Your thoughts please

Who should play at the contest?

  • Total voters


Active Member
For the 1st time I can remember we have too many players for the area! We are going to have to ask at least 1 player to miss out. This player could come from 1 of 2 sections of the band where we are strong in numbers.

My thought and that of the MD is that where a choice has to be made, the player who puts in the most effort in rehearsals in terms of attendance etc should get the nod over perhaps a technically better player.

Just wondered how other bands in this fortunate position deal with the situation

Look forward to your responses


Supporting Member
Tough choice, but you're sooo lucky to be in that position!

The answer really depends on the ethos of the band and why you contest. If you're an ambitious band with a chance of qualifying/promotion, you'd be nuts not to field the strongest possible band on the day and that means going with the better player. If that player is less committed to the band though, then it all depends whether contesting is the be all and end all.

Sorry if thats not much help!


Staff member
Just a thought, which may or may not be appropriate or possible: if it is only one player, would there be any chance of getting them to assist with the percussion, so that they would still parrticipate fully in the day etc?

I know it still doesn't help you to decide which of the players it should be, but personally I would always go for the one who shows the most commitment and loyalty to the band.

James McFadyen

New Member
Most effort. A technically good player might start to be bossy and tell the whole section what to do and show off. He/she will get all the good stuff and solos to play - which is not giving other people a chance.

One who makes a good effort will improve with time, more reliable, more enthusiastic, I suppose.

IMHO, It's not the technical level of players that's important, it's if they work as a team and aim for the same high goals and have the same spirit within the band. A good conductor will bring out the best in the players. Dave Neil (our conductor at Tullis) does a great job at bringing the best out of the players and having a good time and making it a comfortable place to play! (Dave, I'm not sucking up........honest :) )


Active Member
I'm with James on this one. Commitment is worth as much to the band in the long term as pure technical ability. Just a pity we're not in the same position as regards picking and choosing between players :(

As chairman of the band I feel less need to suck up to the conductor :D (Please don't make me play that bit in Viz tonight Dave - I am practicing but I'm still crap at it :? )


Active Member
Better player.

Obviously committment is a better quality to have but if you are going to field the best team to have the best chance possible then it's got to be the better player.

Dave Payn

Active Member
Whereas Croydon don't have enough players to enter, Fulham has too many, but it's a nice 'problem' to have. Excuse Mr Creosote Butt sitting on the fence again but I think it really depends on the individual band and its personnel. Obviously wou don't want to drop out for a 'star player' who's just been signed up and can only make (or can only be ar5ed to make) one rehearsal, only to screw it up on the day. (It's happened....) Likewise, do you keep a fully committed player (and I've met a few that should have been... me for instance!) who can barely string two notes together which might have an utterly detrimental effect on the piece in genera, depending on the piecel?

It's a decision I've had to make before. It isn't easy and I don't envy my conductor (McLaughlin, how the devil are you sir? Please don't drop me, please... grovel, grovel) in having to make that decision this time round.



Can you not let both practise the part, the player who is committed may well improve purely by attending rehearsals and would benefit from being given the chance. Failing that, you have a back up plan (provided both agree of course!).

PeterBale said:
would there be any chance of getting them to assist with the percussion

provided they can actually play percussion, which isnt something everyone can do, and isnt as easy as some people seem to think. I certainly wouldnt want to compete at the areas playing one of the parts for Tristan or Coventry Variations as a brass player with no percussion experience.
I'd always go with the most committed player. Even though you might be in a prosperous potion, player wise, this might not always be the case, and if the band finds them selves in a bleak situation you will be heavily dependent on these committed players to sustain the Band.

This could also have an adverse affect on the technically better player, he could buckle up and realise that he is not always guaranteed a place if he doesn’t turn up.


Active Member
Difficult one this. If the better player is just making a 'flying visit' bought in specifically for the contest then that is wrong. And if I was the less able, but more committed player, I would feel put out by it.
However, if the better player is going to stick around a while then fair enough use him/her. If I was the less able player then I would realise that it is in the bands interests to use the better player.
If the band was caring enough to consider my feelings on the matter (which by your question your band obviously is) then I would owe the same duty to the rest of the players and would willingly step aside to give them the best chance.
Perhaps you should present the dilema to the player concerned. Say we know we owe you for your dedication you are important to us and if you want to play at the contest you can. However, we feel as a band we will fare better with player B. Please keep attending and practice with us to provide cover if player B drops out.
Nine times out of ten I think player A would willingly fall on his sword for the sake of the band. It might even spur him on to practice extra hard for the next contest.
But the player could be a 12 year old child who had been turning up for practices for the past 3 months, and not being allowed to play could be very detremental to him.


Supporting Member
...which is why the section, standard and ambition (for want of a better word) of the band is such a key factor.


Active Member
twm_trombone said:
But the player could be a 12 year old child who had been turning up for practices for the past 3 months, and not being allowed to play could be very detremental to him.

who might go to pieces on the stage, blob in and the detrimental effect will be there for everyone. Especially at contests that matter.


Well-Known Member
Never had to face the dilemma myself; I'm not voting because I'm with Alex on this one: depends entirely on whether or not you expect/want to win/qualify/get promoted.

However, another consideration might be whether or not the "technically" lesser player can actually put the part in? I certainly can't see the point of upsetting a competent player by passing them over in favour of a better player when the part is being played well enough as it is. If, however, the "lesser" player can't really manage the part to the extent that the band's overall performance is compromised, then you may have no real choice.



Active Member
Good point about the competency of the lesser player. In my earlier post I was assuming that the "lesser" player could actually play the part. If that's not the case then commitment becomes less of an argument for putting the player on stage.


The way I work it is this.

If a player comes to every rehearsal, sectional, training day whatever, then they have erned their right to play at the contest. I am totally against bringing in people for contests alone. What good does that do your band? Sure, you may win the thing, but not with your regular group of players!

I know of many occasions where bands have brought in players, won contests and then those players are not available for the next one, gone to play and come last, because the band was not contest ready.

How can an inexperienced player gain contest experience by being dropped for a ringer? They can't. So they might blob in, miss an entry. Sure it's frustrating, but ask yourself this: have you never blobbed in or missed an entry when YOU were an inexperienced player?

People who answer no must be superstars.

Di B

Can the lesser able player can play their part correctly? Level of ability doesn't necessarily have anything to do with someone being able to play their part! If they can't, then I would go with the more able player (of course, as long as they can play the part!!!)

If both can play the dots, but one player is just technically better, then I would look at attendances and enthusiasm and general bandsmanship as the decider. Reasons beolw;

Even if they can play their part, if one player on a section is going to be missing for the majority of the practices in the run up to the contest it can affect the band. People's morale will be lower (why can they not turn up and I have to?) and the balance of the band will change when the player does decide to show up and possibly even put other players off their parts that they have worked hard to get right.

So, the better player who turns up infrequently may actually be the wrong choice!

I think it all depends on the band mentality you have.... some bands are hire 'n' fire in the hopes of gaining a high placing, others play all their players as they are and want to keep the fun element of a band. Guess its the choice you have to make unfortunatly.

If both can play the dots and both turn out regularly, then I would have a quiet word with both players about your predicament. One of them may give you an easy solution?

Best of luck!


Well-Known Member
MattB said:
I am totally against bringing in people for contests alone.

So am I.

My impression from the original post was that we talking more about a scenario where you have to choose between two regular members. I'm certainly not condoning the use of "ringers" at the expense of regulars.



Active Member
Its interesting to see that the vote seems to be 50/50. Probably why myself and our MD spent a long time discussing it ourselves last night!

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