Why we all do it!

A sentence is made up of more than one word. Focus on one word and you can make it mean whatever you want. I see this a lot.

Yes, I do believe that you would not of raised this if the opposite was said. The nature of your posts and previous encounters lead me to this thinking, again personal experience.

Based on your own statements, people can not say what level you are at. They do not have the experience to do so. Play in a competition environment and find out, but until then your band has no grade and can't be likened to any competition standard.
 

lynchie

Active Member
davidwalton said:
A sentence is made up of more than one word. Focus on one word and you can make it mean whatever you want. I see this a lot.

Not sure I like the way you used the mean there...

:wink:

:roll:
 

IYOUNG

Member
If we chose to contest at the area how do you think the grading committee would judge as to which section to enter us?

If i'm correct they would ask for a list of players and their experience and then make a judgement.

Using the same criteria, members, friends of, people who have heard us perform can make a similar judgement and then can say ''generally I would accept the band as approximately this or that section''. we would then have to prove our worth I agree.

The band is full of good experienced players, many with perhaps more experience than you I don't know, and in their judgement beleive they could perform at the level previously stated.

The band will never contest so we will never know. But we can all have a view....
 

sparkling_quavers

Active Member
I wouldn't say most contesting bands are of a poor standard - more like MIXED standard as they tend not to audition. The same situation as many
4th/3rd bands. IMHO national gradings often don't say much about the actual standard of the band. At the end of the day the standard of the band is decided by the players you have around the stand. With the amount of player movements that go on that is changing all the time. There are plenty of 4th/3rd section bands who have the players to compete is 2nd/1st section contests - gradings are just a label!

Back on topic: I like contesting but feel concerts are very important too. If you get the concert situation right you can boost your reputation in the local area, gain supporters etc. If you are a successful contest band that doesn't really do many concerts only banders know about it!

I am involved in banding for the musical enjoyment, social side etc. I have played for non-contesting bands and have had a fantastic time. Yes, there is a certain aspect of sport in the contesting circle and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy that too (and missed it when playing in non-contesting) but it is not the only important thing in banding.
 

Yoofman

Member
IYOUNG said:
Each band needs to decide this for itself what its needs are if thats is not to contest but acheive musical satisfaction in other ways that is there right to do so, the above quote makes me despair somewhat, iv'e no idea what the authors experiences are but seems to be a complete generlisation without substance and in my view doesn't add much to the debate.

I play in a non-contesting band which is generally accepted at being a section 2 / section 1 if it choose to contest, the fact that it doesn't does not mean we are of a ''poor standard''. It means we simply enjoy testing ourselves in other ways.

Ian - I absolutely agree with you. I've played for bands that choose to contest and those that don't - and although the focus is different, you absolutely cannot make judgements on a band's standard purely on whether it does or does not contest.

For me, some of my most enjoyable times are the park jobs - I did a fantastic job with St Albans band recently where we drew a big audience and everyone enjoyed themselves - that's brass banding at or very close to it's best, surely - Sunday afternoon on the bandstand, a collection of good music and an appreciative audience?

My point is - it's horses for courses - you choose what you want to get out of your banding experience - and then get involved with likeminded people.
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
Yes, yes, yes, I confess, it was me wot went off topic! ;-)

Interesting issues raised, though. Accepting David Pegram's opinion based on his experience, I would say that whether you contest or not, if you rehearse as diligently (or as near to as possible) on your concert programmes as with contest pieces, then there's no need for bands to sound 'worse' when they don't contest. Part of the problem in MY experience is that for all the hard work bands put in contest rehearsals, they go too far the other way with summer programmes (to use an example) rehearsals for those are rather patchy. By the end of the summer, I find that the band/s' standards have dropped somewhat so by the time you get to the contest season again, you spend the first couple of rehearsals playing 'catch up' just to get to the standard you were at the end of the last contesting season.

Going to wind bands, I've just come back from conducting the Merton Concert Band who should have been playing at Westminster Abbey Gardens but ended up in nearby St Margaret's Church due to the inclement weather. A few slips aside it went very well and I was very pleased with the overall standard of the band. One audience member who said she was a regular at the summer season concerts at the Abbey Gardens said it was the best one she'd ever heard (I suggested she say that to the band members too, after all they were the ones who played it!). I don't relate this boast but merely to point out that whatever her musical experiences, I get a real buzz from hearing those comments and playing well to an appreciative audience. The sort of make up of the MCB, I'd say they wouldn't want to compete and wouldn't necessarily sound any better for doing so. They prefer concerts. But again, that's what suits that particular band; swings and roundabouts.

Again, as we have some rather sensitive types in this discussion, I should clarify that this is based on my personal experience only. ;-)
 
I think competition improves standards. It gives focus to the band for improving standards. Competition creates ambition, which is good, however some interpret this as a licence to be totally ruthless and treat others in an undignified manner, which is a shame.
 
