Your thoughts please

Who should play at the contest?

  • Total voters


The way I see it, is that I have a duty of responsibility to the band and to ensure that we always field our strongest players for contests. This means that I take a longer-term view of who I select for contests. My band don't survive on contest winnings so I will play the players who turn up regularly even if they are of a lesser ability than another player who doesn't attend so diligently. I need my players all year round and I won't (unless a piece is WAY beyond them) drop a committed player for the sake of a contest. In the long term, the player of lesser ability should improve and I've kept that player.

Clear cut for me.


Active Member
stopher said:
Lauradoll said:
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.

SOunds like you heard Twm in Dundee playing for my band then!

OOOOh handbags Chris!!! Na I was doing the Great North Run the weekend of the finals in Dundee so didn't make it. You out in Mancs this weekend for Elaine's party?? Pe-ach is coming lol!! :D


It really depends on your band and why you contest....

If it were me, if the "lesser" player can do a good job let him. If not, I wouldn't. Loyalty should be rewarded, but not at the cost of everyone else's efforts!


Despot said:
It really depends on your band and why you contest....

If it were me, if the "lesser" player can do a good job let him. If not, I wouldn't. Loyalty should be rewarded, but not at the cost of everyone else's efforts!
Have to agree--in a nutshell


I am aware of a band recently that took all of the best players to the contest and left some of the in-experienced players behind. It's something that I find disgusting. You either go as a band or not at all ! ! ! !


Active Member
twm_trombone said:
The fundamental characteristics that an adjudicator looks for when adjudicating a band are intonation, tightness of ensemble and dynamics. These cannot be achieved unless a person regularly turns up for band practice, even though he might be doing an extraneous amount of practice at home it does not entail that he will be a proficient band player.

very good point

You can have a group of technically fantastic players but they won't play as a good band until they can work together well as a team. There is often the situation where a techinically better player sits in a leading or solo spot but then do not attend many of the rehearsals. This means the entire section never learns to play together. In a situation like yours the first thing I would do is to talk to the players and see what they think! I would say as long as the more committed member is able to play their part then they should do it. If the weaker player simply cannot cope with the music (and this means allowing the chance to practice) then it is not in the bands best interests to play them.


who should play at the contest

For the area this year, we have to lose 4 or 5 cornet players, and probably a trombone too. We always have to lose some. We also need a timpanist, but can't use the "excess" players for that because it's actually quite a hard part! One year, though, our assistant rep played glock, and did very well.

Our MD first asks for volunteers. This will usually produce some natural wastage (usually the principal cornet but we won't let him dib out!) For instance, one of our bass players really hates contesting, although now we are back down to 4 basses I feel he has no choice this year!). Or maybe one of the old stalwarts will offer to drop out in favour of an up and coming player. Then armed with this info, the MD chooses a band, based on a combination of technical ability but more on commitment and attendance at rehearsals. He talks to each affected player individually and that usually works well.

All players continue to rehearse until a couple of weeks before the contest when we usually just have the contesting band.

As for playing the 12 year old who has been with the band for 3 months rather than upsetting them... I think it would be unfair to put that player (and the band) in such a position and it should be perfectly possible to explain the reasons for leaving them out this time without upsetting anyone!
For the first time in foreverly, our band has been over subscribed and we have had to ak a player to sit out. Sadly no room on percussion either.
In respect of committment over technical ability, both of the players we had to choose from are totally committed and regular attenders. Eventually the conductor had a sort of audition to resolve it. All done very amicably too, the player taking the back seat is an adult and the lucky one is a child. The adult actually stepped down, wanting the best for the band on the day.
Im not sure there are many people around like this, so we are extremely fortunate to have characters with this level of genuine foresight and commitement to the continued development and progress of the band.
In relation to a previous comment re, a chlid going to bits on the contest stand, well, yes it can happen, but, in my experience, its quite often the more experienced players that suffer the anxieties of the contest stand. The youngsters in general seem to enjoy it more and are relatively relaxed about the whole thing (sweeping generalisation?)

Indeed the younger they are, competancy given as it were, the better in terms of reducng anxiety in the longer term. Anyway, at the end of the day, I was actually brought up to believe music making and banding was fun, so what the hec if a youngster or an adult or that matter has a bad day on the stand, theres always next time!

Apologies for typo's, is there a spell checker on here?


Active Member
us young uns have so many issues already, getting 10 minutes where we don't have to think about anything more important than blowing the right way is a joy!


Well-Known Member
The bottom line is, that if you are a Premiership Band fighting to win contests and improve your place in the National/World rankings, you have to play (Pay/Hire/Bribe) the most competent and useful, experienced players available on every chair.
But, IMHO excluding the top 6 rated bands, contest chairs should go to the keenest players who turn up to rehearsals on a regular basis, listen to the MD, and do their best - that's honest banding !!


Supporting Member
But if they're both keen and both turn up regularly, then where's the shame in going with the better player?

I know its not going to help this close to the areas, but for a band with several "spare" players, how about this -
The band I grew up in had loads of school kids, and for a few years ran with a seperate, 2nd rehearsal just for the "contest" band every week. To get into the contesting band you had to work your butt off and prove you were good enough, and to stay in it you had to keep turning up twice a week. It sorted out the commitment and effort issues, meant the contesting players were used to playing in that group all the time, and the MD wasn't left with tough choices right before the contests.


Just had a bit of a potential banana skin in my own band on this topic. I had a player playing who has been there a few years but only makes 1 rehersal per week. New player come to join can make both rehersals commited but a number of people were'nt keen on him being moved down for the new player but if you can't put full committment in then you can't expect the better seats in the band. An MD requires his solo players to lead the sections and they can't do that if they are'nt there.

ian perks

Active Member
Some players put in hours to get their part right for a contest i am one of them.Where some players it just comes easy.
In our band GRESLEY OLD HALL we' will each other' on if someone cant quiet get it right as we have NO STARS IN OUR BAND we all muck in together and give 100% all the time and HELP EACH OTHER as it takes 25 players to make a BRASS BAND not 1, as in some bands where FINGER POINTING GOES ON and you get talked about behind your back because you can not play your part, or are stuggling with it.
So anyone who wants to come to a 100% NO NASTY ATMOSPHERE FREE BAND PLEASE TRY US FIRST!!!:-D


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