Where do we go from here?


Active Member
Every band has it's ups and downs I know. What I'm interested in is how bands work through the down moments.

Do you brush off a couple of bad results and carry on to the next contest?
maybe blame and/or replace one or two individuals? Accept that some test pieces don't suit some bands? blame it on the draw / adjudicator /weather?

Discuss. All constructive comments/experiences gratefully received.


One of my previous bands sacked a conductor cos of a few dodgy results. I thought the conductor was fine. Nothing wrong with him, it was the players having trouble. Couldn't play the parts so the blame went on to the conductor.
the chairman then sacked the conductor, which i found laughable cos the chairman couldn't play a note on an instrument.
On this occaision the wrong result was made.


Active Member
As upsetting as a bad result is, at the end of the day, it is, until we manage to persuade the BFBB differently, one mans opinion on one 10 minute performance. As long as your band was happy with its performance and is satisfied that they did their best, then that is all that can be asked of them. If, like our band, you do regular concerts with an appreciative audience, then you should be able to get satisfaction from doing what you started playing for - entertaining and pleasing a whole room full of people, not just one man.

Hope this last thought is constructive.


Supporting Member
I suppose the most important thing is to remember contesting isn't the be all and end all (the thread on non-contesting bands is getting interesting!)
And I apologise now if any of this sounds patronising - I promise its not intended that way :)

The big question is whether the contest results are the only "downs" or is your band experiencing other difficulties at the moment? I've been in bands who've gone through really bad patches contest wise and its horrible. Unfortunately the only thing to do is grin and bear it, and wait for a piece that suits the band better and/or some less unlucky results. I can't see much point in blaming or sacking anyone (unless you're 100% sure its actually been their fault every single time!!) As long as your attendance is ok and gigs are going well, don't worry (and yes, I know thats a lot easier said than done!)

If bands are struggling with other issues, eg. not having a full band or lack of cash, then I'd suggest actually knocking contesting on the head for a while and spending your time and energy on fixing themm first, rather than cobbling together a band for the next competition/big gig and having to worry about all the associated expense of extra rehearsals/dep fees/transport etc.
Blame the wether/ajudicator

We played indian summer at a contesed and we lost marks becuse the ajudicator did not like the piece :evil:

Di B

Its fine saying you would 'knock contesting on the head' but a lot of bandsmen re in contesting bands to contest! My own band haven't contested since the area and in truth it has sent me loopy. The reasons for not contesting however have been necessary for the band to strengthen and develop so I have put up with it.

Saying that, if there were no contests next year either, I'd be waving bye bye and I am not the only band member who would feel like that.

I think if bands get a bad result at a contest and let it affect them really badly then they are silly. They should pick themselves up, dust themselves down and start again. I always think at least the band made it to enter the contest - look at how many bands are struggling so much that contesting is not an option?

Money and lack of players, lack of direction, lack of motivation are the things that bands should be worried about. I don't think there is an easy way out of these. Usually, there are some stalwarts in the band who are there and due to their hard work and efforts the band starts to slowly reform again. Well, thats what has happened at Matlock, and to an extent, Long Eaton.

Without people like Chris and Lisa in my opinion the number of bands around today would be two less! I just wonder what gives people like this the motivation and commitment to a seriously struggling band? How long does that motivation last?


Hav ing played under your conductor in the past I would say brush them off as a couple of bad results and move on to the next. Its true that some test peices dont suit certain bands.

My lot have had that situation in the past.

PS give my best to Lyndon


Supporting Member
Di B said:
Its fine saying you would 'knock contesting on the head' but a lot of bandsmen are in contesting bands to contest! My own band haven't contested since the area and in truth it has sent me loopy. The reasons for not contesting however have been necessary for the band to strengthen and develop so I have put up with it

I was thinking specifically about a band I used to be a member of, and my husband and I actually left because we burnt out. One of the most frustrating things I found there was that we couldn't get people to turn up to regular rehearsals or commit to the band long term although we could always field a more or less full band for contests and concerts. As far as know, they haven't contested for about 3 years and are building stength and numbers again, so for them it is working and thats fab.

FWIW, my current band does loads of contests and I'm loving it!!


Active Member
I feel that contests are a great way to see how your band is doing against bands in the same section.

No one should get down about the results they get, they can just act upon the feedback that they get from the adjudicators.

Admittedly those that do well will obvioulsy be over the moon, but not doing well is something we all have to accept.
I remember coming last at a contest once a while ago, but the band didn't get down about it. We all said "oh well" and just moved on to concentrate on what's coming next.