I do not look down on any band or group that decides not to compete. That is a personal or group descision for them.

I only comment on how a non testing band can be said to be at a standard based on competition when they don't compete.

A lot of bands play at different standards in concert and contest. Only through competing over a period of time can you get a good idea where a band is in terms of section. One competition doesn't mean anything much. A number of competitions showing an average does.

Whether a band improves without contest is not an issue. Any band could, but most do it through the hours of hard work, normally in addition, put in to producing a performance in competition.

Performing in competition is also more difficult, as you are playing to your peers, not to Joe public. Almost everyone listening knows what is going on and very little can be hidden, like in concert.

Personally, I want and require both competition and concert work. What any other band does, good luck to them, but they can't not play and still eat the cake. That belittles the work of those that do compete.
 
Surely it's not the contesting which improves a band, but its attitude. A non-contesting band with strong leadership and an idea of what it wants to achieve is in a much better position than a contesting band in which at least some of its members can't be bothered, or already think they're splendid players! :roll:

I agree that contesting provides a "marker" on which to hang improvement, but surely a decent MD has his own objectives, and can tell whether they're being met?

In my limited experience of contesting the negatives can far outweigh the positives - especially in terms of player motivation. Playing for an audience who pitch up in all weathers to hear you play in the park can be a much more illuminating experience! :wink:
 
Ffion Flugel said:
Surely it's not the contesting which improves a band, but its attitude. A non-contesting band with strong leadership and an idea of what it wants to achieve is in a much better position than a contesting band in which at least some of its members can't be bothered, or already think they're splendid players! :roll:

It is the rehersal for the performance at competition that leads to improvements. The competition is the reason and vent for all the work that went into the rehersals.

There will be those that think they are the best/can't be bothered in every type of organisation.

Ffion Flugel said:
I agree that contesting provides a "marker" on which to hang improvement, but surely a decent MD has his own objectives, and can tell whether they're being met?

This is the same in contesting bands.

Ffion Flugel said:
In my limited experience of contesting the negatives can far outweigh the positives - especially in terms of player motivation. Playing for an audience who pitch up in all weathers to hear you play in the park can be a much more illuminating experience! :wink:

This is why it is a personal/group choice for each band. Some fall in the non-contesting camp. Others in the contesting only, and everyone else wants both.
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
Odd,

Since my previous post on this subject, not one person has made a reference to the word 'music' or 'musical'....... I'm afraid this only cements my opinions about some (I am careful to use that word.....) aspects of brass band contesting (not music competitions in general)

As for how a non competing band can or can't be of a similar musical and performing standard to those who do? Anyone heard of the ISB round here? There are in fact, a number of very fine SA bands around. In the case of the ISB, technically perhaps a little (not much) behind the top competing bands, but musically on a par (at least, IMO)

Also, although Grimethorpe compete, their reputation in recent years has been enhanced by their concert programmes and recordings. It's why I believe that of the top competing bands in the country overall, they frequently produce the most rounded musical performances, even if technically, they might not be QUITE as accurate as the others in the top bracket (and therefore haven't had quite the success of the others). They are better at conveying a 'performance' from start to finish of a piece than other bands (I don't say the other bands are weak in this department, I'm just saying I believe Grimethorpe do it better). Which is why I think having 'league' tables of who the best band is is utterly ridiculous and frankly, IMO shames brass banding. We can have discussions about whether the LSO is better than the Berlin Phil, or whether the BBCSO should really be the BBC's flagship orchestra because the BBC Phil and BBC NOW are playing better at the mo, it's purely personal preference and not down to a league table. On that basis, overall, I'd say Grimethorpe are the best around, certainly with regard to musical performance. No disrespect to YBS, Dyke BAYV, etc. (And no doubt I'll be advised to change the medication. So be it. Wibble.)

Just my take, though! ;-) Bl**dy southern trumpeters, huh! ;-)
 
Hi Dave,

Doesn't performance cover all aspects, including music and musicality?

Non-competing bands CAN be of a similar standard, but the only way to know this is if they do compete. "Performing" in a competition environment is different to "performing" in a concert, for many reasons; including audience and the event. A non-competing band can not therefore be said to be at any level within a competition type environment.

It is already difficult to judge 2 bands in competition, unless they are miles apart. Comparing a non-contesting band to liken it with a competition "performance" is near on impossible I would have thought.

Note: I do have some very strong pain killers if you need them :roll:
:lol:
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
davidwalton said:
Hi Dave,

Doesn't performance cover all aspects, including music and musicality?

Non-competing bands CAN be of a similar standard, but the only way to know this is if they do compete. ":roll:
:lol:

(a) So the only way to judge all musical ensembles' standard is for them to compete? Is that what you're saying?

