You or the Band?


Active Member
Something I was considering...

Are you more worried about your own progress as a musician, or that of the band? Would you be happy if you got knocked down the line a few seats for not improving, but your band started to win competitions? Or would you be happier knowing you had improved as a musician, even if the band around you hadn't particularly changed?

It seems to me that some people are happy to ride on the success of people around them, just so they can say "Well I play for [blah], we won [blah] you know!" whereas other players are just happy to play with any band, but are much more encouraged when they finally get to grips with a difficult technique, or they get the hang of a solo or a passage that they've been working on for a while.

So which are you?


Active Member
sorry i might not have made it clear... i was kind of hoping for some sort of explanation... :wink:


Staff member
When I was working for The Salvation Army, I always knew that it could be that I would have to move elsewhere at a few weeks' notice. If, therefore, I was able to get involved with the band wherever I was appointed I always stressed that I was willing to play whatever was needed at the Bandmaster's request.

That was a natural reaction, and didn't take much thinking about. Now being in a rather different situation, not anticipating any more moves, has caused me to think a little more about things, particularly in the light of my recent move onto EEb from BBb. On reflection, though, I still feel the same, and have said that I would move again if someone else came along. I only hope I would still be so magnanimous if the situation actually did crop up :!:


Active Member
If a player came along who was better than me and I was asked to move down, then I would without question. The band comes first and I appreciate that sometimes you have to allow a better player to go above you in order for the band to move forward. I must admit, it would make me practice harder so that my place is safe but I wouldnt hold any grudges.
I would also move instruments if my conductor asked me. I trust what he says and know that any moves in the band will ultimately strengthen it.
The reason I love brass banding rather than playing an instrument on my own is the team aspect of it.



Both are equally important.

If you are playing for a band you want to be in then you're gonna put 100% in so its as good a band as possible, not let down by you.

Thus if yr not pulling your weight you either move down, practice or move out.
What is more important... your ability to complement the band you want to play in.



sober_phil said:
Band for me.


Nothing more satisfying than when you see a team effort pull together and do well.

CMFC problems have been well documented and the Band has risen above all of them. We don't have any superstars, just a team that has bedded down and now works well together. And as a result people's own abilities increase. I certainly know in the almost 2 years I've been with the band, I believe my playing has improved.

Band for me.
Both :D :D

As Im a younger player I strive to better myself as a musician. I rely on the better players around me to improve my own techniques. i wouldnt stay in a band that I was unhappy with in any way but I wouldnt leave it if we werent doing as well as we had done in the past.

My own improvment as a musician is important but surely as I improve and the other players improve around me the band will improve?? :wink: :D

Big Twigge

Active Member
I'd say both as well.

If the band were improving beyond the rate that I was and I got moved down, then its my fault for not pushing myself. Its surely a harsh reality that its time to practice more and work harder!

James McFadyen

New Member
I play for fun, I don't have the time to practice much (although If I spent less time on tMP and get my cornet out instead then i'd get plenty of pratcice)

I want the band to do well, I want us to win the 3rd section at the areas this year, but I don't want the band to be centered on only thinking that this is the only goal. More concerts should be done!! Concerts with a difference, get some young folk going to BB concerts!! :wink:

It's not my band, and I don't want to put anybodys nose out of joint so I'll keep all my crazy ideas to myself! :wink:

I just enjoy it 4 hours a week, if I become a better player because of it, great!


Dave Euph

In the past I once divided my own band mentally up into two sections.

There were the 'players' who were prepared to come along, play, enjoy themselves and have a laugh. Their position mattered not at all to them and 3rd cornet was fine with them as long as they never had to stand up and play fight of the bumble-bee in front of an audience of 5000!

Then there was the 'soloists' ... not really soloists (or not all of them), but these were the ambitious players, the ones who wanted to be - or were - on the top seats and be heard for how good they were. What I noticed in particular was that there were younger 'soloists' in the band who wanted to get to the top as quickly as possible and would blast there brains out almost so they could be 'heard' and therefore picked out.

On refelction I am of the latter, this certainly doesn't make me a virtuoso, far from it! In fact, I was once one of those young'uns who blasted out the sound as much as possible! I've learnt since then that that style of playing isn't natural to me where it might be to others and have adjusted accordingly.

However, to me it is me who comes first. Playing in a good band is important, and although I can readily accept playing a lower position for the sake of standard of playing initially, I would hope that soon enough I would able to bridge that gap and take the top seat (selfish I know but it is the way I have always thought). If my conductor told me (not asked) that I should change instrument or move down a position for the sake of the band and I had no choice, I would leave. Not because I have no respect for the band, but because it wouldn't be healthy for my own interests as part of the band.

I have probably come across as slightly selfish in that post, and so I'd like to say this is why the idea of playing in wind orchestras to a larger degree has tempted me. In that, there is one position - euphonium - which I could play. No others, and therefore there would never be any worry about what part I would play.


In my current position I would say definitely the band, its all about team work and you can improve as an individual player outside as well as within the band.
However recent experience showed me that there will always be someone who is thought (by themselves or others) to be better than the rest of you(whether it is true or not) and therefore deserved of the top spot/best parts/solos to the detriment of the rest of the group.
It can cause serious friction and in some cases rip a group apart.
Perhaps a happy medium where changes are brought about for the good of the band and not just to ensure the signing of a single player by kowtowing to their every demand? :?


Staff member
Of course, it is always harder to accept a move if you feel it has been brought about not as a result of playing ability, but to satisfy the needs of band "politics", or to keep other people happy - especially if it is imposed on you, rather than being discussed properly.
Band definitely comes first.

Being in a band is about being part of a team and doing whatever is best for that team. Team success is so much more enjoyable than personal achievement. Thats my opinion anyway!


Band SHOULD come first but we all know that isn't always the case. In my band at the moment we have had to shuffle some players around to create as best a band as we can for the areas. People have changed instruments completely for "the sake of the band" and this attitude is to be admired. I've played at all levels and been moved and I've conducted up to 1st section and moved players and most of the time if it's done right there isn't a problem.
The team is what counts and the communication between all is what keeps it going.

It's a hobby, it should be fun, rewarding, an education and hopefully successful. That's my thoughts anyway.
Has to be band for me as well!! If everyone in a band has the same opinion then thats even better, brings them together more.
Pulling together means that peoples abilities should improve anyway, its all part of being able to communicate between each other!
Both, if you work hard for your own satisfaction playing wise it can only help improve the band, but at the same time if someone could play my part better then I would gladly move down a chair for the good of the band.


Again, it's band for me too. If the MD wants to move me down or on to the back row, I'll do it. I play 'cos I enjoy the teamwork within the band.

With my conductor's hat on (or stick) however, I feel awkward about asking people to either move or step down for a contest. But I still do it though, because that's what I'm paid to do.


Active Member
Ask homocidialbennyboy when it comes to instrument changes! :)

For me, when I'm playing in a band its a team effort and its about making the best possible music as a group. Its when we're practising at home or whatever that we think about our personal achievements and maybe get the chance to shine by doing a solo with a band - an added bonus.

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