rehearsal run-through where someone didn't 'knock-over' at least one of the notes, yet, on the day, not one single split! No, it wasn't perfect from an intonation point of view, but the feeling of achievement regardless ......... ?! I like to think that Les Condon would have approved.

G.
 
just a question for the budding MD's out there, how do you like to set up your band...Head to tail in order of ability or with a good spread of class?

I've heard alot of MD's like to use the format of putting the strongest man on principal, then 2nd man down, rep, 1st 2nd and 1st 3rd, and then fill the rest of the positions down the line...is this true of most bands, or only in a few isolated circumstances...

I don't conduct, but I was just interested...
 

ScrapingtheBottom

Active Member
Australian Euphonium said:
just a question for the budding MD's out there, how do you like to set up your band...Head to tail in order of ability or with a good spread of class?

I've heard alot of MD's like to use the format of putting the strongest man on principal, then 2nd man down, rep, 1st 2nd and 1st 3rd, and then fill the rest of the positions down the line...is this true of most bands, or only in a few isolated circumstances...

I don't conduct, but I was just interested...

Personally (although I have never conducted a band... yet ;) ) I would spread the talent around the park a bit and put people where they are strongest. Parts such as Rep require a good player with a bit of leadership ability and are often overlooked. You need to look a personalities as well as ability (well maybe apart from sop and and bass trom!).

Of course the best solution is to have a band full of quality players, I'm sure Aidan knows what I mean.
 

Craigsav83

Active Member
In response to the original topic, it is quite important to have players on the right seats. I believe your best 3 cornet players (wherever possible) should be sitting Principle, Sop and Rep.

Depends on the music too - a bit of 'shuffling about' does no harm. In 3 years I've played Solo (2md),
2nd, rep, solo (3md) and finally to sop. The main issue is whats best for the band at the given time.

If a better player came in, I personally would have no hesitation to move, and I'm glad to say that this has always been the case in our band. Our 'bumper up' has just moved to top second cornet due to the demanding back row parts in Tam O'Shanter.
 

2nd man down

Moderator
Staff member
this whole thread has major repercussions for me!!

*note to self...don't have your position in the band as your user name next time stupid!! :-( *
 

Bazza

Member
I definately think the better player should be sitting in the higher seat, if someone joined my band and they were better so the band would benefit more from them sitting in my position i would happily move for them. its definately all about team work.

when i was about 15 i was playin in a 2nd section band on solo baritone and a guy joined who was a miles better player than me but he sat on the 2nd baritone seat, eventually the MD decided it would be better if the more experienced, better player took over and i didnt mind at all because i knew it was best for the band and that i would also benefit from his playing aswell, so it was all round the best thing to do!

 

2nd man down

Moderator
Staff member
Me too, I happily moved off principal (not only because I was cr*p at it) but Rach happens to be a much better player than me. I did my bit for the band and I'd do it again today if they asked me.
 

welshraz

Member
Craigsav83 said:
In response to the original topic, it is quite important to have players on the right seats. I believe your best 3 cornet players (wherever possible) should be sitting Principle, Sop and Rep.

I totally agree. Whilst I was on tour in New Zealand, a nice gentleman (ex Dalewool NZ) told me exactly the same, your three strongest players should be principle, rep and soprano. For our last contest I think we had that balance because we had a wonderful flug player playing rep for us. My opinions on my own band are a little contraversal as what I would like for the band (and what I think is best for the band) is apparently not very "fair" to some of the players. The committee has quite a lot of control over the situation and (in my opinion) will not allow our MD to make the right choices. If the situation continues the way it has been, we are never going to get very far.

The situation is that we have a player who hardly ever contests with us (they have missed the last three but is playing for the areas), but they are sitting in a position that does no justice to them or the band. I know that the MD would like to move them to a different position as we have stronger players who would fill the position better, but there are "obstacles" in his way.

Oh well, I will stop complaining now.
 

HorniKaz

Supporting Member
welshraz said:
The committee has quite a lot of control over the situation and (in my opinion) will not allow our MD to make the right choices. If the situation continues the way it has been, we are never going to get very far.

The situation is that we have a player who hardly ever contests with us (they have missed the last three but is playing for the areas), but they are sitting in a position that does no justice to them or the band. I know that the MD would like to move them to a different position as we have stronger players who would fill the position better, but there are "obstacles" in his way.

That's complete utter nonsense! The committee is there surely to ensure the smooth running of the band but its the MD who's responsible for getting the best, musically, out of the band.

We, as a member of Hoover's committee, wouldn't dream of telling Chris how to do his job. Yes he 'works' for the band, but he knows what's best! I would have thought that your MD would be a little miffed at being restrained from doing what he/she probably does best!

(I used the word 'best' a bit much then!!!!!)
 

Despot

Member
mabel said:
What do you do when your third and fourth man are better players than your second, you know they should be moved but you dont want to upset anyone. What do you do? any ideas :(

A lot of people say it's the MD's job, but it really does depend on your band and how it's structured.

One suggestion:

Announce a new plan to rotate the positions in the band. "Not because anyone's doing a bad job, but because we need to spread the experience in the band."

Rotate him out, forget to rotate him back.
 

ian perks

Active Member
Its in the hands of the MD if he wants to move a player.

I was asked to move from Solo Baritone to 2nd NO PROBLEM as i knew my mate was coming back to the band and we get on great plus a GREAT PARTNERSHIP as players of the Baritones one of the best 1st section Baritone teams around.:-D
We have swapped our back row about to no problem they were all in favour of it as they knew it was for the good of the band, simple.:)
 

Roger Thorne

Active Member
ian perks said:
. . . as players of the Baritones one of the best 1st section Baritone teams around.:-D
Ian, I hope you get a good result at Burton, because I'm really going to enjoy giving you a 'ribbing' over that comment if you don't.

;)
 

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