(b) Judging is subjective anyway, be it in competition or not.

(c) I'll take those pain (sorry... 'Payn') killers :lol: :lol:
 

WhatSharp?

Active Member
Hey this topics really warming up! :D

Whilst I agree that contesting can and does improve standards and also agree that many bands suffer as a result of a bad result at a contest (I was in such a band which when demoted from 1st to 2nd lost conductor and players ) it does depend on what the attitude of the players is. There are players who only want to be in the best bands thus tend to "jump ship" a lot, however whilst I don't follow this ethos neither to I condem it, if a player wishes to improve then they need to feel challenged, this can be done either personally (away from band) or within the band. This is why you see bands that do well continue to do so since they attract these players and those that go down tend to loose them. Why bring this up, well with non-contesting bands attracting these players can be difficult since there is no initial yardstick by which to measure them by, the fact that the band does not contest does not imply that the band is of a lower standard, with a sufficiently motivated MD whos brave enough to choose pieces which may not always appeal to the audience then there is no reason why a "non contesting" band could not be technically challenged.
Sadly many bands aren't brave enough to mix it up at concerts and present items which might not appeal but be challenging so many times I have done concerts where the same old pieces are dragged out in the name of "bums on seats".

am I off topic?
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
WhatSharp? said:
Hey this topics really warming up! :D

Whilst I agree that contesting can and does improve standards and also agree that many bands suffer as a result of a bad result at a contest (I was in such a band which when demoted from 1st to 2nd lost conductor and players ) it does depend on what the attitude of the players is. There are players who only want to be in the best bands thus tend to "jump ship" a lot, however whilst I don't follow this ethos neither to I condem it, if a player wishes to improve then they need to feel challenged, this can be done either personally (away from band) or within the band. This is why you see bands that do well continue to do so since they attract these players and those that go down tend to loose them. Why bring this up, well with non-contesting bands attracting these players can be difficult since there is no initial yardstick by which to measure them by, the fact that the band does not contest does not imply that the band is of a lower standard, with a sufficiently motivated MD whos brave enough to choose pieces which may not always appeal to the audience then there is no reason why a "non contesting" band could not be technically challenged.
Sadly many bands aren't brave enough to mix it up at concerts and present items which might not appeal but be challenging so many times I have done concerts where the same old pieces are dragged out in the name of "bums on seats".

am I off topic?

On the contrary, Steve, you're actually taking us back nearer to the original topic after I kicked started going off topic! ;-) :)

'Warming up'? I'm thoroughly enjoying this debate (and hope Mr Walton is too! ;-))
 
Dave Payn said:
(a) So the only way to judge all musical ensembles' standard is for them to compete? Is that what you're saying?

(b) Judging is subjective anyway, be it in competition or not.

(c) I'll take those pain (sorry... 'Payn') killers :lol: :lol:

No, all I am saying is that you can not compare a non-contesting band within the contesting environment. You could compare them within a concert environment though, but you can't say that a non-contesting band is at any particular contesting level unless they do contest.

Judging is another matter all together, contesting or not.

I would bring the payne killers on Sunday, but I understand that we need you to conduct then :lol: :lol:
 
Dave Payn said:
'Warming up'? I'm thoroughly enjoying this debate (and hope Mr Walton is too! ;-))

Yes, even though I am sometimes taken the wrong way and rub people.

Any way, have to go out to lunch now, Stella, so should be on-song for tonights rehersal :lol: :lol: :roll:
 

jambo

Member
Nice lively topic here boys,

From what was a nice 'we've done a great gig and i'm chuffed' statement to this is quite amuzing so here's my two penneth worth..

In the contesting v concerts issue may I add that, regardless of the context in which the band is playing, it is the standard of the performance that denotes the quality of the band.

Take some of the best bands in the country, Dyke, YBS, Grimethorpe. Yes they have some tremendous players around the stand and come contest day their performances are awesome but...they also do 50 plus concerts a year!

With this in mind you can only summise that the more regularly you perform together, the higher the standard of the performance.

Its the same for any team endeavour.

Ever Ready (Reg Vardy) are a prime example of this. Before Ray Farr took over on a full time basis they were a normal good champ section band who performed well at most major contests. SInce then they are doing up to 60 jobs a year (rather them than me) and perfoming like it! They have since won the entertainments prize at Brass in concet for the first time in their history, retained their position as area champions followed by a 3rd place at Cambridge.

This is with the same group of people who the years before hda been beaten at the area on occasion, had had double figure results in all national contests and had rarely won a thing outside the north east

My point is that if you perform regularly together, you learn how to gell as an ensemble and confidence on stage and as a unit improves. Grimey dint contest much but they can perform well, this is the same in any section...get out and play, and often...it doesnt matter what context it's in.
 

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