Results in contests, can be down to band commitment- if half the band aren't turning up to rehearsals prior to a contest then your bound to not do so well.

Banding is all about team work, and working together as a musical group not only in individual sections but as an entire band.

Big Fella

I do not think, there is any point in getting to worried over contest results, unless it's your band's own fault, for reasons such as people not truning up for rehearsals etc.
I have been on the end of some quite unusual results over the years, some pushing the band down places, and some pushing the band up places. I have now come to the conclusion, that as long as most of the bands players, the conductor, and people that listen to your band on a reguar basis are happy with your performance, it should not matter where Dib & Dob in the adjudicators box have put you..

Just try to keep smiling through it all, and trun up for band.


In my expericence, everytime anyone mention that the band might not be going to a major contest, everybody is generally disappointed. It feels like a punishment because contesting is fun and every contest is a celebration of something that we feel passionate about.

I have this view that banding isn't a hobbie, it's a lifestyle. So if my band decides not go in the nationals or states, it'll be like my parents telling me that our family isn't going to get together for Christmas. And the time that I would have spent at rehersal preparing for the competition will feel so pointless I won't even go to band rehersal.

The situation is obviously different if the band cannot afford financially to go to a contest, but to miss a contest because the band isn't good enough or as a form of punish might do more harm than good.

Good music usually make players enjoy banding more, drag out some musically hard pieces to challenge the band once in a while give them a goal to work towards. (not finger jammers they're boring, something tricky which encourages smart playing like Vinter pieces, I've always wondered if a lower section band can create the effects of the 1st movement from Year of the Dragon without having the technical aspects perfect)



Active Member
There are a number of occasions when a piece does not suit a band. I don't think that's any reason to sack players or conductors... you just have to put the effort in when the next test piece comes out and try and better yourselves... I'd make a cracking self-improvement councillor!


New Member
In the scheme of things I would suggest it is important to think of the bigger picture at all times.

A group of musicians should continue to grow together and make efforts to draw positives from any concert or contest which turns out to be dissapointing.

We should strive not to loose sight of why we perform, and that's to communicate our musical ideas to whom ever chooses to be receptive to it. Further to this we should always aim to be the best we possibly can be and not to be complacent.


Active Member
Work through it, I'd say. Blaming is not a good place to start from unless it's a clear cut case, but then everyone can make mistakes. Sacking people means retraining others to take their place, settling in with new conductor/players, and basically starting from scratch.

Barnton haven't, to my knowledge, contested since last March which was apparrently disastrous, (shunted from 3 to 4) but we've got three contests in the first 3 months of '04.
Steve Yates our MD, is adamant that we just need to get back out there, maybe we'll do badly again this year having taken a knock, but we'll do better in '05 and better again in '06.

BigMamaBadger the eternal optimist :wink: :wink:


Supporting Member
this all depends on why you contest in the first place - whilst I hate losing on the day, by Monday, that's all over and done with! The key to all this is - even if you came last, did your band improve as a result of the work you put into the piece?
I always say to my own band on the last rehearsal before a contest that the benefit has been gained now, not on the contest stage. Of course, I appreciate it's a lot different up the top! (we're currently a 3rd section band).


On my last bad result at a contest my dad pointed out 'at the end of the day out of 20 bands the likelihood is that 19 of them will feel hard-done by'. (You can tell my dad doesn't play because he's full of reason!)

I'd never thought of it like that before, but there's always going to be other bands worse off than you (unless you're last!)

Best thing is to turn the emotion in the bandroom over bad results into determination to learn something from it and try again next time!


New Member
bigmamabadger said:
Barnton haven't, to my knowledge, contested since last March which was apparrently disastrous, (shunted from 3 to 4) but we've got three contests in the first 3 months of '04.

ure right!
my 1st ever contest, we came last!!!
am i disheartened? am i heckers!

we're a good band, amazing players. we can do it!!!
roll on the contesting!!!



Active Member
A band needs to look at the real reasons why they haven't done as well as they have liked at recent contests. It is very easy to blame individuals, conductors and adjudicators. There are alot of things which can be done to improve results.... like people practicing their parts and attending rehearsals! The conductor of our band said "you don't need to practice it will you can play it right you need to practice it until you cannot play it wrong" If the band prepares well and people put a good committment to the teamwork involved in rehearsals then they will go on stage and play to the best of their ability. That, then, is a success not matter what the result. If a band can say they prepared to the best of their ability and they still came last then they are in the wrong section.

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